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