Posted 02 February 2023
Interview by Frankie Faccion
Mention Bagels

“Make what you want to make”: Filmmaking duo Bagels talk cooking up films with limited resources

How can a fondness for bagel-eating lead to winning a “Most Thought-Provoking Film” award? Roni Niu and Patrick Bangit had no idea what was ahead of them when they met at Newcastle University – but the result of their friendship was Bagels, a filmmaking duo born out of their “creative hunger” and inspired by the works of director Wong Kar-wai. Despite having no film degrees or credits, both Pat and Roni developed – and finessed – skills in moving image, animation and screenplay-writing; the result has been two impressive awards already under Bagel’s belt. Here, the pair tell us why a lack of funding shouldn’t stop you from creating your vision – and not to miss out on programmes like Livity’s In Future List and Wieden+Kennedy’s namesake creative incubator.


Bagels (Roni Niu and Patrick Carlo Bangit)

Job Title

Filmmakers, Chef (Patrick) and Film Trainee (Roni)



Selected Awards

How Long Have We Been Doing This?: 3rd Place, #CreateCOP27

Grass Patch: Most Thought-Provoking Film, #BraveFuturesLDN Film Race

Place of Study

Roni: BA Media, Communication and Cultural Studies, Newcastle University (2019-2022)

Patrick: BA Politics, Newcastle University (2019-2022)

Social Media


What we do

How would you describe what you do?
We are a filmmaking duo with a love and passion for mixed-media filmmaking. We’re influenced by the aesthetics of street photography, the timeless black-and-white look and mixed-media textures.

Our work often involves abstract and experimental narratives. We like to incorporate these visual elements with thought-provoking stories.

Roni Niu and Patrick Bangit

What’s the story behind Bagels?
We both grew up in Asia (Taiwan and Japan), first meeting when we started our foundation course at Newcastle University and quickly becoming best friends.

We are both creative and enjoy making things, so naturally we spent a lot of time together. We’d make random videos and art to keep ourselves entertained, while eating a lot of bagels. We thought that if we ever did creative projects together, we’d call ourselves Bagels – that’s how we got the name!

At the time, we had no clue that we would go into film. At first, we thought of starting a cover band with just the two of us, but that probably wasn’t the best idea as we don’t really play any instruments nor sing.

When Covid hit, we had a lot of time to develop our interests. Pat started transitioning his street photography skills into capturing moving images and playing with [3D computer graphics software] Blender, whilst Roni delved into the world of 2D frame-by-frame animation and started writing screenplays. We were with each other all along during this process, so we collaborated and worked on projects together, experimenting with different ways to tell stories.

“When Covid hit, we had a lot of time to develop our interests. We collaborated on projects, experimenting with different ways to tell stories.”

Stills from Bagel’s film, How Long Have We Been Doing This?
Still from HLHWBDT
Still from HLHWBDT

What are the main influences and inspirations behind your work?
We like intentional works that leave you thinking after viewing. We take a lot of inspiration from Haruki Murakami’s writings and Wong Kar-wai’s films – these are the kind of stories we want to tell and films we want to make (but with our own flavour, of course!).

Being big fans of animation, we also draw inspiration from both old and classic animated films: from Akira (1988), Perfect Blue (1997), Paprika (2006), to The Red Turtle (2016) and Weathering With You (2019).

To sum it up, we are massive fans of trippy, weird, cool visuals and experimental narratives.

Do you ever have creative differences? If so, how do you make these work?
Luckily, we have not yet had any creative differences. We are very similar individuals and see eye to eye – from daily habits to creative visions. That’s probably why we got along so well in the first place!

Bagels Unload Concept1

Bagel’s concept art for their film, Unload

Bagels Unload Concept2

Bagels Unload Concept4

Would you say you need any specific training for what you do?
One key skill we have developed is creative problem-solving. Having to work with limited resources (two desk lamps, two MacBook Pros, one Canon 750D [camera] and no budget), we are always experimenting with ways to achieve the look we want with what is at our disposal. It can be challenging but is also rewarding – we often end up with hacks that surprise us!

Other than that, the trait that kept us going is staying hungry. We always want to level up, learn more, make cooler visuals, share our stories, challenge ourselves and show people what we can do. This desire to keep on improving and climbing higher has to come from within and if it’s there, you’ll never run out of things to learn.

“What’s kept us going is our creative hunger. We always want to learn more, level up, make cooler visuals, share our stories and challenge ourselves.”

Concept art for Bagels’ film, Goodbye Goodbye

Roni, can you tell us about your experience as a participant of Livity’s In Future List Programme?
Being part of [media agency] Livity’s mentorship programme In Future List was a very exciting opportunity. I feel blessed and honoured to have been selected among other talented creatives.

The chance to meet, connect and network with these people from all around the world was the cherry on top for me. As the programme selects creatives from many different industries, it really opened up opportunities for us to meet people that we wouldn’t usually meet.

Livity have also been very supportive throughout the six months and beyond: sharing works from the cohort, promoting what they’re doing and pushing us further into the future. If anyone is interested in applying, do not miss out!

