Tag Archives: Ben Amadasun

Netflix, UNESCO unveil short-film contest

Global streaming service Netflix and UNESCO have collaborated to launch a groundbreaking short-film competition themed African Folktales, Reimagined across sub-Saharan Africa.

Audrey Azoulay

The aim is to discover new voices, give emerging filmmakers in sub-Saharan Africa visibility on a global scale and help them find the right resources to enable them to fully unleash their talents and develop their creative careers.

The competition will be administered by consulting firm Dalberg and, according to Netflix, the six winners will be trained and mentored by industry professionals. They will be provided with a US$75,000 production budget to create short films that will premiere on Netflix in 2022 as an Anthology of African folktales and they will also receive US$25,000.

Emerging filmmakers across sub-Saharan Africa can apply here. For the first round, applicants will be required to submit a synopsis of their concept in no more than 500 words as well as links to a recent CV and a portfolio or evidence of any past audiovisual work they have produced.

UNESCO and Netflix said they strongly believe in the importance of promoting diverse local stories and bringing them to the world, and that this partnership will help create sustainable employment and encourage economic growth, thereby contributing to the achievement of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. It will also help reduce inequalities by facilitating access to global markets and guaranteeing dignified working conditions.

Ben Amadasun, director of content in Africa for Netflix, added: “Africa has a rich storytelling heritage and a wealth of folktales that have been passed down for generations. When you marry these very local stories with Africa’s emerging talent, there’s no limit to fresh new stories to connect people with African cultures and bring the world that much closer to each other.”

Audrey Azoulay, director-general at UNESCO, said: “The film sector must ensure that the creativity of Africa is promoted by supporting young talents and making sure that African filmmakers contribute to the international film industry.”

“This competition puts a global spotlight on the emerging, homegrown talents of Africa while honouring the storytelling tradition of the continent,” added Ernesto Ottone assistant director-general for culture at UNESCO.

“By infusing new energy into the folktales, these young filmmakers enable these stories to transcend time, space and culture – from their communities, through a digital platform, into the hearts of audiences around the world.”

The competition is open until 13.59 CET on November 14.

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Netflix backs $1.9m SA film deal

Global streaming platform Netflix has partnered with Johannesburg-based National Film & Video Foundation (NFVF) to invest US$1.9m in the production of South African micro-budget feature films.

Ben Amadasun

The move is aimed at supporting the South African film industry’s recovery from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic as well as alleviate the pressure filmmakers face in raising additional funding and ensure job creation.

SA publication Business Tech noted that each partner will contribute R14m (US$950,000) towards the production of local films that will receive exclusive debuts on Netflix.

The partnership will entail the funding of six local films including four by emerging filmmakers with budgets capped at R4m and two feature films by established filmmakers capped at R6m.

Ben Amadasun, Netflix’s director of content in Africa, said: “The past year has been incredibly difficult with the pandemic hitting so many industries around the world. The creative community that we are a part of has supported us through the good times so we want to help them continue to create the stories our members love. Now we’re excited to take this a step further with this joint fund with NFVF for above-the-line talent.”

NFVF CEO Makhosazana Khanyile added: “The inclusion of digital platforms into our traditional processes can only profit the industry further. We hope that this is a start of a long and fruitful relationship.”

The submission portal for funding will go live on April 1 and all filmmakers can apply here in accordance with the eligibility criteria.

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Netflix debuts Made in Africa collection

Netflix’s Made in Africa collection

Netflix has launched its Made in Africa collection, a curated list of African series, films and docs aimed at celebrating Africa Month and showing the streamer’s commitment to the continent and its creatives.

Lovers of African stories will be able to watch more than 100 titles of older licensed films and shows as well as Netflix originals including Queen Sono, Jerusalema, King of Boys, Lionheart, Mokalik, Oscar-winning Tsotsi, Uncovered, The Wedding Party and Tjovitjo, plus documentaries like Leonardo DiCaprio’s The Ivory Game and Oscar-nominated Virunga.

Ben Amadasun, director of licensing and coproductions for Africa at Netflix, said: “This collection includes Queen Sono – our first Netflix original series – and as well as films like Catching Feelings, Chief Daddy, 93 Days and Merry Men. We hope that by making these ‘Made in Africa’ titles easily available we will help ensure they are watched around the world.”

The Made in Africa collection is now available at netflix.com/madeinafrica.

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