M&M’S® Short Film Festival: Funke, Fatima And Madame Bunmi Trailer Sees Two Best Friends Swap Bodies

M&M'S Short Film Festival – Funke, Fatima And Madame Bunmi

by Empire |
Published on

Created by Empire for M&M’S Chocolate.

Ever woke up in your best friend’s body, the day before a huge birthday party? Us neither – but imagine the chaos it could cause…

Introducing the M&M’S Short Film Festival, an exciting new way to find the filmmakers of tomorrow. Bringing together diverse voices from across the UK and shining a light on the next generation of talent, the M&M’S Short Film Festival is a competition which gives up and coming directors the chance to receive £25,000 in funding to bring their short film idea to life. The best part? You get to be involved too, and vote for who takes the top prize.

M&M'S Short Film Festival

The challenge for these budding movie-makers was to come up with a compelling cinematic concept that fits the theme of ‘belonging’. After receiving many incredible applications, a panel of judges selected three finalists, each of which have put together trailers for their short film as a teaser of what’s to come if they get to make them for real. To help you decide who to vote for, Empire sat down with each director to get to know them a little better, learn more about their short film idea, their influences – and, of course, their favourite type of M&M’S.

This time, we’re talking to Christine Ubochi, director of Funke, Fatima And Madame Bunmi – a coming-of-age comedy about two best friends who enlist the help of a mysterious witch doctor to achieve their dream bodies, but end up getting something else entirely. Find out more about Ubochi below – and click here to watch all three trailers, and place your vote!

M&M'S Short Film Festival – Funke, Fatima And Madame Bunmi

EMPIRE: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

CHRISTINE UBOCHI: I'm Christine. I'm 25 years old, and I'm a writer and director from South East London.

What made you want to be a filmmaker?

I've always loved film. It just always reminds me of my childhood, whenever my Auntie would take me and my sisters to the cinema. But I didn't actually think people had a career in film aside from the actors. So for the longest time, I wanted to be an actress growing up, and studied drama at university and everything. It was there that I actually realised there were such things as screenwriters and directors. I've always loved to write, but it was mainly just my own things; I would write poetry. After watching Ava DuVernay's documentary 13th, I saw that people can make cinema and spread awareness for issues that they care about. So I created a short film based on a poem I wrote when I was 16, and shot that with my friends. From there, I was able to get more commissions to keep creating the work that I want to see on screen.

Can you tell us about your previous short films?

The first ever short film I made was called Routine. It was about a university student struggling with her mental health, and how her mental health is an actual person that’s always following her. So in the film, her depression and anxiety is depicted as an actual human being, as a character that nobody else could see aside from her, and we see how it has such a negative effect on her whole being. How it affected her relationships, her family, and just her whole perception of herself.

M&M'S Short Film Festival – Funke, Fatima And Madame Bunmi

From there I was commissioned by the BBC to create The Skin I Move In, which is essentially a five minute experimental poetry film about women existing beyond their relationships with men, and that premiered on BBC Four in 2022. I was then commissioned for the audio cohort, and then a short fantasy space film that I did. And then now this, for M&M'S.

Which filmmakers inspire you the most?

Definitely Ava DuVernay. She was the reason why I got into filmmaking, just because of her sincere passion to spread awareness of these issues that are happening all over the world. So I would say filmmakers that do things like that. I really like Greta Gerwig. I like her style, like with Little Women, the dynamics that she was showing with the sisters, because that's something I can relate to with my family. Spike Lee, always Spike Lee, and the Coen brothers as well. I think what's so great about opportunities like this is that it really gives new filmmakers a chance to figure out their voice, their tone, their style. I feel like where I'm at in my journey, that's exactly what I want to do.

Which films are direct influences on your new short?

Freaky Friday, 110%. The Hot Chick, as well. I have two older sisters who introduced me to a lot of films. I don't know why I was like 10 or 11, and I was watching The Hot Chick, but that's one of my favourite films. Also, Adam Sandler, he made a film called You Are So Not Invited To My Bar Mitzvah, and I love the way the relationship between the girls in that seemed so sincere and so genuine. To them, this was the most important thing in their coming of age. Booksmart, as well, with just how funny it is.

M&M'S Short Film Festival – Funke, Fatima And Madame Bunmi

Where did the initial idea for Funke, Fatima And Madame Bunmi come from?

I had this idea last April, when I was reflecting on how I viewed myself when I was younger. I remember, I was walking to the train station, and I saw a school kid that looked like me when I was younger; that reminded me of myself. She was next to her friend, who looked like the total opposite. So I just thought, 'Imagine if they miraculously switched bodies?' and then what their life would be like, and how they would be able to see themselves from the other person's perspective.

The theme of the competition is ‘belonging’. How would you say your short film encompasses that?

When I think about belonging, I've always reflected on how there can be a difficulty in feeling like you belong in the body that you were born with. So I think the reason why I wanted to do the body swap is for them to be able to see from a different person's perspective, like, 'You're okay, there's nothing wrong with you, it's okay to feel at home with where you are'. It’s set in South London, and they're part of different communities, but they're still able to be friends. It was really important for the cast to be from different backgrounds, because I think that encompasses belonging really well. I see Funke being a British-West African teenager, who is best friends with Fatima, a British-Asian teenager. They come from different backgrounds. Fatima comes from a big family, whereas Funke comes from a smaller family where she's just an only child. But despite their differences, they're still able to be together and have a beautiful friendship.

M&M'S Short Film Festival – Funke, Fatima And Madame Bunmi

What would be your absolute dream project in the future?

I would love to do a visually striking feature film that talks about dysfunctional families, but in a comedic way, and sheds light on things like mental illnesses in families and generational trauma. Basically, things that impact the younger generation because of the older generation.

What’s the next step in your filmmaking journey after this competition?

After speaking with the cast, and seeing them really bring the characters to life, I think whatever happens with this short, it would be to develop it further – either as a feature film or a short film. Because so much love and time has been given into this, it's gotten to a point where the trailer is not enough! There needs to be more.

M&M'S Short Film Festival – Funke, Fatima And Madame Bunmi

You win an Oscar one day. Who are you thanking in your speech?

I think God, first and foremost. Let's do the Holy Trinity. We're going to do God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. They'll all get the thanks, as well as my family and my friends, because they have really been a major support with all of this. And my mentors as well. I would not be able to do anything without the mentors that are around me.

What's your favourite type of M&M’S?

The blue ones, the blue crispy ones! I love the crispy ones.



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