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Netflix, UNESCO in Search of Next Generation of Filmmakers in Africa

Netflix and UNESCO have partnered to launch a 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 US$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. The competition is in search of the bravest, wittiest, and most surprising retellings of some of Africa’s most-loved folktales and shares them with entertainment fans around the world in over 190 countries.

It is important that the film sector acts to ensure the voices of Africa are heard, by supporting the emergence of diverse cultural expressions, putting forth new ideas and emotions, and creating opportunities for creators to contribute to global dialogue for peace, culture, and development.

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Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO Director-General said: “The competition, which will be administered by Dalberg, will open on 14 October 2021 until 14 November 2021. Each of the 6 winners 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. In addition, each of the 6 winners will also receive $25,000.”

Ted Sarandos, Co-CEO and Chief Content Officer, Netflix: “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. 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.”

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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 competition puts a global spotlight on the emerging, homegrown talents of Africa while honouring the storytelling tradition of the continent. By infusing new energy into folktales, these young filmmakers enable stories to transcend time, space and culture – from their communities, through a digital platform, into the hearts of audiences around the world.

Ben Amadasun, Netflix Director of Content in Africa: “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 is no limit to fresh new stories to connect people with African cultures and bring the world much closer to each other.”

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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 October 14th at 16:00 CET and will close on November 14th, 2021 at 13:59 PM CET.

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