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Top 30 shortlisted for Sony Future Filmmaker Awards 2024

LOS ANGELES, April 23, 2024

A total of 30 international filmmakers have been shortlisted for this year's Sony Future Filmmaker Awards across six categories -  Fiction, Non-Fiction, Environment, Animation, Student, and Future Format. 
 
Announcing this, Creo said the shortlisted filmmakers will be awarded the unique experience of attending a week of special events at the Sony Pictures Studios lot in Los Angeles, including a workshop programme providing unparalleled access behind-the-scenes of the industry and later culminating in the Awards ceremony on May 30. 
 
The winning, finalist and shortlisted images are on view at the Sony World Photography Awards 2024 exhibition at Somerset House, London from April 19.
 
Established by Creo and sponsored by Sony, the sophomore edition of the major annual awards program for short films provides a gateway for the development of exceptional cinematic talent and sets out to elevate voices with an original perspective on storytelling. 
 
This year’s shortlist was chosen from over 8,400 films by more than 5,000 filmmakers across 148 countries and territories submitted across six categories. 
 
The shortlisted stories range from a poignant documentary about two Holocaust survivors miraculously reunited after 80 years, a filmmaker’s search for the last remaining gibbon in Kuala Lumpur, a homeless ballet dancer undertaking a life-changing audition, a spontaneous romance between two strangers thrown together by grounded flights, and much more.
 
Representing a truly global perspective on filmmaking, the shortlist includes films from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, Egypt, Estonia, Germany, Ghana, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, Mexico, Nigeria, South Africa, Thailand, the United Kingdom, Uruguay, and the United States.
 
Working from a longlist of commended submissions, the 30 shortlisted filmmakers were chosen by Emmy-award winning cinematographer Robert Primes ASC and celebrated Australian filmmaker Unjoo Moon. 
 
At the second stage of the judging process, judges 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 (Mission: Impossible – Fallout, Ex-Machina, Civil War) ; Kate Reid BSC, acclaimed British cinematographer (Game of Thrones, Great Expectations, Silo) will choose this year’s category winners, awarding creative excellence and original approaches to narrative. Both stages of the judging process are chaired by award-winning director Justin Chadwick (Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, The Other Boleyn Girl, Tulip Fever).
 
The 30 shortlisted filmmakers will be flown to Los Angeles to attend a comprehensive four-day workshop programme at the Sony Pictures Studios lot in Culver City from May 28 to 31, culminating in a black-tie Awards ceremony on May 30. 
 
Held at the Cary Grant Theatre and hosted by Entertainment Tonight’s Denny Directo, during the ceremony the six category winners will be announced, receiving a range of cash prizes and equipment. 
 
This immersive experience provides filmmakers with a one-of-a-kind opportunity to connect with fellow filmmakers and leaders in the field of cinema, and to gain exclusive access behind-the-scenes of the industry, with workshops led by Sony Pictures executives, and covering a range of topics from keynotes by major cinematographers, screenings and Q&A sessions, to insights into working with talent agencies and using cutting-edge technologies, to film scoring and music rights.  
 
Non-fiction Category
 
The Non-Fiction category awards short films that are predominantly factual in content. These can include archive footage, documentary footage, reenactments and animation.
 
●Jean Chapiro (Mexico), Hasta Encontrarlos (Till We Find Them) – After her daughter disappears in Mexico, a determined mother forms a collective of grieving families, navigating the harrowing landscape of disappearances as they search for loved ones, finding solace in healing dolls representing their missing children; 
●Olawunmi Hassan (Nigeria), Ìrún Dídì – From traditional Yoruba techniques to modern interpretations, the film traces the evolution of the timeless art of hair plaiting, as it becomes a sacred ritual of self-care and empowerment;
●Jordan Matthew Horowitz (USA), Jack and Sam – A poignant documentary about two Holocaust survivors miraculously reunited after 80 years; 
●Florian Nick (Germany), Beyond Hope – Following highly trained volunteers dedicated to rescuing people in danger, the film portrays the heroic work of the Icelandic Association for Search & Rescue, exploring the physical and emotional challenges upon its members; 
●Kayla Robinson (USA), Quilted Education – Historian and skilled quilter Karen Hinton Robinson uses her talents to create beautiful artworks to educate and inform on Black history.
 
Environment Category
 
This category champions films that communicate a positive future for the planet. This category is part of Creators for the Planet, a global year-round engagement program set up by Creo and developed in collaboration with the United Nations Foundation and Sony Pictures.
 
