AFDA third year graduation film “Anguish” wins Sony Future Filmmaker Award in LA

Jun 5, 2024 | Awards, Film School, News

AFDA is proud as punch to announce that the third year AFDA Johannesburg 2023 graduation film, “Anguish”, produced by Raheem Razak and directed by Mandisa Mary-Jane Mtembu has won Best Student Film Award at the Sony Future Filmmaker Awards 2024, held in Los Angeles on the 30th May.

“Anguish”, the only undergraduate film to be shortlisted at the awards, is a psychological thriller about a son taking care of his zombie mother during a zombie apocalypse. The film explores the raw, emotional landscape of trauma and the bonds that persist even in dire circumstances.

Producer, Raheem Razak, currently an honours student at AFDA, was invited to Los Angeles by Sony and Creo for a week-long industry immersion program had this to say on winning the Best Student Film Award. “I cannot begin to express how honoured I am to win this award. This film was a labour of love, and it is truly special to be recognised by Sony and Creo. I’m deeply grateful to our talented cast, dedicated crew, supportive sponsors and the invaluable guidance from AFDA. This recognition is a testament to their hard work and commitment to bringing our vision to life. ‘Anguish’ not only represents our creative journey but also showcases the promising future of the South African film industry. It demonstrates the power of cinema in creating a narrative that is both conceptually and emotionally engaging, resonating with audiences on a profound level,”

As part of their prize, this year’s winners and the wider shortlist took part in a week-long industry immersion program, culminating in an awards ceremony. This one-of-a-kind prize provides filmmakers with an invaluable opportunity to connect with their peers and leaders in the field, and to gain exclusive behind-the-scenes access. The program comprises workshops led by Sony Pictures executives, covering a range of topics including keynotes by major cinematographers, screenings and Q&A sessions, insights into working with talent agencies and using cutting-edge technologies, animation and film scoring and music rights. In addition to this, the six winners each receive a range of cash prizes and Sony camera equipment.

This year’s winners were selected from over 8,400 films by more than 5,000 filmmakers across 148 countries and territories submitted across six categories:

Fiction, Non Fiction, Environment, Animation, Student, and Future Format. The winners were chosen by Michael Barker and Tom Bernard, Co-Founders and Co-Presidents of Sony Pictures Classics (Call Me By Your Name, The Father, Whiplash); Rob Hardy ASC, BSC, BAFTA award-winning cinematographer (Civil War, Mission: Impossible – Fallout, Ex-Machina); and Kate Reid BSC, acclaimed British cinematographer (Game of Thrones, Great Expectations, Silo), awarding creative excellence and original approaches to narrative. The winners were drawn from 30 shortlisted filmmakers selected from a longlist by celebrated Australian filmmaker Unjoo Moon and Emmy-award winning cinematographer Robert Primes ASC. Both stages of the judging process were chaired by award-winning director Justin Chadwick (Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, The Other Boleyn Girl, Tulip Fever, Shardlake).

The Sony Future Filmmaker Awards jury as a whole spoke on this year’s winning and shortlisted filmmakers: “This year’s winners traverse borders and cultures, a global gathering of creative talent set to make their mark in our industry. The winners each approach their stories with originality; from a portent of an eroding society, to a surreal take on family pressures, to an animated love story suspended in time. We were struck by the ingenuity of these filmmakers and their fresh perspective on the world. It is with great pleasure we celebrate the winners, as well as the wider cohort of 30 filmmakers who comprised this year’s shortlist, and we look forward to watching as they take their next steps in cinema.”

Following its successful second edition, the Sony Future Filmmaker Awards will return for a third edition in autumn 2025 with submissions opening later this year.

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