Netflix, UNESCO Launch Africa Short Film Competition

Netflix and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) have launched a short film competition on the theme “African Folktales, Reimagined” across Sub-Saharan Africa.

Six competition winners will be trained and mentored by industry professionals and provided with a $75,000 production budget through a local production company to create short films that will premiere on Netflix in 2022 as an “Anthology of African folktales.” In addition, each of the six winners will also receive $25,000 in cash.

The competition is aimed at discovering new voices and 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,” Netflix and UNESCO said in a statement.

The competition, which will be administered by consulting firm Dalberg, runs Oct. 14-Nov. 14. It is open to emerging filmmakers across Sub-Saharan Africa. For the first round, applicants are required to submit a synopsis of no more than 500 words of their concept, as well as links to a recent CV and a portfolio of any past audiovisual work they have produced. Applications can be submitted here from Oct. 14, 16:00 CET.

The partnership will also help create sustainable employment and encourage economic growth and help reduce inequalities by facilitating access to global markets and by guaranteeing dignified working conditions. These are all metrics contributing to 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.

“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,” said Audrey Azoulay, director general, UNESCO.

“Growing up, entertainment was how I connected with people. I fell in love with the stories and characters I saw on screen and experienced how storytelling has the power to inspire, which is why I’m excited about this partnership with UNESCO and the opportunities ahead,” said Ted Sarandos, co-CEO and chief content officer, Netflix. “Together we will promote local cultures and support the creative industries in telling stories that cross borders, reflect universal truths, and ultimately, bring us together.”

“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,” said Ben Amadasun, director of content in Africa, Netflix.

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