What’s been your favourite project to work on from the past year, and why?
If we had to choose, it would be Grass Patch (above).

Having just graduated and moved to London at the time, Grass Patch is the crystallisation of all our thoughts, revelations and traces of our steps in the big city. It is very personal and close to our hearts. Also, it was our first try of visualising the narrative through the lens of street photography and the first time one of our films premiered at a live screening event.

The logline for the film is: “A journey of self-discovery. From the start to the goal and all that’s in between.” That is where we are at now – happily exploring all that’s in between.

How we got here

What was your journey like when you were first starting out?
After graduating from university in June 2022, we moved to London, hoping to take a step into the film industry.

The transition was harder than we thought. Neither of us studied film or have any credits on our CVs besides our own projects. We felt like we had to invest time and money in ourselves to show people who we are and what we can do. We spent a whole month staying indoors working on a mixed-media short and participated in film races, challenging ourselves to create under pressure.

We are very lucky to have met many amazing and kind people who were willing to help and guide us. The people from See It On Screen were willing to take on our project and help bring our ideas to life when we hadn’t made any films.

Wieden+Kennedy London connected us with directors and artists that we admire [Roni was a 2020 participant of The Kennedys]. The people from FilmWorks were willing to collaborate with us when we had just arrived in London. Many more people have showed kindness to us along the way; we will be forever grateful.

“Neither of us studied film or have any credits on our CVs besides our own projects. We had to invest time and money in ourselves to show people what we can do.”

Bagels Grass Patch STILLS1

Stills from Bagels’ film, Grass Patch

Bagels Grass Patch STILLS2

Bagels Grass Patch STILLS3

What would you say has been your biggest challenge along the way?
Securing funding. As emerging, independent filmmakers, convincing sponsors to financially support us isn’t very easy. We are currently waiting on funding for two short films in pre-production.

We have made many zero budget shorts, but we do need funding to bring more complex projects to life. Nevertheless, we don’t want to let it break our momentum. We‘ve been saving up money from our jobs and film awards to invest in ourselves and create more work.

“As emerging, independent filmmakers, convincing sponsors to financially support us isn’t easy. But we won’t let it break our momentum.”

If you could pick three things that you’ve found useful or inspiring to your work or career, what would they be and why?
The banality of life. We find a moment or a feeling that people can resonate with and expand that into a story – the kind that is subtle, but grabs your heart without you even noticing.

We also stay up to date with the latest technology in filmmaking, such as virtual technologies and AI. We believe this is where the future lies. The possibilities they’re enabling are mind-blowing, and this is only the beginning!

Last but not least, we really like [self-taught artist and actor] Lauren Tsai’s artwork. Her book It’s all for you is a beautiful collection of illustrations reflecting her thoughts. It is stunning both visually and emotionally.

What have been your greatest learnings with making money and supporting yourself as creatives?
Pat is working as a chef and Roni is a film trainee. We work on projects together as Bagels in our free time.

One thing we’ve learned from the few months after graduating from university is to live and experience. These jobs support our practice; they support us financially, but are also way more than that. They are all real life experiences that will serve as inspiration – we want to tell stories from all walks of life, emotions and human experience.

Have either of you benefited from any other access schemes, initiatives or mentorships you’d like to share?
Roni was part of Wieden+Kennedy London’s The Kennedys 2020, where he learnt from creatives, directors and designers. He also got the chance to work on music videos for Khurangbin and Knxwledge.

Even after the programme ended, the support from Wieden+Kennedy never stopped. We stayed in touch and they have helped both Roni and Bagels so much along the way. He recommends it for anyone interested in the creative industry.

Roni is also currently on the Prime Video Craft Academy, which is run by the National Film and Television School and Amazon Prime Video. It’s an amazing opportunity for entry-level filmmakers who want to develop and grow further. If you’re interested in the film industry, get involved!

Our advice

Do you have any advice for creatives looking to form a creative duo?
Our advice is that it should happen naturally. Think about why you are forming a duo. Having two people [working closely together] can cause many issues; sometimes it’s both easier and better to do things alone.

We’re both extremely individualistic people and never thought that we’d end up as a duo. If you are both set on forming one, make sure there is mutual respect, so you can keep learning from each other and grow together.

What’s the best career-related advice you’ve ever received?
Make what you want to make and have fun making it.

Don’t let anything stop you from creating and sharing the stories you want to share. If you are truly passionate about what you’re doing, nothing will be able to come in your way.

What advice would you give someone looking to get into a similar role?
Don’t let working with limited resources and finances stop you from having fun.

Throw yourself out into the world and build your creative community; storytelling is a common creative medium and a collaborative art form.

Meet and connect with like-minded people. Network, learn about what they’re doing, share what you’re doing and maybe do something together!


Roni Niu was part of Livity’s 2022 In Future List cohort.

To find out more about the mentorship and workshop programme – including how to apply for this year’s intake – check out their Opportunities Board article here. Deadline 12th February.

Interview by Frankie Faccion
Mention Bagels