Netflix launches competition to discover young filmmakers


Photo illustration logo of Netflix displayed on a smart phone screen. 

Photo credit: File | AFP

What you need to know:

  • Up for grabs is a Sh8.3 million production grant to develop, shoot and post produce the winning short film concepts.
  • UNESCO believes the partnership will contribute to the achievement of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.

American film streaming service provider Netflix, in partnership with UNESCO, has launched a Sh11 million competition to discover Africa’s next generation of filmmakers in Kenya and Sub-Saharan Africa.

The innovative short film competition dubbed ‘African Folktales, Reimagined’ aims at discovering young filmmakers between the age of 18 to 35 years old.

Up for grabs is a US$75,000 (Sh8.3 million) production grant to develop, shoot and post produce the winning short film concepts under the guidance of Netflix and UNESCO professionals. 

These short films will premiere on Netflix in 2022 under the title Anthropology of African folktales.

Netflix, which recently launched a free plan into the Kenyan market, says that through the competition, it seeks to discover new voices and to give emerging filmmakers in Sub-Saharan Africa visibility on a global scale.

“Africa has a rich storytelling heritage and a wealth of folktales that have been passed down for generations. When you marry these very local stories with Africa’s emerging talent, there’s no limit to fresh stories to connect people with African cultures and bring the world closer to each other,” Ben Amadasun, Director of Content in Africa, Netflix said.

Entry requirements

The competition, which is now open, runs until November 14, 2021, after which six winners will be picked from the submitted entries.

Each of the six winners will receive US$25,000 (Sh2.8 million).

Interested filmmakers are required to make their application via 

For the first round, applicants will be required to submit a creative statement synopsis of not more than 500 words of their concept as well as links to recent curriculum vitae and portfolio of any past audiovisual work they have produced.

They must have a minimum of two and a maximum of five years of demonstrable professional experience in the audiovisual industry.

The applicants must also have developed and produced one to two theatrical feature films, television fiction, documentaries or a two-three short films or commercials.

Sustainable employment

The top 20 shortlisted candidates will be announced in January 2022 and then be invited to a Netflix workshop to guide them on how to prepare and present their film concept.

An independent judging panel will then choose the six winners who will be required to develop their 12 to 20 minutes short films under the guidance of industry mentors selected by Netflix and UNESCO

UNESCO believes that through the partnership it will help create sustainable employment, encourage economic growth and therefore contribute to the achievement of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.

“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,” said UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay.

Netflix also views the competition as a means to help reduce inequalities by facilitating access to global markets and by guaranteeing dignified working conditions.


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