Fabian Wagner Filmmaking Scholarship winner announced

7 September, 2022

BIMM Institute Berlin is delighted to officially announce that the Fabian Wagner Filmmaking Scholarship recipient for 2022/2023 will be Mila Kreft-Sietnicka.

The Fabian Wagner Filmmaking Scholarship covers one student’s tuition on our BA (Hons) Filmmaking course. This fantastic scholarship opportunity in collaboration with world-renowned cinematographer Fabian Wagner – who has worked on projects like Sherlock, Justice League, Game of Thrones and, most recently, the Game of Thrones prequel House of the Dragon – represents our commitment to supporting aspiring creatives as they forge their career.

Applicants answered the question of what the scholarship would mean to them and also submitted 5 photos on the theme of “peace.” After reviewing dozens of applications, Fabian and Alex Hobden (Deputy Principal, BIMM Institute Berlin, Screen & Film Faculty) finally settled on Mila’s application.

About Mila

Originally from Szczecin, Poland, 19-year-old Mila has been creative for as long as she can remember. Since receiving her first photo camera at just three years old, capturing image has been a key part of her life.

“I became seriously interested in film when I was 15. It felt like a natural step forward from photography, kind of expanding the possibilities of an image by the factor of time.“

– Mila Kreft-Sietnicka, Fabian Wagner Filmmaking Scholar

Mila-Kreft-Sietnicka speaking to Fabian Wagner at Molecule Studios.

As Mila’s passion continued to grow, she began to work on her own films alongside friends and family. In 2018 and 2019, she presented two short silent films at the International Youth Silent Film Festival in the USA.

Once high school came to an end, Mila wanted to understand one crucial thing: was filmmaking the career path for her? To answer this very question, she applied to European Film College in Denmark and was accepted on to its one-year foundation course.

“I met amazing people [at EFC] – I worked on student sets and completed projects that I’m incredibly proud of. But, most importantly – I learnt that I truly want to become a filmmaker.“

– Mila Kreft-Sietnicka

Looking for her next opportunity, and committed to becoming a filmmaker, Mila discovered the BA (Hons) Filmmaking programme at BIMM Institute Berlin:

“It seemed like a perfect opportunity for me: a mix between an academic and practical approach to my favourite art, set in my favourite city – can it get better than that?”

– Mila Kreft-Sietnicka

Mila’s application

As announced by Fabian in the first Open House at Molecule Studios, the application process for the scholarship consisted of two aspects: an essay answering what the scholarship would mean to the applicant and five original photos exploring the theme of “peace”.

Fabian explains why he designed the process like this:

“A person’s personal story is really important to me. I want to understand their history and what has led them to this moment. Then it comes down to their love for filmmaking – the talent and the drive they show. Getting into this industry is daunting and can be very tough. It’s about not giving up and a will to pursue it.”

– Fabian Wagner, cinematographer

Mila’s essay, which opens with a stream of consciousness, explores her story through the lens of the inner tensions she experiences as a creative:

Grab a camera when you’re really young, have fun, experiment, make mistakes and learn from them – very good, that’s going to put you ahead of others, that’s a solid foundation for your future, keep going. It’s all about the passion, creativity, identity, you just need to find your voice. But then – you’re too young to get into film school, we need to see you mature a bit, you don’t know life.”

– an excerpt from Mila’s essay

 

“Mila’s essay was written directly from the heart. Her clear passion, honesty and self-reflection jumped from the page.”

Alex Hobden, Deputy Principal, BIMM Institute Berlin, Screen & Film Faculty

But what truly sealed the deal, were Mila’s photos. Taken during a transitional phase in her life – her move from Szczecin to Berlin – she titled her photo series, ‘Peace starts where the war ends.’

“[Mila’s] images demonstrate a blend of practical competence and poetic creative flare that I felt hit the brief perfectly.”

– Alex Hobden

“Mila showed a great eye in her pictures but more than that, she eloquently presented the very careful thoughts behind all of them. She’s a very interesting young woman who really showed us who she is and where she wants to and that finally won it for us. But I also want to add that selecting one person was a really tough process. There were so many different and interesting applications that it became really hard. In the end it was a very close call. To those that didn’t make it for the scholarship, please don’t give up. There are many different ways of getting into the industry and other opportunities will open up. It’s about determination.”

– Fabian Wagner

The moment of good news

After her application and interviews were complete, Alex and Fabian jumped on a call with Mila to give her the good news.

“I was more nervous before the call with Alex and Fabian than I thought I would be. I was really proud of my application but at this point the stakes were so high that I didn’t even notice that the call was being recorded. Both Fabian and I had some internet connection problems but I was happy to talk about my submission, explaining how I enjoyed the process of preparing it and what the scholarship would mean to me. The video became a bit choppy but I could hear them congratulating me! I’d obviously been hoping to receive the scholarship and I felt confident about my work but it still came as a surprise. It was such a happy moment of relief and feeling appreciated. I realised how good things are going to be from now on and I think I even cried a little. Anyway, what a nice call to get!”

– Mila Kreft-Sietnicka

Looking forward to the future

From September 2022, Mila will join other students from all over the world as the inaugural cohort at BIMM Institute Berlin’s Screen & Film Faculty.

“We are thrilled to have Mila joining us this academic year and I am excited to see where her creativity and drive will take her.”

– Alex Hobden

“BIMM is a dream school for me – I will be able to obtain a degree in the field I’m passionate about in one of the best cities in the world. It’s such an amazing opportunity and I’m looking forward to meeting all the other students and lecturers, immersing myself into the cultural world of Berlin and the industry networking opportunities. I have three very exciting years ahead of me and it’s only just the beginning of my professional filmmaking journey.”

– Mila Kreft-Sietnicka

Mila will also present two shorts I sengen er vi rene go tørre go varme mod hinanden (In Bed We Are Clean and Dry and Warm Towards Each Other) and The Shepherd at upcoming film festivals, The Next Film Festival (Denmark) and Short Film Factory Festival (online). View Mila’s portfolio here.


Ready to explore Filmmaking at BIMM Institute Berlin? Find out more about our BA (Hons) Filmmaking programme or join us at a Virtual Open Day or Open House. You can also speak to our Admissions Team, who will support you through your application. Reach out to them via email admissions@bimm-institute.de or give them a call at +49 (0) 30 311 99 186.

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