BAFTA and Digital Cinema Media Unveil New National Cinema Trailer to Inspire the Creatives of Tomorrow

BAFTA - DCM - Follow Your Spark featuring Micheal Ward
London ( October 27, 2023 ) -

Award-winning actor Micheal Ward has fronted a new national cinema campaign devised by arts charity BAFTA and UK cinema advertising market leader Digital Cinema Media (DCM) to inspire the creative talent of tomorrow to pursue a career in the screen industries.

It includes a 90-second trailer for the big screen created by DCM’s creative arm, DCM Studios and independent production company, Common People Films (CMN PPL), with stories inspired by some of the young people BAFTA has supported to realise their creative potential. It rolls out in cinemas across the UK from today until 17 January 2024, and is found on YouTube @BAFTA here.

‘Follow Your Spark’ is the second collaboration between BAFTA and DCM following last year’s ‘Behind Every BAFTA’ cinema campaign.

This year’s campaign was conceived by director Jeaniq Amihyia around the concept of following your creative spark, or in Micheal Ward’s words, “the exact moment you unlock your true passion” as well as the ways in which BAFTA can help develop your career. Ward won the EE BAFTA Film Awards’ EE Rising Star Award in 2020, and his impressive credits include Steve McQueen’s Small Axe series, Top Boy, and Sam Mendes’ Empire of Light. Amihyia, director and photographer, is founder of The Starting Seven – a community-based production studio in London prioritises working with young creatives regardless of race, gender or sexual orientation.

Micheal Ward said: It’s not always easy to recognise the opportunities and the different job roles there are in the film and TV space, especially for people of my background. Some of my friends studied to become electricians at college, and you can use that to go on to work in Film Lighting, which you might not know about. So, it’s important to show people that there are opportunities out there. And BAFTA’s work is also important because it tries to level the playing field, for the amazing people from ethnic minorities that are very good at their jobs but don’t get the opportunities because the pathways aren’t there for us.

Several alumni of BAFTA’s Prince William Bursary, scholarship and talent programmes contributed to its making, including Camera Assistant Ada Urbaniak and Production Assistant Reece Grant (both 2022 bursary recipients), Lighting Assistant Marta Vitola (BFI Film x BAFTA Academy Alumni programme participant), and Hair & Makeup Assistant Tale Imevbore (BAFTA Scholarship 2023 recipient).

The video highlights the range of free resources and programmes on offer from BAFTA year-round, through three stories inspired by real-life examples:

The first features a young person called Nathalie, watching the EE BAFTA Film Awards at home with her family. Inspired, she loads up a free BAFTA Guru masterclass on her phone. The camera then cuts to Nathalie experimenting with different lighting techniques with her phone.

The second case-study zooms in on Sophie, an emerging games developer. Suffering a creative block, she receives a call from her BAFTA mentor who helps her complete her game.

The third case-study introduces us to Joshua, an aspiring hair stylist. Thanks to a BAFTA Bursary he takes up a hairstyling course, eventually leading to a career styling on sets.

Director Jeaniq Amihyia said: “I wanted to create a film that sheds light on those who often don’t receive the help and support they should, while also showing that sometimes even the smallest spark is enough to motivate someone to chase their dreams – to make sure we convey that no matter where you are based, your sex, and what your skin colour is, everyone deserves a shot to let their spark manifest.

“By focusing on these three testimonials, I aimed to create something relatable for viewers while allowing them to immerse themselves in each individual’s world with some dramatic setups. This film also touches on some industry issues I’ve highlighted. I chose to include a barber breaking into the film and TV industry, as this is often overlooked. I believe there are not enough examples of this in the industry, so my hope is that highlighting this will inspire and show that there is a place for them in the industry.”

BAFTA CEO Jane Millichip said: “Inspiring and nurturing the next generation of creatives and practitioners in film, games and TV is fundamental to our purpose as an arts charity. Studies tell us that young people today increasingly feel a job in the screen industries is out of reach. Our new trailer for cinemas nationally offers a glimpse of how you can unlock your talent, and the ways in which BAFTA can support you in a creative career.”

“This trailer, fronted by BAFTA EE Rising Star award-winner Micheal Ward, is inspired by the real stories of participants on our scholarship, bursary and talent programmes. DCM have once again been brilliant collaborators, and we are grateful to director Jeaniq Amihyia for his creative vision and commitment to the project.”

Jeremy Kolesar, Creative Director – DCM Studios, added: “We are thrilled to be working with BAFTA once again to use the power of the big screen to tell these powerful stories that highlight the brilliant work they do through their mentoring and bursary programs to inspire future talent into the Film, TV and Gaming industry.

“We’ve really stepped it up a gear and this year’s project is bigger in both ambition and scale. The ad has been made specifically for cinema, from concept all the way through to delivering in 4K and Dolby Atmos surround sound to take full advantage of cinema’s unique environment, which was all executed to perfection thanks to the creative leadership skills of DCM Studios’ Creative Production Lead Bridie Scriven. The best place to see this is on the big screen.”

Tony Roberts, Co-founder and EP of Common People, said: “When we were first approached about pulling this together, we were incredibly excited about being trusted with representing the brand of such a UK institution and quickly set to work in identifying which of our talent would be good to pitch an idea. We didn’t just want a single director to write as it needed a few angles to find something which really hit the mark.

“Our three chosen directors developed brilliant ideas individually and the pitch element was a real fun part of the process. It reinforced how diverse and brilliantly creative our directors are. But there was something about Jeaniq’s idea ‘Follow Your Spark’ concept that resonated with everybody.

“With a project of this size, it was Jeaniq’s idea which won us all over, but it’s important to mention the producing skills of Jake River Parker who worked tirelessly to pull this entire thing together and deliver in record time. Our production partners in TenThree, 750mph, Time Based Arts and especially Dazzle VFX in Prague all went well beyond what was expected to make this film a possibility.”

When approached by DCM Studios to make the film, CMN PPL invited three of its rostered directors to pitch internally and presented their ideas to DCM and BAFTA in a blind pitch – not revealing who wrote each script so the choice was purely based on the creative output.

BAFTA – the British Academy of Film and Television Arts – is a world-leading independent arts charity that brings the very best work in film, games and television to public attention and supports the growth of creative talent in the UK and internationally. Through its Awards ceremonies and year-round programme of learning events and initiatives – which includes workshops, masterclasses, scholarships, lectures and mentoring schemes in the UK, USA and Asia – BAFTA identifies and celebrates excellence, discovers, inspires and nurtures new talent, and enables learning and creative collaboration. For more, visit BAFTA is a registered charity (no. 216726).

About Digital Cinema Media 
Digital Cinema Media (DCM) is the market leader in UK cinema advertising, providing almost 3,500 screens at over 500 sites for advertisers. DCM sells 80% of the cinema advertising market through exhibitors including Cineworld, ODEON, Vue, Picturehouse Cinemas and many other leading independent cinemas. The power of cinema is its ability to reach and engage audiences with no distractions. The biggest screen, a dark room, the best sound and impactful content means cinemagoers are engaged and ready to be told stories, so brands have an unrivalled opportunity to entertain and connect with them. In the last few years, cinema advertising has also become easier to
plan and buy, becoming more flexible and even more affordable, with shorter production lead times, improved sound, and picture quality.

About Common People
Common People (CMN PPL) is a five-year-old forward-thinking, modern-day independent production company producing uncommon results. Founded by Ramy Dance and Tony Roberts in 2018, it produces TV and film as well as content with brands, agencies and labels.