Global streaming platform Netflix and the United Nations Educational, Scientific & Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) have shortlisted 21 filmmakers who will take part in a short film competition themed African Folktales, Reimagined.
The 21 African filmmakers from 13 countries were selected following an evaluation process by a wide range of industry professionals from across the continent.
They are Nosa Igbinedion, Tongryang Pantu, Anita Abada and Akorede Azeez from Nigeria; Ebot Tanyi and Anne Catherine Tchokonté from Cameroon; Loukman Ali from Uganda; Walt Mzengi from Tanzania; Venance Soro and Nader Fakhry from Ivory Coast; Noni Ireri, Oprah Oyugi and Voline Ogutu from Kenya; Volana Razafimanantsoa from Madagascar; Mohamed Echkouna from Mauritania; Mphonyana Mokokwe from Botswana; Samuel Kanyama from Zambia; Machérie Ekwa-Bahango from the Democratic Republic of the Congo; Ndiyathemba Modibedi and Gcobisa Yako from South Africa; and Katya Aragão from São Tomé and Príncipe.
They will pitch their stories to a judging panel featuring the following mentors: Nigeria’s Femi Odugbemi, South Africa’s Bongiwe Selane, Leila Afua Djansi from Ghana, David Tosh Gitonga from Kenya, and Jean Luc Herbulot from the Republic of Congo. Representatives from Netflix and UNESCO will also be on the panel.
The 21 filmmakers will then be whittled down to a final six who will receive a production grant of US$75,000 (through a local production company) to develop, shoot and post-produce their films under the guidance of Netflix and industry mentors to ensure everyone involved in the production is fairly compensated. They will also receive US$25,000.
Ernesto Ottone Ramírez, UNESCO assistant director-general for culture, said: “Congratulations to those who have been shortlisted! They should all be proud of the quality of their work. This competition showcases the extraordinary cultural richness that Africa has to offer that we want to share with people all over the world, as Africa is a priority for UNESCO.”
Ben Amadasun, Netflix director of content in Africa, added: “We also want to thank our panel of independent industry professionals who undertook the mammoth task to read over 2,080 applications until they found 21 strong submissions.
“The response from all the aspiring filmmakers who took time to submit their application also proves that there’s a wealth of storytelling potential and talent in Africa, and we at Netflix are excited to be part of this journey for more talented new voices to share their stories with the world.”
Both Netflix and UNESCO said they strongly believe in the importance of promoting diverse local stories and bringing them to the world. This competition is a step towards enabling these storytellers to showcase their content to a global audience, they added.