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SA student wins big with Zombie movie

Filmmaker Raheem Razak was one of six winners of the Sony Future Filmmaker Awards in Los Angeles, with a piece about a son taking care of his zombie mother.

Young South African filmmaker Raheem Razak was one of six winners of the Sony Future Filmmaker Awards in Los Angeles last week. Anguish, a piece about a son taking care of his zombie mother during a zombie apocalypse, was chosen as one the most outstanding submissions.

“I cannot begin to express how honoured I am to win this award,” said Razak, a student at South Africa’s AFDA film school. “This film was a labour of love, and it is truly special to be recognised by Sony and Creo for my work. It feels amazing to represent my country South Africa, and I hope my career will go from strength to strength from here.” 

The non-fiction category was won by Nigerians Olawunmi Hassan and Adaobi Samson. A number of entries from Africa made the category shortlists.

The awards were established by Creo, an organisation that helps amplify the voices of young creatives across the globe. They provide “a gateway for the development of exceptional cinematic talent and champions filmmakers with an original perspective on storytelling”. The awards are sponsored by Sony.

Chosen by a panel of expert judges led by chair Justin Chadwick, the full list of winners for the Sony Future Filmmaker Awards 2024 is: Raheem Razak (South Africa, Student), Katie Blair (USA, Fiction), Olawunmi Hassan and Adaobi Samson (Nigeria, Non-Fiction), Solmund MacPherson (Canada, Environment), Kyle Novak (Czech Republic, Animation), and Cristian Daniel (Uruguay, Future Format).

As part of their prize, this year’s winners and the wider shortlist took part in a week-long industry immersion program, culminating in the awards ceremony. This prize provides filmmakers with an opportunity to connect with their peers and leaders in the field, and to gain exclusive behind-the-scenes access. 

The programme 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. The six winners each also 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 said in a statement: “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.”

The Sony Future Filmmaker Awards will return for a third edition in 2025, with submissions opening later this year.



The Fiction competition rewards narrative-led submissions that convey an original fictional story or event. The category winner receives a Sony camera and lens kit and a cash prize of more than R90, 000 ($5000 USD).

  • Katie Blair (USA), Imogene – Imogene is a single, free-spirited New Yorker in her 40s, whose traditional family is plotting to get her pregnant by inviting a donor for dinner.


The Non-Fiction category awards short films that are predominantly factual in content, with content that can include archive footage, documentary footage, reenactments and animation. The category winner receives a Sony camera and lens kit and a cash prize of more than R90, 000 ($5000 USD).

  • Olawunmi Hassan & Adaobi Samson (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.


As 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, the Environment category champions films that communicate a positive future for the planet. The category winner receives a Sony camera and lens kit and a cash prize of more than R90, 000 ($5000 USD).

  • 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.


New to this year’s competition, the Animation category embraces filmmakers using stop-motion, motion graphics, computer animation, drawn-on-film, rotoscoping, and experimental animation, as well as additional available techniques. The category winner receives a Sony camera and lens kit and a cash prize of more than R90, 000 ($5000 USD).

  • Kyle Novak (Czech Republic), Ángulos de la Hora (Hour Angle) – After their flight is grounded, two strangers agree to an anonymous trust as their new travel plans are arranged.


The Student category rewards filmmakers studying a film course at a registered institution at a diploma or degree level worldwide. The winner and their institution each receive Sony camera equipment.

  • 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.

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. The category winner receives a range of Sony camera equipment and a cash prize of more than R45, 000 ($2500 USD).

  • 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.


WINNER Katie Blair, USA ImogeneWINNER Olawunmi Hassan & Adaobi Samson, Nigeria Ìrún DídìWINNER Solmund MacPherson, Canada Wildmen of the Greater Toronto Area
SHORTLIST Tan Ce Ding, Malaysia Please Hold the LineSHORTLIST Jean Chapiro, MexicoHasta Encontrarlos (Till We Find Them)SHORTLIST Curtis Essel, Ghana The Permaculturist
Elliott Gonzo & Elliot Warren, UK Hard TimesJordan Matthew Horowitz, USAJack and SamPalmer Morse, USA Usugilix Awakun
Jason Hogan, UKTwentyFlorian Nick, GermanyBeyond HopeAnnie Roth, USA Hellbent
Margareth Villers, EstoniaWhat’s Up With Numbats?Kayla Robinson, USAQuilted EducationMyles Storey, Malaysia Finding Solo

WINNER Kyle Novak, Czech Republic Ángulos de la Hora (Hour Angle)WINNER Raheem Razak, South Africa AFDA, South Africa Anguish WINNER Cristian Daniel, Uruguay PARASOMNIA
SHORTLIST Eva Louise Hall, USA MiraSHORTLIST Natalia Bermúdez, Mexico Centro de Capacitación Cinematográfica (CCC), Mexico ApneaSHORTLIST Muzamil Bhat, India Polite Waters
Radheya Jegatheva, Australia Bird DroneKatniss Tung Cheng, Hong Kong & Salvador Alejandro Gutiérrez, Mexico IADT – Dun Laoghaire Institute Of Art Design + Technology, Ireland Below the WindowRana Ramy, Egypt ABOVE/ZERO
Lisa Kenney, UK Mum’s SpaghettiFarah Jabir, USA New York University, USA KasbiBruno Sena, Brazil Collapse
Paul Robinson, USA Resource:FullMuangthai Sarupkarn, ThailandKing Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Ladkrabang, ThailandStigmaMontgomery Taylor, UKIn The Bag
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