Netflix and UNESCO Announce the Winners of ‘African Folktales, Reimagined’

Netflix and UNESCO have announced the six winners of their filmmaking competition ‘Africa Folktales, Reimagined’.

After launching a groundbreaking competition to find some of Sub-Saharan Africa’s up and coming filmmakers, entitled  ‘African Folktales, Reimagined’. Netflix and UNESCO can now announce the six winners. 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. Staying true to the competition’s aim of showcasing Africa’s rich cultural heritage, the short films will feature reimagined African folktales presented in multiple African languages. 

The winners are:

  • Mohamed Echkouna from Mauritania with The Enmity Djinn
  • Walter Mzengi from Tanzania with Katope
  • Korede Azeez from Nigeria with Adieu, Salut
  • Voline Ogutu from Kenya with Anyango and the Ogre
  • Loukman Ali from Uganda with Katera of the Punishment Island
  • Gcobisa Yako from South Africa with Uma’Mlambo

The six filmmakers will now go into the development phase of their projects, before starting production on the short films that will eventually premiere on Netflix as part of ‘An Anthology of African Folktales’ later this year. They will be mentored by acclaimed African filmmakers which include Femi Odugbemi, Jenna Bass, Leila Djansi, Pape Boye, Bongiwe Selane and Tosh Gitonga.

The competition was launched by Netflix and UNESCO in October 2021, with the goal of promoting diverse local stories and bringing them to the world. The competition was also a step towards creative equity – as part of the Netflix Creative Equity Fund, which aims at enabling new voices from underrepresented communities within entertainment to bring their perspectives to a global audience. 

“Congratulations to the six winners! The fact that their films will be shown to a global audience is part of our commitment to promote cultural diversity around the world. Like the African movie sector itself, these six individuals have a very bright future ahead of them. 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.” 

Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO.  Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO

“It’s been a truly inspiring journey for us 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 6 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.”

Ben Amadasun, Director of Content in Africa, Netflix 

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