Netflix in collaboration with the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) is searching for storytellers from the sub-Saharan Africa region to enter a short-film contest where six finalists will have their films made on a production budget of US$75,000 and will premiere on Netflix in 2022.

“We believe that a great story can come from anywhere and be loved everywhere. Africa has a rich heritage of storytelling and a young population that is ready to step up and tell Africa’s stories, in all their multiplicity,” Netflix said.

Netflix said they were excited by the fresh new voices that were ready to tell the stories they were told by prior generations, to the world.

The competition, themed “African Folktales, Reimagined”, aims to find the bravest, wittiest and most surprising retelling of some of Africa’s most-loved folktales.

The company said folktales have always played an important role in the heritage of a culture, passing down values, knowledge and customs from one generation to the next – knowledge that builds communities, nations and unites the world in shared understanding and experience.

“We believe Africa’s rich history of storytelling, from universal tales to hyper-local fables, provides a fertile ground for creative retelling. This is an opportunity to reimagine the relevance of these tales to our contemporary society and extend them to the world stage on-screen: a celebration of Africa’s profoundly varied culture, folklore and heritage.”

The competition is open to individuals seeking to venture into feature film development and production. Applicants must have a minimum of two years and a maximum of five years of demonstrable professional experience in the audiovisual industry.

Applicants must have developed and produced one to two theatrical feature films, television fiction, documentaries, or two to three short films and/or commercials.

Netflix said shortlisted finalists will have the opportunity to take part in “How to Pitch to Netflix” workshops.These will give film-makers the chance to prepare, polish and present their film concepts with the help of industry experts.

The Netflix and Unesco judging committee will then mentor six winners to develop a 12- to 20-minute short film. The final six storytellers will each win US$25,000 and each of them will receive a production budget of up to US$75,000 to create their short film.

The collection of winning films will be launched on Netflix in 2022 as an “Anthology of African Folktales, Reimagined”.
Applications opened on October 14 via its website and will close on November 14.

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