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Gurinder Chadha OBE and Charlotte Regan unveil the National Lottery ‘Walk of Stars’ installation to mark the start of the BFI London Film Festival

9th October 2023

The National Lottery has created the ‘Walk of Stars’, in partnership with the BFI, an installation which shines a light on the incredible talent behind brilliant films, as well as the rising stars of the UK film industry, who have all been supported by National Lottery funding through the BFI.

Film directors and writers Gurinder Chadha, OBE (Bend it Like Beckham, 2002) and Charlotte Regan (Scrapper, 2023) unveiled the Hollywood-inspired ‘Walk of Stars’ at London’s South Bank today in celebration of this year’s BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express, taking place 4th October–15th October.

National Lottery players raise around £30 million every week for good causes across the UK, and the contribution to the UK film industry includes having funded the making of more than 600 films in the past 26 years, which have won an astonishing 504 awards including 16 Oscars, 124 BAFTAs and 33 Cannes awards, from more than 1,868 nominations.

To celebrate the start of the BFI London Film Festival, today the South Bank – the heart of the festival - received the red carpet treatment as Bend it Like Beckham director Gurinder Chadha, OBE and Scrapper director Charlotte Regan unveiled The National Lottery’s ‘Walk of Stars’ installation. In partnership with the BFI, the installation celebrates the incredible talent behind just some of the brilliant National Lottery funded films, as well as a handful of rising stars of the UK film industry who have achieved extraordinary things thanks to National Lottery funding through the BFI.

Gurinder Chadha OBE, is one of 10 talented individuals who have been honoured by The National Lottery with a star on the ‘Walk of Stars’. Gurinder is one of the U.K.’s most proven and respected filmmakers, with the BFI naming her as one of the U.K’s most prolific female directors working today. Gurinder is known for creating films that break barriers, with the impact of one of her most successful film, Bend It Like Beckham, still being felt today.

Alongside Gurinder, Charlotte Regan, is also honoured by on the ‘Walk of Stars’. Charlotte is a BAFTA-nominated, writer-director from London and started her journey making music videos for grime artists when she was 15, and then taking part in BFI Film Academy short course the following year. Her unique talent has been supported by the BFI Network mentoring programme, which led to an opportunity to showcase an early cut of her award winning short film STANDBY to the Sundance Ignite Film Festival team.

Two women, Gurinder Chadha OBE and Charlotte Regan, sitting down in the The National Lottery ‘walk of stars’ installation in London
Gurinder Chadha OBE and Charlotte Regan at The National Lottery ‘walk of stars’ installation in London.

Other recipients recognised for their contributions to National Lottery funded projects include actors Hayley Squires (I, Daniel Blake, directed by Ken Loach), Sophie Okonedo CBE (Wild Rose, directed by Tom Harper), and David Jonsson (Rye Lane, directed by Raine Allen-Miller).

Beyond acknowledging these established talents , the ‘Walk of Stars’ also spotlights five rising stars in the industry whose The National Lottery funded projects are breaking boundaries, as they hope to change the shape of UK film. Among these emerging stars are filmmakers Greta McMillan, Ross Wilders and Mdhamiri á Nkemi, screenwriter Eden Quine-Taylor and upcoming producer Parker Dawes, whose contributions have already begun to illuminate the path toward a captivating cinematic future.

Emerging filmmaker Greta McMillan uses an eyegaze computer, so her eyes become her mouse and cursor which allowed her to create multi award winning ‘Change Direction’, a short film about the climate crisis. Film maker Mdhamiri á Nkemi, alumni of the National Lottery-supported BFI Film Academy who received the Toledo Scholarship, has worked on films that have been BAFTA shortlisted and Academy Award longlisted, including a BIFA win for The Last Tree (supported by BFI National Lottery funding). Eden Quine-Taylor, whose first short film script “Happy Ever After” won an award at The International KidsNFilm Festival, continues her work exploring behaviour and relationships of society. Ross Wilders is a successful short filmmaker and continues to develop his skills in videography, editing, and filmmaking. Whilst Parker Dawes is a rising star having produced an award-winning animated film in English and Gaelic, ‘Gàidhlig sa Chiste’ inspired by Gaelic signage.

Each week, National Lottery players contribute approximately £30 million to good causes across the nation with a proportion of this funding going to the UK film industry, through the BFI. The National Lottery has funded the making of more than 600 films in the past 26 years, which have won an astounding 504 awards including 16 Oscars, 124 BAFTAs and 33 Cannes awards, from more than 1,868 nominations. This substantial financial support is instrumental in nurturing and fostering the exceptional talent that graces both the big and small screens.

Screen Culture is a powerful form of cultural expression with the unique ability to build cohesion and to share information and ideas, so the BFI invests around £45m of National Lottery funding per year to help preserve its past and support its future. This includes inspiring and funding the next generation of UK filmmaking talent and crew, supporting vibrant and representative stories to be told on screen, helping audiences to access a wider range of independent UK and international cinema, unlocking the UK’s film heritage, and ensuring UK film is seen and enjoyed all over the world. With National Lottery funding, the BFI works to bring screen culture to the centre of the lives of UK citizens, to maximise its cultural, educational, social and economic benefits UK-wide.

A woman, Gurinder Chadha OBE, next to stat on the floor of the National Lottery ‘walk of stars’ installation in London
Gurinder Chadha OBE at The National Lottery ‘walk of stars’ installation in London.

Gurinder Chadha, Director of ‘Bend it Like Beckham’ said, “Film has the unique power to bridge cultures, evoke emotions, and tell stories that resonate with people from all walks of life. The support of The National Lottery has been instrumental in bringing these stories to the forefront and ensuring that diverse voices in the film industry have the opportunity to shine. This recognition serves as a reminder of the immense impact cinema can have on society and an example of that is the increased awareness of women’s football following Bend It Like Beckham. I am honoured to be featured in this installation and am deeply grateful for the continued support of The National Lottery in fostering creativity and diversity within our industry.”

Harriet Finney, BFI’s Deputy CEO, said: "The ‘Walk of Stars’ installation is a celebration of the extraordinary contribution National Lottery funding has made to the world of UK independent film. Shining a light on these fantastic individuals and the brilliant work they have produced, highlights the significant impact National Lottery funding can have in developing talent across the UK, supporting careers in front and behind the camera, improving representation in our sector and helping to make great films! We are immensely proud to honour those featured on these stars, and hope they – and our many other National Lottery supported stars and films – inspire future creativity in UK screen culture.”

Notes to editors

The ‘Walk of Stars’ will be displayed on Queen’s Walk in London’s Southbank from Wednesday 4th October to Thursday 5th October 2023.