Scene from 'Keteke', a comedy film by the Ghanaian Peter Kofi Sedufia. One key aim of this competition is to discover new voices and to give emerging filmmakers in sub-Saharan Africa visibility on a global scale/Photo: Screenshot

Netflix and UNESCO launch short film competition for African filmmakers

Netflix and UNESCO have partnered to launch an innovative short film competition on ‘African Folktales, Reimagined’ across sub-Saharan Africa. Winners of the competition will be trained and mentored by industry professionals and provided with a $75,000 production budget to create short films that will premiere on Netflix in 2022 as an “Anthology of African folktales”.

One key aim of this competition is to discover new voices and to give emerging filmmakers in sub-Saharan Africa visibility on a global scale. We want to find the bravest, wittiest, and most surprising retellings of some of Africa’s most-loved folktales and share them with entertainment fans around the world in over 190 countries.

The competition, which will be administered by Dalberg, will open on 14 October 2021 until 14 November 2021. Each of the six winners will receive a production grant of $75,000 (through a local production company) to develop, shoot and post-produce their films under the guidance of industry mentors selected by UNESCO and Netflix to ensure everyone involved in the production is fairly compensated. In addition, each of the six winners will also receive $25,000.

Promoting local content

UNESCO and Netflix both strongly believe in the importance of promoting diverse local stories, and bringing them to the world. They recognize that many emerging filmmakers struggle with finding the right resources and visibility to enable them to fully unleash their talents and develop their creative careers. This competition aims to address these issues and enable African storytellers to take a first step towards showcasing their content to a global audience.

This partnership will also help create sustainable employment and encourage economic growth and it will therefore contribute to the achievement of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, a series of targets established by the United Nations which aims to end global poverty in all its forms by the end of this decade. This film competition will also help reduce inequalities by facilitating access to global markets and by guaranteeing dignified working conditions. All of these are key goals within the 2030 Agenda.

The competition is open to emerging filmmakers across sub-Saharan Africa on the theme of “African Folktales, Reimagined.”

Folktales have always been an important way of passing on culture, heritage, and values to future generations, while constantly inviting people to reimagine their relevance to our contemporary societies. This theme is inspired by African Union 2063 Agenda’s Aspiration 5, which celebrates African cultural identity, common heritage, values, and ethics. This competition aims to harness this important tradition with a modern outlook while leveraging new mediums of distributing artistic and creative content, like Netflix.

For the first round, applicants will be required to submit a synopsis of their concept (no more than 500 words) as well as links to a recent CV and a portfolio/ evidence of any past audiovisual work they have produced.

Applications can be submitted via www.netflix-growcreative.com/unesco from 14 October at 16:00 CAT and will close on 14 November 2021 at 13:59 PM CET.

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