Onyeka Igwe and Michelle Williams Gamaker receive FLAMIN Production Awards 2022

Latest 21 Mar 2022

News Story

Onyeka Igwe. Photo Sarah Bodri

Onyeka Igwe. Photo Sarah Bodri

Michelle Williams Gamaker Credit Ellen Rogers 2018

Michelle Williams Gamaker. Credit Ellen Rogers 2018

Film London is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2022 FLAMIN Productions awards. Artist filmmakers Onyeka Igwe and Michelle Williams Gamaker will receive funding, tailored support and mentoring as they develop their new moving image projects.

FLAMIN Productions supports mid-career, London-based artists whose ambitious projects have the potential for national and international exhibition and distribution. Both Onyeka and Michelle will receive funding of £30,000 to complete their project, alongside ongoing development support and mentoring opportunities specifically tailored to the artist. With works accepted at the concept stage, the projects signify pivotal career progressions and are set to embark on their projects over the coming months.

Onyeka Igwe’s A (speculative) history of (colonial) Reparations (working title) focuses on Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti, Sylvia Wynter, C.L.R James, Kwame Nkrumah and George Padmore, who were all in London in 1947. Individually, they were writing, campaigning and studying, all at the heart of the British Empire, agitating for their respective countries' national independence. Did they meet? What did they discuss? What did they conjure?

This project imagines what happened when they - particularly the less prominent women, or people like them - came together and met in London in 1947 and put their fervour and imagination to the question of reparations. This dual timeline experimental film will combine documentary explorations of a contemporary theatrical production with a speculative period drama, imagining reparations otherwise.

Onyeka Igwe, 8 yams, 8 small yams, 8 eggs, a cow and a cockerel. Photo by FORMA.

Onyeka Igwe, 8 yams, 8 small yams, 8 eggs, a cow and a cockerel. Photo by FORMA.

Michelle Williams Gamaker’sThieves (working title) is a fantasy adventure, based on the silent black and white 1924 and Technicolor 1940 films of the same name: The Thief of Bagdad. Chinese-American actor Anna May Wong and Indian-born American actor Sabu, both starred in the originals playing sidekick characters that were denigrating by definition.

For Thieves they are recast with Williams Gamaker's long-term collaborators Krishna Istha (Dissolution trilogy 2017-2019) and Dahong Wang (The Bang Straws 2021). As an extension of Williams Gamaker's body of work in Fictional Activism, Thieves is a tale of Fictional Revenge, in which Anna May Wong and Sabu return to take over the film set. The film is intended as a metaphorical 'bloodletting', in which a cathartic, creative reimagining of film history unfolds.

Adrian Wootton, Chief Executive of Film London and the British Film Commission, said:

“Now in its tenth iteration, FLAMIN Productions has a reputation for supporting artists seeking to push themselves, their work and the boundaries of moving image. The diverse array of works created have gone on to exhibit across various platforms, engaging international and new audiences, a real testament to artist filmmaking talent in the capital.

It is vital that we continue to support and champion artists exploring and challenging creative practices and perceptions. We are thrilled to announce Onyeka Igwe and Michelle Williams Gamaker as our 2022 recipients and look forward to following their development. I would like to thank Arts Council England for their continued and valued support.”

Thieves by Michelle Williams Gamaker, 2023, background image credit Mario Cruz

Thieves by Michelle Williams Gamaker, 2023, background image credit Mario Cruz

To date, FLAMIN Productions has supported and commissioned a phenomenal range of works that have gone on to achieve not only great critical success but also substantial and international public reach. Recent successes includeJasmina Cibic’sThe Gift, which had its world premiere at the London International Film Festival in October 2021, and Patrick Goddard’sAnimal Antics, showing as part of the British Art Show.

Suki Chan’sFog in My Head, part of Chan’s wider project CONSCIOUS, a research, exhibition and film project, is currently exhibiting at Bluecoat, Liverpool and at Danielle Arnaud, London, this month. New works commissioned through FLAMIN Productions will also be seen over the coming year from artists Patrick Hough, Steven Eastwood and Billy Dosanjh.

Find out more about the awarded artists and former works over on the FLAMIN Productions webpage.