Art & Leisure

Nigerian, five others win UNESCO, Netflix African filmmakers competition

  • To receive US$75,000 production grant

By Onyebuchi Sampson

Nigerian Korede Azeez and five others have emerged winners in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and Netflix groundbreaking short film competition tagged ‘African Folktales, Reimagined.’

Winners of the competition, which ran across sub-Saharan Africa, will receive training and mentorship from industry professionals, The Trumpet gathered.

They will also receive a US$75,000 production grant to create short films that will premiere on Netflix in 2022 as an “Anthology of African folktales”.

The winners was announced yesterday, in a statement by Ayomide Olumide of Hill+Knowlton Strategies , on behalf of the organisers and include Gcobisa Yako from South Africa , Loukman Ali from Uganda, Mohamed Echkouna from Mauritania , Voline Ogutu from Kenya and Tanzanian, Walter Mzengi.

The groundbreaking competition launched by Netflix and UNESCO in October 2021, aimed at promoting diverse local stories and bringing them to the world, entitled: “African Folktales”.

Each winner will receive US$25,000 plus a production budget of US$75,000 to create short films through a local production company and under the guidance of Netflix-appointed supervising producer and industry mentors from across the continent.

The competition was also a step towards creative equity as part of the Netflix creative equity fund, which aimed at enabling new voices from underrepresented communities within entertainment to bring their perspectives to a global audience.

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In his congratulatory message, Director-General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, said the fact that their films will be shown to a global audience is part of our commitment to promote cultural diversity around the world.

According to her, like the African movie sector itself, the winners have a very bright future ahead of them.
She said: “The laureates, and all the participants in this competition more broadly, highlight the rich, diverse and ever-evolving culture that Sub-Saharan Africa has to offer and that UNESCO wants to promote.

“We cannot wait to celebrate these films at a special premier at UNESCO headquarters in Paris at the end of this year.”

For Netflix Director of Content in Africa, Ben Amadasun, the competition has been a truly inspiring journey for many to experience the level of creative talent from our candidates.

“From the thousands of applicants we’ve received to the top 21 and finally, the six winners, it’s evident that Africa is filled with amazing storytelling talent that is ready to share their different perspectives and celebrate Africa’s rich culture and heritage.

“Congratulations to the winners and to emerging filmmakers who didn’t make it. We urge you to continue your passion of telling African stories.

“The world is ready to experience your talent and we at Netflix, will continue to be your biggest cheerleaders in this journey,” he noted.

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