You’ve heard her name by now.
Phumi Morare, the South African woman who won Gold last year at the Student Academy Awards for Best Short Film Narrative, going up against the finest student filmmakers in the USA, and from around the world.
AFDA Johannesburg’s 3rd Year film students in the Motion Picture School were treated to an exclusive private premier of Phumi’s multiple award winning short film, LAKUTSHON’ ILANGA (“When the Sun Sets”) (2021) on Friday, 8 July, as part of their annual Script Camp designed to prepare students for their own capstone short film production, the AFDA Graduation Short Film.
LAKUTSHON’ ILANGA is a 14-minute social drama set in South Africa during 1985, following the narrative of a nurse.
The film has not only taken home a Gold Student Oscar, but was also shortlisted for the 94th Academy Awards this year.
It took home the HBO Short Film Competition Award and was nominated for the Student BAFTA for Best Live-Action short film.
It won Outstanding Short Film at the 53rd NAACP Image Awards, and received a special mention nomination as Best South African Short Film at the Durban International Film Festival.
The film has played at countless prestigious festivals and continues to run the gamut.
AFDA Johannesburg Screenwriting was blessed to host Phumi for a very special educational interview live on Zoom, where the film was also screened.
The AFDA Johannesburg Script Camp is an annual week-long event for screenwriting & producing students in Johannesburg to learn with the best of the biz, about the craft and business of short film writing.
It occurs under the auspices of Fulbright Scholar and creative writing thought-leader and coach, Zunaid Mansoor, who is Senior Lecturer & Head of Screenwriting at AFDA Johannesburg.
Zunaid is also the Amy Biehl Scholar selected as top post-graduate exchange student from South Africa to the USA in 2007. He is an Advisor to the Production and Development Panel of the National Film & Video Foundation and has judged the WGSA Muse Awards.
Phumi’s short film was produced as part of her MFA thesis graduation short film production at Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts – another renowned film school in the world.
The film was shot in Johannesburg in 2020 with the active help and support of AFDA Johannesburg faculty and managers during production and post-production.
AFDA’s affiliation with Chapman University was part of the vision of Zunaid Mansoor, who is also an alumnus of Dodge College, when he brokered a professional linkage between the two institutions in 2012 which led to an exchange program, location production assistance and to the lensing of LAKUTSHON’ ILANGA.
“I did not know back then that the affiliation with Dodge College and AFDA would lead to us, 10 years later, interviewing a Student Oscar winning writer-director!” said Zunaid during his interview with Phumi.
Zunaid’s commitment to training and developing screenwriters is matched by his passion for helping them connect with each other towards creating viable artistic opportunities for themselves, which he arranges through AFDA Young Alumni, initiated in 2012.
The educational interview covered relevant, powerful insights like ideation and concept origination, making firm decisions in the face of opinions and criticism, rewriting endurance, challenges in production, working with international talent, effective communication and collaboration, challenges in post-production, and nurturing the writer-directors voice and learning by reflection.
Year three film students from Screenwriting, Producing and Directing had a chance to pose their inspired and relevant questions to Phumi about designing your theme and holding on to it, writing for actors, respecting the short film form, engineering subtext in scene-writing etc.
“This was a highlight of my studies, and helped me think about audiences when I write, not only in South Africa, but all over the world,” said Screenwriting student Uthimna-Yena Kwatsha.
“We are enriched by this outstanding interview which helps me to believe in my ability to transcend my student status and create something the world can recognize! Thank you Zunaid for organizing this outstanding interview for us! We are privileged to be your students, here at AFDA!” said Screenwriting student Omolemo Mosadi.
We are blessed to have had this unique and special occasion with a fellow South African, who makes us proud!
AFDA Johannesburg has also received a Student Academy Award for Best Short Film Foreign in 2006, and was nominated in that category again in 2013.