Young Pakistani filmmaker nominated for Student Oscar Award

Young Pakistani filmmaker nominated for Student Oscar Award

Pakistani filmmaker, Shahnawaz Zali’s documentary ‘100 Steps’ gets a Student Oscar nomination

Young Pakistani director and cinematographer Shahnawaz Zali’s documentary 100 steps – Sau Qadam has been nominated for the Best Film (in the narrative category) for the 43rd Student Academy Awards.

The film, made in 2015, revolves around a young boy who is dragged into suicide bombings.

Shahnawaz Zali is a student director, cinematographer and writer studying at the Northwestern University in Qatar.

The 23-year-old director is “My dream is to win an Oscar. It has to be on the stage, and I want to see the smile on my mother’s face at that moment. Then, I can tell my mother that I’ve finally made it” Shahnawaz shared.

“My film, 100 Steps qualified for the Student Academy Awards at the Oscars. Now I’m waiting to hear whether it gets nominated for an award. If it does, that will be my first step towards completing my dream” he exclaimed.

Sharing his excitement on social about his film’s nomination, he said:

Explaining the idea behind his recent film, Zali said “I think my film can have both positive and negative impact, depends on how people view it. The reason why I touched on this topic is because for a nation to progress, we need to accept that there is a problem in our society. If we keep on shying away from certain topics, we’ll never be able to change and progress as a nation.”

“Pakistan has so much talent, so many skills, and so many amazing people, this is the time we actually come forward and bring a change in the society,” Zali said in an interview about what impact of the film will have the audience in Pakistan.

Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, an Oscar winner congratulated young filmmaker Shahnawaz on twitter on his achievement:

Shahnawaz hails from Lahore and cultivated a love of cinema in his teens. His first major film, Muhammad, is based on the story of a Syrian boy who was killed for blasphemy. The film is a re-imagined story set in Zali’s home country of Pakistan. Muhammad has been showcased in three international film festivals and earned Zali two NU-Q Student Media Awards, one for best picture and one for best cinematography.

The 23-year-old director wants to make films that make people think, and touch people emotionally because according to him:

“An article speaks 500 words, a picture speaks 1000, but I believe a film speaks a million.”

Student Academy Awards ceremony will be held on September 22, 2016.

Official trailer of Sou Qadam – 100 Steps

Complete list of nominees for the Student Academy Awards


Pengpeng Du, “Cage,” Pratt Institute

Aemilia Widodo, “Last Shot,” Ringling College of Art and Design

Alicja Jasina, “Once Upon a Line,” USC

Bob Yong and Kang Yung Ho, “The Controller,” Ringling College of Art and Design

Carter Boyce, “Die Flucht (“The Escape”), DePaul University

Hannah Roman, “The Moon is Essentially Gray,” School of Visual Arts

Echo Wu, “The Wishgranter,” Ringling College of Art and Design


David Henry Gerson, “All These Voices,” AFI

Yvonne Ng, “Cloud Kumo,” City College of New York

Kevin Rios, “Made of Sugar,” NYU

Scott Thompson, “Nova Initia,” Art Institute of Colorado

Johnny Coffeen, “The Swan Girl,” Maharishi University of Management


Daphne Matziaraki, “4.1 Miles,” UC Berkeley

Rongfei Guo, “Fairy Tales,” NYU

Elise Conklin, “FROM FLINT: Voices from a Poisoned City,” Michigan State University

Ceylan Carhoglu and Nicole Jordan-Webber, “Gardeners of the Forest,” Chapman University

Caroline Cuny and Bryan Campbell, “Looking for Trouble,” Wake Forest University

Max Good, “The Assassin and Mrs. Paine,” Stanford University

Melina Tupa, “The Search,” UC Berkeley


Shahnawaz Zali, “100 Steps,” Northwestern University

Halima Lucas, “Amelia’s Closet,” USC

Williams Naranjo, “A New Civilization,” NYU

Brian Robau, “It’s Just a Gun,” Chapman University

Chloe Aktas, “Mutt,” NYU

Jimmy Keyrouz, “Nocturne in Black,” Columbia University

Brenna Malloy, “Rocket,” Chapman University

Foreign Narrative

Hajni Kis, “Beautiful Figure,” University of Theatre and Film Arts, Budapest (Hungary)

Judita Gamulin, “Flowers,” Academy of Dramatic Art, University of Zagreb (Croatia)

Alexander Turpin, “Generation Mars,” Norwegian Film School (Norway)

Alex Schaad, “Invention of Trust,” University of Television and Film Munich (Germany)

Ondrej Hudecek, “Peacock,” Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (Czech Republic)

Klara Kochanska,”Tenants,” The Polish National Film Television and Theatre School (Poland)

Felix Ahrens, “Where the Woods End,” Filmuniversity Babelsberg KONRAD WOLF (Germany)

Foreign Animation

Ahmad Saleh, “Ayny – My Second Eye,” Academy of Media Arts Cologne (Germany)

Steve Bache and Mahyar Goudarzi, “Eye for an Eye,” Film Academy Baden-Württemberg-(Germany)

Arisbek Nuhan, “I Come From Prairie,” Beijing Film Academy (China)

Foreign Documentary

Johannes Östergård, “Tarfala,” University of Television and Film Munich (Germany)

Maya Sarfaty, “The Most Beautiful Woman,” The Steve Tisch School of Film and Television at Tel Aviv University (Israel)

Tamar Kay, “The Mute’s House,” The Jerusalem Sam Spiegel Film School (Israel)

About Salma Khalid

Salma is a passionate writer, ardent reader and friendly teacher. She enjoys writing and spends time daily reading everything from education to technology to business. She writes about ideas and issues that matter and make us better in some way. She can be reached at:
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