Netflix and Unesco have just unveiled the 21 shortlisted candidates who could go on to win the short film competition, African Folktales Reimagined. More than 2,080 applicants entered the competition from all over Africa, hoping to be one of the six lucky winners to have their film proposal selected to appear on Netflix.
The shortlisted candidates will now go onto the next phase of the competition where they will have to pitch their ideas to a panel of judges. They include Femi Odugbemi from Nigeria, South Africa’s Bongiqeye Selane, Leila Afua Djansi from Ghana, David Tosh Gitonga from Kenya and Jean Luc Herbulot from the Republic of Congo. The judges will also be the successful candidate's mentors and will help guide them through the production process.
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The 21 shortlisted candidates are from 13 different regions in Africa including Uganda, Botswana, Tanzania, Cameroon and Zambia. Usually, just 20 candidates would be selected to get through to the judge's panel but this year the quality of submissions was so high it couldn’t be narrowed down. Six lucky winners will receive a production grant of $75,000 in order to develop, shoot and edit their short films with the guidance of Netflix and leading industry mentors. Each of the six winners will also receive a further $25,000 for personal use.
Ernesto Ottone R., assistant director-general for content at UNESCO said, "Congratulations to those who have been shortlisted! They should all be proud of the quality of their work, This competition showcases the extraordinary cultural richness that Africa has to offer that we want to share with people all over the world as Africa is a priority for Unesco”
Following a workshop on how to pitch to Netflix, the six finalists will be announced sometime in February. The winners will then spend the next five months developing, shooting and producing their short films which are to be premiered on Netflix in September.
The collaboration between Netflix and UNESCO came about due to a shared belief in the importance of promoting diverse local stories to a worldwide audience. By recognizing that many emerging filmmakers might struggle to find the right resources to unlock their talent Netflix and UNESCO have provided a platform for youth filmmakers to develop their creative careers.
African folktales are stories that originate in Africa and are handed down from generation to generation as a way of passing on culture and heritage. The aim of this competition is to hone in on the importance of traditions while providing a modern platform for people to distribute content.