Global streaming platform Netflix has partnered with UNESCO to launch the African Folktales Reimagined short films initiative set to launch on Netflix on 29 March 2023.
The streamer notes that the anthology of six short films was launched as part of Netflix’s partnership with UNESCO to support the next generation of storytellers who were provided with resources, including a US$90 000 budget and creative guidance by established filmmakers as mentors to bring their stories to life.
According to them, emerging filmmakers were selected in 2021 following a call for submission that resulted in over 2000 applications from the African continent. As a result, the six emerging storytellers from Nigeria, South Africa, Mauritania, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania will see their respective short films and make their debut on Netflix.
The African Folktales, Reimagined short film collection features a variety of African on-screen talent in stories by emerging African storytellers such as Mohamed Echkouna from Mauritania with Enmity Djinn, Walt Mzengi Corey from Tanzania with Katope; Korede Azeez from Nigeria with Zabin Halima; Voline Ogutu from Kenya with Anyango and the Ogre; Loukman Ali from Uganda with Katera of the Punishment Island and Gcobisa Yako from South Africa with MaMlambo.
Netflix mentioned that each filmmaker was partnered with a local production company and under the guidance of Netflix-appointed supervising producer Steven Markovich from Big World Cinema and industry mentors: Bongiwe Selane (mentor to Gcobisa Yako), Jenna Bass (mentor to Korede Azeez), Pape Boye (mentor to Loukman Ali); Femi Odugbemi (mentor to Mohamed Echkouna); Leila Afua Djansi (mentor to Voline Ogutu) and Tosh Gitonga (mentor to Walter Mzengi) who provided guidance and nurtured the filmmakers on their journey to bring their stories to life.
Commenting on the initiative, Ernesto Ottone R., the UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Culture, said, “UNESCO is proud to present the tales of Africa, reimagined by its emerging, homegrown talents. At the crossroads of tradition, innovation, heritage and creativity, African expressions in the 21st century are as diverse and dynamic as their people. The UNESCO-Netflix partnership represents our shared commitment to the audiovisual industries of Africa, which have the potential to generate US$20 billion in revenues annually. African creativity is a force for sustainable development, and we cannot wait for audiences worldwide to feel its unstoppable energy.”
Tendeka Matatu, Netflix’s Director of Film in Africa, added, “We are excited to finally bring this anthology of short films created by the next generation of African storytellers to Netflix members worldwide. This initiative is a testament to our ongoing efforts to strengthen the African storytelling pipeline and include voices from underrepresented communities. In addition, we’re grateful to our partners at UNESCO, who walked this journey with us to provide the six emerging African filmmakers an opportunity to create and showcase their reimagined folktales to the world.”