Netflix and the UNESCO have partnered to launch a short film competition themed African Folktales, Reimagined across Sub-Saharan Africa. Winners of the competition will be trained and mentored by industry professionals and provided with a Ksh. 8,317,500 (USD 75,000) production budget.

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.

The provided production funds will be used to create short films that will premiere on Netflix in 2022 as an Anthology of African folktales.

A key aim the competition is to discover new voices and to give emerging filmmakers in Sub-Saharan Africa visibility on a global scale. The competition will open on 14 October, 2021 until 14 November, 2021. Each of the 6 winners will receive a production grant of Ksh. Ksh. 8,317,500 (USD 75,000) through a local production company to develop, shoot and post-produce their films under the guidance of industry mentors. The mentors will be selected by UNESCO and Netflix to ensure everyone involved in the production is fairly compensated.

Each of the 6 winners will also receive Ksh. 2,772,500 ($25,000).

This partnership further aims to help create sustainable employment and encourage economic growth. This film competition will also help reduce inequalities by facilitating access to global markets and by guaranteeing dignified working conditions.

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

Applications can be submitted HERE from October 14th at 1600h CET and will close on November 14th, 2021 at 1359h CET.

Commenting on the competition, Audrey Azoulay, Director-General UNESCO said, “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.”

On his part, Ted Sarandos, Co-CEO and Chief Content Officer at Netflix said, “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.”

Eligibility Criteria

  1. The competition is open to individuals seeking to venture into feature film development and production.
  2. Applicants must have a minimum of 2 years and a maximum of 5 years of demonstrable professional experience in the audio-visual industry.
  3. Applicants must have developed and produced 1 to 2 theatrical feature films, television fiction, documentaries, or 2-3 short films and/or commercials.
  4. Candidates must be a citizen of a Sub-Saharan African country and currently residing in Sub-Saharan Africa to apply.
  5. Applicants must be 18-35 years old at the time of submission.

The shortlisted 20 candidates will be announced in January and will then be invited to a How to Pitch to Netflix workshop to guide them on how to prepare, polish, and present their film concepts. An independent judging panel, under the guidance of UNESCO and Netflix, will choose the six winners, who will then develop their 12 to 20-minute short films under the guidance of industry mentors selected by Netflix and UNESCO.