One Nigerian, six others win Netflix & UNESCO African folktales film competition

Korede Azeez, a Nigerian, and five other Africans have made the winning list of Netflix and UNESCO Sub-Saharan Africa’s short film competition.

The filmmaker joined other winners after securing a spot with his short film ‘Adieu Salut’ in Hausa and Fulfulde (Fula) languages.

Other winners that emerged from the competition include Gcobisa Yako (South Africa), Loukman Ali (Uganda), Mohamed Echkouna (Mauritania), Voline Ogutu (Kenya) Walter Mzengi (Tanzania).

Each winner will receive $25,000 plus a production budget of $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.

“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,” Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO said.

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The final 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.

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 competition was launched by Netflix and UNESCO in October 2021, to promote diverse local stories and bring 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.

“We cannot wait to celebrate these films at a special premier at UNESCO headquarters in Paris at the end of this year,” Azoulay said.

According to Ben Amadasun, Netflix Director of Content in Africa, it has been an inspiring journey for it to experience the level of creative talent from the 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,” Amadasun said, adding that “the world is ready to experience your talent and we at Netflix, will continue to be your biggest cheerleaders in this journey.”

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