German luxury vehicle manufacturer BMW aims to emulate the Hollywood experience again through its marketing. After a seven-year absence, the brand film series, BMW Films, will be resurrected.
This return is set alongside the release of a short film featuring Uma Thurman, Pom Klementieff and a BMW i7 M70. The film will be screened at the Cannes Film Festival later this month.
Success for BMW Films began in 2001 with an award-winning short film series called The Hire, starring Clive Owen and overseen by filmmaker David Fincher’s production company.
The James Bond-inspired shorts produced eight entries at less than 10 minutes each that were fundamentally excuses to showcase BMWs in car chases. They also included performances from stars such as Madonna, James Brown and Gary Oldman while directed by action masters such as John Woo, John Frankenheimer, Tony Scott and Guy Ritchie.
BMW Films went on to produce a handful of other shorts, with the last one, The Escape, acting as a sequel with Owen returning in 2016.
“We are in love with our historical legacy when it comes to BMW films,” Stefan Ponikva, vp and president of brand communication and brand experience for BMW, told Adweek. “I always describe it as ‘a treasure’ because the team in 2001 didn’t know what a dramatic and iconic job they did.”
He highlights why the films were so groundbreaking, being produced in a period before YouTube even existed. The original series ended up being released on DVD as it was the only way audiences could view all of the episodes together in one place.
The first silent car chase
Away from it’s output, BMW has close ties to the film industry across Hollywood and streaming platforms, such as Netflix, having cars appear in over 30,000 movies over the years, including Mission Impossible: Fallout, Fast and Furious 6, Ronin and Goldeneye.
The new film, The Calm, has been produced in partnership with the film festival and sees BMW again take the branded approach to moviemaking, which Ponikva describes as “entering an era of storytelling and not of normal advertising, where we push cars into our sales funnel.”
Bringing back the film focus comes as BMW seeks to promote its all-electric vehicle—the i7 M70—which it views as its “flagship” electric luxury car featuring a 31-inch screen with surround sound for passengers’ viewing in the back.
And in a different style of a drive-in movie, the film will premiere within the fleet of 200 cars at Cannes, where it was filmed. Patrons from the festival will be able to view the short film while seated in the passenger seats.