BFI and CHANEL Filmmaker Awards announces the winners for 2023

This year’s awards were selected by members of the jury Tilda Swinton, Edward Enninful OBE, Marie-louise Khondji and Ben Roberts.

Tilda Swinton, Savanah Leaf, Nadira Murray, Ben Roberts and Ella Glendining at the BFI and CHANEL Filmmaker Awards 2023.Courtesy of Oliver Holms

The winners of the second annual BFI and CHANEL Filmmaker Awards were announced today, celebrating the creative audacity of three emerging UK filmmakers:

  • writer/director Ella Glendining (director and cast of Is There Anybody Out There?)
  • writer/director/producer Savanah Leaf (writer/director of Earth Mama)
  • producer Nadira Murray (Winners)

Since 2022, CHANEL has partnered with the BFI and together they have created the Filmmaker Awards. The awards build on the House’s century of cultural patronage to inspire creativity, advance the new and the next, activate history to define the future, and supports the BFI’s mission to back the next generation of UK independent filmmaking talent. 

These awards celebrate creative audacity and provide winning filmmakers with financial support of £20,000 each, allowing them to expand their practice and explore new ideas, cultivate co-creation and knowledge exchange, and widen the representation of voices in today’s cultural community.

The winners of the 2023 awards were selected by this year’s jury: Tilda Swinton, Academy Award winner, BFI Fellow and Global CHANEL Ambassador, Edward Enninful OBE, Editor-in-Chief, British Vogue and European Editorial Director, Vogue; Marie-Louise Khondji, producer and founder of Le Cinéma Club and Ben Roberts, BFI Chief Executive.

BFI and CHANEL Filmmaker Award 2023 jury, said: “We were presented with an incredibly strong and diverse shortlist, indicative of the exceptional quality of work being produced by early career UK filmmakers at the moment. It was a very difficult decision, but ultimately we were unanimous in selecting these three talented filmmakers whose early work shows enormous potential. We were also thrilled to have selected three women, each bringing a different perspective to their work.”

The jury’s decision and deliberation covered the filmmaker’s body of work and the strength of their application, and each nominee had to have a work released and/or showcased between 1 January 2022 to 30 June 2023 to be eligible.

The BFI and CHANEL Filmmaker Awards jury said of each winner:

Ella Glendining, Is There Anybody Out There?

“What radiates from Ella’s work is attitude, something she has channelled to great effect into the fantastic Is There Anybody Out There? An important film for many reasons and so unique, but also quite simply a story brilliantly told and a debut feature beautifully executed.” 

Savanah Leaf, Earth Mama

“Earth Mama is one of the most accomplished debuts we have seen this year.  Savanah shows huge potential, with a great eye. In particular we felt she has demonstrated real skill and talent in drawing out exceptional performances from her actors.”

Nadira Murray, producer (Winners)

“Winners is a wonderful film, and we applaud Nadira’s talent and tenacity as a producer to help realise the film. With a passion for championing filmmakers and stories unrepresented in our industry, we believe Nadira has the talent to bring many more engaging, important, surprising and entertaining films to our screens.” 

Ben Roberts, Chief Executive of the BFI, said: “It was wonderful to regroup with this incredible jury and immerse ourselves in the work of the shortlisted filmmakers. Once again, we were presented with a shortlist which showcases the vibrancy of so many emerging UK filmmakers. Amidst an increasingly tough climate for UK independent filmmaking, working with CHANEL to offer this unique opportunity is hugely important. I thank them for their committed partnership and enabling this fantastic opportunity to these very worthy winners.”

BFI and CHANEL Filmmaker Awards 2022

The winners of the inaugural 2022 Filmmaker Awards were: artist/director Baff Akoto (producer of The Queen of Glory); writer/director Kathryn Ferguson (Nothing Compares); director/producer Sam Firth (The Wolf Suit) and director/producer Erfan Saadati (Child of Empire).

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