An up-and-coming London-based film director has been crowned winner of a national film competition with a movie concept that challenges ethnic minority and LGBTQ+ stereotypes.
Winner Monique Needham was granted £25,000 funding from M&M’S to create a short film based on her concept ‘Sunday Dinner’.
The M&M’S #FilmsYouWantToSee campaign aimed to identify the films that the younger generations would like to see made by Hollywood, which challenge stereotypes and positively represent minority groups.
‘Sunday Dinner’ follows the story of Maya, a young, athletic, Jamaican-British gay woman, who enlists the help of her grandmother to keep her quirky family in line when her girlfriend comes to dinner.
Monique Needham competed alongside three other hopefuls, who received funding from M&M’S to create original film trailers based off public Tweets related to the campaign. All receiving £7,500 to make their trailers.
‘Sunday Dinner’ was created following a tweet which called for an openly LGBTQ+ person playing the high school jock proud of their sexuality.
Monique Needham is a Jamaican-British writer and director, passionate about broadening the type of stories told about her community. She has created two short films since 2019, which have been shown and commended at global film festivals.
Winning director Monique Needham said: “Being able to make this film means the world to me. It was important to me that people could see themselves, their norm, their day to day in a relatable way that, I think, hasn’t been done before. Very grateful for M&Ms for giving me the opportunity to tell my story my way.”
The M&M’S #FilmsYouWantToSee 2023 final took place on 30th March at M&M’S London and saw each of the four finalists showcase their trailers followed by an award ceremony and screening of the overall winning film, ‘Sunday Dinner’.
Kerry Cavanaugh, Business Unit Director at Mars said: “We are absolutely thrilled for Monique. It has been a pleasure to see her concept ‘Sunday Dinner’ develop from a 90-second trailer to a brilliant short film.
“Monique’s film is fun, witty, and gently breaks down LGBTQIA+ and ethnic minority stereotypes. We hope Monique’s short film will spark important discussions around belonging and representation in film.
“The M&M’S FUNd initiative was created to help grow a world where we all feel like we belong, and all of our directors have captured this mission in their work. We can’t wait to see what’s next for Monique and all the other directors who have shared their experience and expertise with us over the last few months.”
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