The Art of filmmaking in Africa: Preserving culture through African folktales
Films bring people together and emancipate minds, through storytelling and visuals. Films open people’s thinking, in ways they never imagined. That’s why I became a filmmaker.
— Leila Djansi
There’s something uniquely beautiful about culture, whether it be social, ethical, intellectual, scientific, or artistic expressions, no matter where in the world, culture has a way of uniting us.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) expresses culture as a collection of beliefs, Knowledge, morals, laws, customs, and habits common to a subset of people in a particular location. It embraces both tangible (Art, monuments, cultural spaces, hairstyles, clothing) and intangible expressions and ways of life (practices, performances, expressions, skills) shared by a group of people.
When it comes to Africa, a continent rich in heritage and history of storytelling, folktales are synonymous with passing down culture from one generation to another. Because they are the stories that taught us and brought us up to deepen our understanding of who we are and awaken the world within to who we are. This is exactly why Netflix and UNESCO recently concluded the groundbreaking African folktales Reimagined competition.
The competition awarded 6 finalists from across Africa $75,000 to produce a short film that will be placed on Netflix, winners include, Mohamed Echkouna, Walter Mzengi, Korede Azeez, Voline Ogutu, Loukman Ali, Gcobisa Yako.
We’re reimagining the stories our grandparents thought in a way we understand, we get to create our universe, and give people the ability to reimagine theirs too.
— Gcobisa Yako
The Winners were mentored by an array of African filmmakers from across Africa including Femi Odugbemi, Nigeria, Jenna Bass, South Africa, Leila Djansi, Ghana, and Bongiwe Selane, South Africa, who spoke with CNN Africa Avant Garde about what it takes to be a successful filmmaker.
To be a filmmaker is a privilege, it is the opportunity not just to tell stories but to create meaning, it’s about representing your identity in a way that opens conversations with the world.
— Femi Odugbemi