Dodge College of Film and Media Arts alumna Phumi Morare (MFA Film Directing, 2020), has won the Gold Medal for narrative short film at the Student Academy Awards®. 

The recent graduate was awarded the top prize (the equivalent of a student Oscar®) for Lakutshon’ Ilanga (When the Sun Sets), about a nurse trying to protect her family during South Africa’s brutal apartheid era. 

View the trailer for Lakutshon’ Ilanga (When the Sun Sets) here.

“We were already so honored that our film was a finalist for this award, so being a winner is surreal, and we are so grateful,” said Morare. “It’s a special moment for us because making this film was extremely challenging. Not only did we face typical production issues, but we also had to do an international shoot with the pandemic looming. In addition, we did post-production over zoom across a nine-hour time difference, because I was stuck in South Africa when the country shut the airport. I’m grateful to my team, who had the tenacity to push forward and complete the film. I’m also thankful to the faculty at Dodge College, who supported us throughout the journey to realize this film.”

View Phumi Morare’s Student Academy Award acceptance speech here.

“This is a gigantic victory for Phumi and for our film school — the first time we’ve won the Student Academy Award for a narrative short,” said Stephen Galloway, Dean of Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts. “Lakutshon’ Ilanga is a beautiful cinematic odyssey through a horrific time in Phumi’s home country. I’m so proud of her, our faculty and the Academy for recognizing this story — especially in a year when diversity is being widely embraced and barriers are being demolished by women and people of color.” 

Lakutshon’ Ilanga was recently selected to screen at the prestigious Telluride Film Festival and was a nominee for a student BAFTA award. Morare’s Gold Medal makes her film eligible for the Short Film Oscar®. Sixty-three winners of the Gold Medal have gone on to be Oscar®-nominated and 11 winners have won the Oscar® itself. 

Dodge College of Film and Media Arts at Chapman University last won a Gold Medal at the Student Academy Awards® for Daniel Drummond’s Chiaroscuro (2015), in the “Alternative” category. 

Visit Phumi Morare’s official website for additional information.