Cape Town filmmaker Ian Morgan has won the Jury Prize in the SundanceTV Shorts competition for his short film Good Mourning. This win takes Morgan, the first South African to win the prize, to London next week, where the film will premiere at the Sundance Film Festival: London, which runs from May 31 to June 3.
"I am so honoured. When I got the mail, I went into shock because my intent for making the film was never to win awards, it was more of a passion project.
"One of the lead actors had seen the competition and told me to enter," said Morgan.
Good Mourning, shot on an extremely low budget, is a dark comedy about Ted, a professional mourner, who loves his job to death. However, a character, Sandrine, questions his morals and ethical standpoint, and the conversation takes an unlikely turn.
The film will also be broadcast on SundanceTV (DStv channel 108) later this year.
Victoria Spitalieri, the marketing director of AMC Networks International, said: "We're incredibly excited to broadcast Ian Morgan's film on SundanceTV Global later this year as well as to premiere (it) at an event during the Sundance Film Festival: London.
"We'd like to thank all of the SA film-makers who submitted entries... (the) competition offers a unique platform to showcase the creativity of emerging film-makers."
Commenting on the film, Mike Plante, senior programmer for the film festival and president of the jury for the competition, said: "(It) is funny and compelling yet unexpectedly poignant. It makes great use of a very creative story idea and a pair of immediately engaging characters."
For Morgan, the self-funded film was a challenge "to prove to myself I can create interesting and engaging characters and direct actors in a simple scenario".