South African filmmaker Phumi Morare’s short film has been shortlisted for an Oscar


By Mduduzi Malinga

Phumi Morare’s short film titled LAKUTSHON’ ILANGA (when the sun sets), has been shortlisted for an Academy Award popularly known as the ‘Oscars’. The short film shares a true story of a young black nurse, living in the 1980’s apartheid South Africa, who has to face her worse fear when she discovers that her young brother, who is an activist and may be in danger.

The short film, which was inspired by something that happened to her mother when she saw her brother being abducted by apartheid police, the film begins with documentary-style footage showing violence against South Africans who were oppressed during apartheid. It pays tribute to the lives lost during that period.

The 94th Academy Awards ceremony, presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), will honour the best films released between March 1 and December 31, 2021, and is scheduled to take place in Los Angeles, California, on March 27, 2022. They acknowledge artistic and technical merit in the film industry and they are regarded by many as the most prestigious and significant awards in the entertainment industry worldwide.

Phumi Morare is a writer, director based in Los Angeles, California. She studied a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Film Directing at Chapman University in California. She currently freelances as a strategist at Statement Films in Los Angeles, a company that nurtures female filmmakers.

Phumi has been in several American film festivals including the Telluride Film Festival in Berkeley, California, and the American Black Film Festival.

The short film ‘Lakutshona ilanga’ won a gold medal at the 2021 student academic awards. It also won the 2021 HBO Short Film Competition at the 2021 American Black Film Festival. In addition, it has been shortlisted for a 2022 Academy Award in the Live Action Short Film category.

Phumi’s goal is to be an international filmmaker who tells African stories on the global stage and in addition, she is passionate about redeeming the African and the feminine identity in cinema.

“I wanted Lakutshona Ilanga Short Film to be a tribute to black mothers in South Africa who had to overcome impossible challenges to help many of us to thrive, and I’m so thrilled that my film made it onto the Oscars nomination list,” says Phumi Morare

Brand South Africa is delighted with Phumi’s film nomination where she joins the list of South Africans in film such as Charlize Theron, Craig Foster, Neil Blomkamp, and Gavin Hood, who have featured at the Academy Awards over the years.

It is moments like these that are a proud reminder of what this country is capable of and showcase proof points that we can hold our own against the best in the world.