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Rising Star Award

The SVFF Rising Star Award recognizes breakthrough talent in the film and television industry.

2020 Honoree

Winston Duke

Winston Duke made his feature film debut in BLACK PANTHER, the highest-grossing film of 2018, as well as the third-highest-grossing film ever in the United States. Duke played the fan-favorite character M’Baku, leader of the Jabari Tribe and eventual valuable ally to King T’Challa.   

Later that year, Duke reprised his role as M’Baku in AVENGER’S: INFINITY WAR. 

Duke’s was most recently seen starring in Jordan Peele’s, US for he received an NAACP Image Award nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Motion Picture.

Duke’s upcoming projects include Peter Berg’s Netflix crime drama SPENCER CONFIDENTIAL, in which he costars with Mark Wahlberg.

Duke has received numerous accolades including the Breakout Award at the 2018 Savannah Film Festival and was highlighted as one of the top ten actors in Hollywood Reporter’s Next Generation issue.

Outside of acting, Duke is an advocate for the HeForShe movement and most recently issued a global call to action for gender equality during the United Nations HeForShe Impact Summit.

He also has joined the American Diabetes Association® to spark a national conversation about diabetes – a disease that impacts nearly half of the U.S. adult population.

A native of Trinidad and Tobago, Duke received his Bachelor of Arts in Theatre at the University at Buffalo and Master of Fine Arts at Yale School of Drama.

Past Recipients

Alex Ross Perry

Alex Ross Perry is an American writer and director, born in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. He studied film at NYU. His feature directorial efforts include The Color Wheel (11), Listen Up Philip (14), Queen of Earth (15), and Golden Exits (17). Her Smell (18) is his latest work.

Yahya Abdul-Mateen

Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, the 2018 recipient of SVFF’s Rising Star Award, broke into Hollywood in the show-stealing role of Cadillac in Baz Luhrman’s HBO series, The Get Down. Since then, he has become known for his roles in The Greatest Showman, Baywatch, and most recently as villain Black Manta in DC’s Aquaman. 

Allison Williams

2017 Rising Star Award Honoree Allison Williams, is and American actress, comedian and singer best known for her role as “Marnie Michaels” on the HBO comedy-drama series, Girls.