Thabo Bruno Mokoena feels even more inspired after the success of his film Soul Train, which recently won Best Photography Award at the Sichuan TV Awards in China.

"I must now work even harder to achieve better standards and become more skilled in the craft of filmmaking," he comments.

Sadly, the award was presented in the 23 year-old filmmaker's absence as he had no funding to travel to China to accept the award, his first for the film, which has already been screened in a couple of film festivals, including the opening of the Encounters Film Festival 2009.

Mokoena attributes the award to how he structured the film, its content exploring the diversity of people who travel by train every day to work, bringing their different cultures and beliefs with them. The story is told in the form of a single journey from Soweto to Johannesburg, with the camera jumping from one coach to the next and giving a feel of everyday commuter life.

One of the greatest challenges during filming Soul Train was "how to get the story right as I had too much content and minimum time to deliver!"

The former Big Fish School of Digital Filmmaking student is currently working on Big Brother Africa as a vision controller and learning how to direct a multi-cam shoot. In between, he's working on other new ideas and pitching for funding.

"Without Big Fish, I would have never won the award. I had experienced tutors like Tracy Clayton, Jacques Pauw and Khalo Matabane, among others, who all gave me expert advice that I continue to apply today," he says.

The young filmmaker enjoys directing documentaries and fiction filmmaking. "I like to tell a story but also get a message across from my own point of view."

He stresses that emerging filmmakers "must have confidence in their ideas, believe in their crew and, most importantly, have fun and enjoy every minute of it, because there is no point in doing a project you are not passionate about."

His concern is that the South African film industry is not doing enough to assist young filmmakers.

"I don't believe that the film industry is doing a good job of accommodating budding filmmakers. For example, I survive by working for other film factories to get more experience and then with the money I earn, I shoot my own projects."