Tag Archives: UNESCO

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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Mohammed seeks UNESCO media aid

Nigeria’s minister of information and culture has appealed to UNESCO for assistance in growing the country’s media industry.

Lai Mohammed

Lai Mohammed made the request during a meeting with UNESCO delegate Mariam Katagum last week, explaining that media in Nigeria has evolved and people no longer rely on traditional media for news or entertainment.

“There is no gain saying that Nigeria rules Africa when it comes to entertainment and, again, we want the assistance of UNESCO in developing more, especially in the area of content,” he said.

“We have so much content and so many stories to tell the world but we need to assist the creative industry in training the filmmakers to improve on their capacity, technically, so that they can tell their stories on a better platform.”

Noting that social media had become a platform for the dissemination of so-called ‘fake news,’ Mohammed said more needed to be done to tackle the spread of misinformation online.

“With the telephone, everyone has become a journalist, opinion-moulder and information disseminator. The outcome is fake news and misinformation, and the government is more on the receiving end. We, therefore, appeal to UNESCO to review its mode of operation and assist in addressing the issue of fake news through social media,’’ Mohammed said.

Social media and the advent of fake news has been on the minds of many professionals in the media industry recently. During a conference held this week, John Momoh, chairman of Broadcasting Organizations of Nigeria and CEO of Channels TV, also addressed the issue.

Speaking at the Social Media Week event, held in Lagos, Momoh said the industry needed well-trained young broadcasters who can use artificial intelligence to increase content quality. “Artificial intelligence is to improve our work and not to add to the problem of unemployment,” he added.

According to Momoh, the spread of fake news can be stopped by relying on trustworthy media outlets. He also said broadcasting companies should play their part by evolving with the times and becoming available on the preferred platforms of their consumers.

“The biggest disruption to the media landscape is that, now, you have to go after the consumers to ensure they get what they want. We have to cast our content on all mobile devices. Because the world is changing, you cannot do things the same way,” he said.

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