A new national film competition has been launched which aims to challenge “offensive” film stereotypes – with the film entries all developed from public tweets.

M&M’s #FilmsYouWantToSee campaign was created to encourage a sense of belonging for everyone in arts and entertainment, and participants were tasked with creating a film concept based on a message they read on Twitter.

The final of the inaugural #FilmsYouWantToSee competition took place yesterday (Thursday) at M&M’s World in London – and the winner received £25,000 to bring her film concept to life.

Jamaican-British rising star Monique Needham created a trailer for her movie Sunday Dinner that was inspired by a tweet prompting an openly LQBTQ+ person who is proud of their sexuality to play the high school jock.

The story follows a young queer Jamaican-British woman, Maya, who enlists the help of her grandmother to keep the rest of her family in line when she brings her friend home to meet her.

Monique Needham won the £25,000 grand prize for developing her concept into a short film
Monique Needham won the £25,000 grand prize for developing her concept into a short film

Author and director Monique has already made two short films since 2019 that have been screened and celebrated at global film festivals – and she is passionate about expanding the types of stories being told about her community.

After her victory, Monique said: “It was important to me that people can see themselves, their norm, their everyday life in a way that I don’t think has been done before. I am very grateful to M&M’s for giving me the opportunity to tell my story in my way.”

M&M’s #FilmsYouWantToSee was born after research carried out in September 2022 found that 43 per cent of Gen Z Brits feel they don’t relate to characters on the big screen – and more than half (57 per cent) Opinion that stereotypes is offensive and overused in film.

In addition to Monique, three other finalists also saw trailers for their film concepts in the final of #FilmsYouWantToSee 2023. They each won a second prize of £7,500 to develop a full trailer for their film.

The other three finalists include Ethan Ross, a student at Bournemouth University whose concept for Pink Glove was a heart-wrenching thriller that followed an LGBTQIA+ spy agency seeking justice after an assassination attack on a colleague .

Guy Chackarov and Omri Dagan also wowed the judges with their police-based comedy Supervised, which questioned white privilege and police profiling of minorities in a world where cops arrest whites for minor offenses.

And Natasha Mwansa’s “Do it for Jordan” tells the story of Maria who develops feelings for a mysterious woman after a heart transplant – who turns out to be the ex-lover of the previous owner of her new heart.

Kerry Cavanaugh, Mars Business Unit Director, said: “We are very excited for Monique. It was a joy to see their Sunday Supper concept grow from a 90 second trailer to a brilliant short film.

“Monique’s film is fun, funny and gently breaks the stereotypes of LGBTQIA+ and ethnic minorities. We hope Monique’s short film will stimulate important conversations about 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 embodied that mission in their work.

“We can’t wait to see what’s next for Monique and all the other directors who have shared their experiences and expertise with us over the past few months.”

Visit here for more information, including where to see the winning film.