The shortlist for the Sony Future Filmmaker Awards 2023 has been announced. In its first year, the awards competition notably has an environment category and awards for a competition open to short films exclusively shot on smartphones.

The shortlisted stories range from the personal account of a survivor of the Pinochet regime, to an Afro-futuristic fairytale of love, from an indigenous community in the threatened rainforest of British Columbia, to the horror-fantasy of a young boy trapped inside the body of a zombie.

The six winners will be announced on 22 February 2023, who will be rewarded with cash prizes, a range of Sony’s Digital Imaging equipment and a three-day industry immersion experience led by Sony Pictures executives.

Sony Future Filmmaker Awards 2023 shortlist:

Fiction category:

Dumas Haddad Sony Future Filmmaker Awards 2023 shortlist

© Dumas Haddad, United Kingdom, Flowers, Shortlist, Fiction, Sony Future Filmmaker Awards 2023.

  • Dumas Haddad (UK), Flowers – An Afro-futuristic fairytale of love following a ceremony of a mother giving away her son (pictured above).
  • Saul Abraham (UK), ENJOY – A touching, offbeat exploration of the ways in which depression manifests in men across different generations.
  • Dan Thorburn (UK), Salt Water Town – With the threat of closure looming over a failing caravan park, the owner and his son clash over their future with tragic consequences.
  • Joy Webster (Canada), Menace – A drama about a woman seeking revenge against her ex-boyfriend, a well-known TV presenter.
  • Ka Ki Wong (Hong Kong), Fire Room – In a staggered time and space, an unusual relationship unfolds between a pair of siblings – one an arsonist, the other a firefighter.

Non-Fiction category:

Alfie Barker Sony Future Filmmaker Awards 2023 shortlist

© Alfie Barker, United Kingdom, Hanging On, Shortlist, Non-Fiction, Sony Future Filmmaker Awards 2023.

  • Alfie Barker (UK), Hanging On – A docudrama about the struggles of a housing community faced with eviction (pictured above).
  • Horacio Cabilla (Spain), This Is My Reason – The stories of three cyclists using the sport to overcome personal losses and setbacks.
  • Julianna Jimreivat (USA), Letting Go of the Grade – As four women travel to Mexico for a climbing expedition, they explore their relationship to the practice and open up about their personal challenges.
  • Daniela Lucato (Italy), The Things You Don’t Know About Me, Mom – A survivor of the Pinochet regime in Chile imagines telling her mother all of the things that she didn’t want to know.
  • Juan Vicente Manrique Gomez (Venezuela), No Te Agüites (Don’t Worry) – In an indigenous town threatened by criminal groups, firearms have become part of everyday life for the local children who are forced to help watch over their community.

Environment category:

The Environment category is run in association with Sony Pictures Television’s “Picture This” initiative, which champions creativity that communicates a positive future for the planet. 

Pedro Furtado Sony Future Filmmaker Awards 2023 shortlist

© Pedro Furtado, Brazil, The Good Dolphins, Shortlist, Environment, Sony Future Filmmaker Awards 2023.

  • Pedro Furtado (Brazil), The Good Dolphins – Fishermen in Brazil fight to save a pod of dolphins who have helped them catch fish across generations (pictured above).
  • Austin Smock (USA), The Beauty Between – A wildlife photographer raises awareness about the threats facing the ten million birds living on the Great Salt Lake in Utah.
  • Alexander Sworik (Canada), Seawolf – Two indigenous men look to preserve their heritage and save the Great Bear Rainforest in British Columbia.
  • Joaquín Ezequiel Tucci (Argentina), Despertólogo Ambiental – A documentary following Gastón Caminata, a climate activist who reminds us about the impact of humans on the planet and that change that depends on us.
  • Thanh Tran (Vietnam), The Voice of the Wind – As humanity is losing touch with nature, the wind is talking to us… Is anyone listening?

Sony Future Filmmaker Awards 2023 student shortlist:

Fiction category:

Alisha Mehra Sony Future Filmmaker Awards 2023 student shortlist

© Alisha Mehra, Australia, Match Point, Shortlist, Student, Fiction, Sony Future Filmmaker Awards 2023.

  • Alisha Mehra (Australia), Swinburne University of Technology, Australia, Match Point – Two first-generation Australians compete at an annual badminton competition – one for his mother’s approval, the other for the prize money to help pay his mother’s medical bills (pictured above).
  • Juan Pablo Daranas Molina (Cuba), New York University Tisch School of the Arts, USA, The Confirmation – A biologist opposes her daughter’s attempt to cure her disease through spiritual healing.
  • Theo-Ziny Joel (Nigeria), National Film Institute, Nigeria, Read My Body – A father preparing for war warns his son, who wants to be a warrior like him, about the impact of war and teaches him to seek peace instead.
  • Mateo Salas (Colombia, Universidad de Antioquia, Colombia), The Sun of the River – A family’s journey takes a troubling turn when they are stopped by a group of paramilitaries.
  • Pietro Venier (Italy, University of West London, UK), The Hook – An Italian teenager is faced with a dilemma: should he stay in his hometown with his best friend and family, or accept a job on a distant island fated to disappear under rising sea levels.

Non-Fiction category:

Catalina Fonseca Arango Sony Future Filmmaker Awards 2023 student shortlist

© Catalina Fonseca Arango, Colombia, Stories of a Dancing Mind, Shortlist, Student, Non-Fiction, Sony Future Filmmaker Awards 2023.

  • Catalina Fonseca Arango (Colombia), Corporación Universitaria Taller 5, Colombia, Stories of a Dancing Mind – A documentary about a dancer charting her thoughts, experiences and deepest reflections (pictured above).
  • Shiao-ya (Maggie) Huang (Taiwan), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, Farewell Chang Chun – In a building in Taipei due to be demolished, the family who made it their home say goodbye through the sharing of stories, memories and emotions.
  • Seonghoon Eric Park (Republic of Korea), Boston University, USA, In Cod We Trust – A film probing the endangered fishing trade in the New England town of Gloucester, home to one of the oldest and largest fishing communities in the USA.
  • Lubeera Saphina (Uganda), Kampala University, Uganda, Ghetto Fist – Faced with challenges and following a sexual assault, a female boxer trains and finds inspiration in her sport.
  • Ishan Vaidya (India), The University of Salford, UK, Puffin Island – Every spring and summer the island of Skokholm in the Celtic Sea is witness to one of the greatest wildlife gatherings in Britain with the return of a huge flock of puffins.

Sony Future Filmmaker Awards 2023 Future Format shortlist:

The Future Format competition challenges filmmakers to respond to a new technical brief each year. This year submissions were to be exclusively shot on a smartphone. 

Jacob Redman Sony Future Filmmaker Awards 2023 shortlist

© Jacob Redman, United Kingdom, Subversive, Shortlist, Future Format, Sony Future Filmmaker Awards 2023.

  • Jacob Redman (UK), Subversive – An American artist living in a disused winery in the South of France leads the viewer through his studio and his creative process (pictured above).
  • Jose Jacob (India), My India – A bike ride on the border of India juxtaposed with a phone conversation about identity and nationalism between two friends.
  • Ria Nalavade (India), Magic Eraser – A schoolchild with a new eraser discovers that it rubs out all the lines that divide the country of India.
  • Ginna Parra (Colombia), Filtros (Filters) – A ten-year-old boy trapped inside the body of a zombie feels ostracized, but through social media discovers a less superficial world.
  • Pan Tianhong (China Mainland), Homework for Winter Vacation – A child making sweet dumplings in preparation for the Chinese New Year completes his task in a very creative manner.

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