Netflix, UNESCO’s African short winners
Global streaming platform Netflix and the United Nations Educational, Scientific & Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) have announced the six winners of the short-film competition themed African Folktales, Reimagined.
They include Korede Azeez from Nigeria, Mohamed Echkouna from Mauritania, Walt Mzengi from Tanzania, Voline Ogutu from Kenya, Gcobisa Yako from South Africa and Loukman Ali from Uganda.
According to the streaming platform, each winner will receive US$25,000 plus a production budget of US$75,000 to create short films through a local production company and under the guidance of Netflix-appointed supervising producer and industry mentors from across the continent.
The winners will then go into the development phase of their projects, before starting production on the short films that will eventually premiere on Netflix as part of an anthology of African folktales due to screen later in the year.
Audrey Azoulay, director-general of UNESCO, said: “Congratulations to the six winners! The fact that their films will be shown to a global audience is part of our commitment to promote cultural diversity around the world.
“Like the African movie sector itself, these six individuals have a very bright future ahead of them. The laureates, and all the participants in this competition more broadly, highlight the rich, diverse and ever-evolving culture that sub-Saharan Africa has to offer and that UNESCO wants to promote. We cannot wait to celebrate these films at a special premier at UNESCO headquarters in Paris at the end of this year.
“It’s been a truly inspiring journey for us to experience the level of creative talent from our candidates. From the thousands of applicants we’ve received to the top 21 and, finally, the six finalists, it’s evident that Africa is filled with amazing storytelling talent that is ready to share their different perspectives and celebrate Africa’s rich culture and heritage.”
Ben Amadasun, Netflix’s director of content in Africa, said: “Congratulations to the winners, and to emerging filmmakers who didn’t make it, we urge you to continue your passion of telling African stories. The world is ready to experience your talent and we at Netflix will continue to be your biggest cheerleaders in this journey.”
The competition was launched by Netflix and UNESCO in October 2021, with the goal of promoting diverse local stories and bringing them to the world.
The competition was also a step towards creative equity as part of the Netflix Creative Equity Fund, which aims to enable new voices from underrepresented communities within entertainment to bring their perspectives to a global audience.