●Curtis Essel (Ghana), The Permaculturist – Vegan chef, permaculture enthusiast, and content creator Gaz Oakley meets permaculture expert Bemeriki Dusabe, a Congolese refugee who has been living in a settlement in Uganda for the last 16 years;
●Solmund MacPherson (Canada), Wildmen of the Greater Toronto Area – A group of Toronto citizens fed up with the rising cost of living renounce their personhood en masse to legally become animals;
●Palmer Morse (US), Usugilix Awakun – Shayla, a passionate Unangax̂ scientist, delves into vital research concerning toxic shellfish;
●Annie Roth (US), Hellbent – In a small rural town in Pennsylvania, the refuge of a rare salamander and the only source of clean drinking water for 700 people is threatened by the installation of a fracking waste injection well;
●Myles Storey (Malaysia), Finding Solo – Amongst the hustle and bustle of Kuala Lumpur lies an isolated forest which is home to Solo, the forest’s last remaining gibbon.
 
Animation Category
 
New to this year’s programme, it embraces filmmakers using stop-motion, motion graphics, computer animation, drawn-on-film, rotoscoping, experimental animation, and additional available techniques.
 
●Eva Louise Hall (US), Mira – A struggling accordionist busker gets more than she bargained for when her desire to get noticed attracts the attention of a mysterious and enticing competitor; 
●Radheya Jegatheva (Australia), Bird Drone – A lonely seagull looking for love struggles to accept that its newfound object of affection is a human-operated drone with a limited battery life;
●Lisa Kenney (UK), Mum's Spaghetti – MC mastermind Poppy and her beatboxing border terrier Snoop are the new kids in town – and they’re ready to make their reputation known;
●Kyle Novak (Czech Republic), Ángulos de la Hora (Hour Angle) – After their flight is grounded, two strangers agree to an anonymous tryst as their new travel plans are arranged; 
●Paul Robinson (USA), Resource:Full – Set in a desiccated landscape, an anthropomorphic machine extracts the energy from a solitary tree bud in an attempt to depart the depleted planet.
 
Student Category
 
The Student category rewards filmmakers studying a film course at a registered institution at a diploma or degree level worldwide.
 
●Natalia Bermúdez (Mexico), Centro de Capacitación Cinematográfica (CCC), Mexico, Apnea – Renata, a young and talented swimmer, has a secret and fraught relationship with her swimming coach Liliana;
●Katniss Tung Cheng (Hong Kong) & Salvador Alejandro Gutiérrez (Mexico), IADT - Dun Laoghaire Institute Of Art Design + Technology, Ireland, Below the Window – A new mother's descent into darkness is triggered by the arrival of a mysterious wayfarer;
●Farah Jabir (US), New York University, Kasbi – A middle-aged Pakistani housewife, in search of herself, hires a young, self-assured sex worker to keep her company for the night;
●Raheem Razak (South Africa), AFDA, South Africa, Anguish – In what seems to be a zombie-infested world, devoted son Sam must tend to his zombie mother while surviving the apocalypse himself;
●Muangthai Sarupkarn (Thailand), King Mongkut's Institute of Technology Ladkrabang, Thailand, Stigma – A look back at one of the most brutal family homicides in Thailand’s history, perpetrated a decade ago in the Bangkok metropolis and described as a 'cold-blooded' and racially motivated act.
 
Future Format 
The Future Format category champions a new generation of aspiring filmmakers, welcoming 2 to 5-minute-long films shot exclusively on a smartphone.
 
●Muzamil Bhat (India), Polite Waters – Following the challenges faced by fishermen in the Wular Lake region, the story highlights the impact of man-made pollution and climate change on their work and livelihood;
●Cristian Daniel (Uruguay), Parasomnia – A young man attempts to discover the unsettling presence in a dark corridor, with no knowledge of what may lie ahead;
●Rana Ramy (Egypt), Above/Zero – A journey through the relationship between light, space, and subject, in an attempt to configure one's existence within the light;
●Bruno Sena (Brazil), Collapse – Through a powerful visual narrative, viewers witness the devastating consequences of human negligence as a fish tank becomes a metaphor for our planet's deteriorating ecosystems;
●Montgomery Taylor (UK), In The Bag – For the first time, witness a bank robbery from an angle you’ve never seen before.
 



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