In search of the next generation of African filmmakers: Netflix and UNESCO launch groundbreaking competition in sub-Saharan Africa


Netflix ( and UNESCO have joined forces to launch an innovative short film competition on “African folktales, reinvented” in sub-Saharan Africa ( The winners of the competition will be trained and supervised by industry professionals and will benefit from a production budget of US $ 75,000 to create short films that will premiere on Netflix in 2022 as an “Anthology of Tales”. Africans ”.

One of the key objectives of this competition is to discover new voices and to give emerging filmmakers from sub-Saharan Africa global visibility. We want to find the bravest, wittiest and most surprising tales of some of Africa’s most beloved folk tales and share them with entertainment fans around the world in over 190 countries.

The competition, which will be administered by Dalberg (, will open the October 14, 2021 to November 14, 2021. Each of the 6 winners will receive a production grant of USD 75,000 (through a local production company) to develop, shoot and post-produce their films under the direction of industry mentors selected by UNESCO. and Netflix to ensure that everyone involved in the production is fairly compensated. In addition, each of the 6 winners will also receive $ 25,000.

UNESCO and Netflix strongly believe in the importance of promoting diverse local stories and bringing them to the world. They recognize that many emerging filmmakers struggle to find the right resources and the right visibility to enable them to fully unleash their talents and develop their creative careers. This competition aims to answer these questions and allow African storytellers to take a first step towards presenting their content to a global audience.

This partnership will also help create sustainable jobs and encourage economic growth and thus contribute to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, a set of goals set by the United Nations that aims to end poverty. world in all its forms by the end of this decade. This film competition will also help reduce inequalities by facilitating access to global markets and ensuring decent working conditions. All of these are key goals of the 2030 Agenda.

The competition is open to emerging filmmakers from sub-Saharan Africa on the theme of “African tales, reinvented. ” Folk tales have always been an important means of transmitting culture, heritage and values ​​to future generations, while constantly inviting people to reimagine their relevance to our contemporary societies. This theme is inspired by Aspiration 5 of the African Union’s Agenda 2063, which celebrates African cultural identity, common heritage, values ​​and ethics. This competition aims to harness this important tradition with a modern perspective while taking advantage of new media for distributing artistic and creative content, such as Netflix.

For the first round, applicants will be required to submit a summary of their concept (no more than 500 words) along with links to a recent CV and portfolio / proof of any past audiovisual work they have produced.. Applications can be submitted via from October 14 at 4:00 p.m. CET and will close on November 14, 2021 at 1:59 p.m. CET.

UNESCO comments:

“It is important for the film industry to act so that the voices of Africa are heard, by supporting the emergence of diverse cultural expressions, by proposing new ideas and emotions and by creating opportunities for creators to contribute to the global dialogue for peace, culture and development. . “- Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO.

“The film industry must ensure that it promotes Africa’s creative talent, supporting young talent and ensuring that African filmmakers contribute to the international film industry. “- Ernesto Ottone R., Assistant Director General for Culture, UNESCO.

Netflix comments:

Growing up, entertainment was my way of communicating with people. I fell in love with the stories and characters that I saw on screen and discovered how storytelling has the power to inspire, which is why I am excited about this partnership with UNESCO and the opportunities to come. Together, we will promote local cultures and support creative industries by telling stories that cross borders, reflect universal truths, and ultimately bring us together. ” Ted Sarandos, Co-CEO and Director of Content, Netflix.

“Africa has a rich narrative heritage and a wealth of folk tales that have been passed down from generation to generation. When you marry these very local stories with emerging talents from Africa, there is no limit to fresh new stories to connect people to African cultures and bring the world closer to each other “- Ben Amadasun, Africa Content Director, Netflix.

For more information on the application process, please visit

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About the application process:

Applicants will be required to submit a summary of their concept (no more than 500 words) in a creative statement along with a link to a recent CV and portfolio of any past audiovisual work they have produced on.

Applications can be made via from October 14. They will close on November 13, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. (GMT).

  1. The competition is open to people wishing to engage in the development and production of feature films. Applicants must have a minimum of 2 years and a maximum of 5 years of demonstrable professional experience in the audiovisual industry. Applicants must have developed and produced 1 to 2 feature films, television dramas, documentaries or 2-3 short films and / or advertisements.
  2. Applicants must be citizens of a Sub-Saharan African country and currently reside in Sub-Saharan Africa ( to apply. Applicants must be between the ages of 18 and 35 at the time of submission.
  • ● Shortlisted finalists:

The 20 shortlisted candidates will be announced in January and will then be invited to a “How to Present to Netflix” workshop to guide them on how to prepare, refine and present their film concepts. An independent jury, under the direction of UNESCO and Netflix, will choose the six winners, who will then develop their short films of 12 to 20 minutes under the direction of industry mentors selected by Netflix and UNESCO.

?? Chronology:

➢ October 2021 – Opening of the application portal on October 14 ➢ November 2021 – Application closing on November 14 ➢ January 2022 – Announcement of the 20 best finalists ➢ January 2022 – Workshop on “How to pitch on Netflix” for preselected candidates ➢ February 2022 – Shortlisted candidates invited to present final nominations to mentors ➢ February 2022 – Final selection via a joint Netflix and UNESCO jury ➢ February 2022 – Announcement of the 6 winners ➢ Spring / Summer 2022 – Development, production and post-production of films ➢ September / October 2022 – Launch of 6 films on the Netflix service


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