Ghanaian and American filmmaker Leila Djansi has been named as one of the mentors for a NETFLIX & UNESCO project. The producer and director of ‘Like Cotton Twines’ has been given the key to the project, ‘African Folktales, Reimagined’. A short film competition across Sub-Saharan Africa where the winners will be coached and mentored by industry professionals and provided with a US$75,000 production budget to produce short films that will premiere on Netflix in 2022 as an “Anthology of African folktales”.
Leila Djansi was among the judges and mentors who shortlisted 21 emerging filmmakers after the first-round competition from over 2,000 applications. The award-winning filmmaker took to her Facebook page to share her satisfaction with some of the contestants.
“I am so excited to see the number of WOMEN selected for this! 75,000 dollars from Netflix to make a short film that will debut on the streamer? That’s career-defining. Congratulations ladies! see you all soon!”
She highlighted how Nigeriann filmmakers have always been at the very top. “From Buchi Emecheta to Chimamanda Adichie. They got 4 candidates in. Nigeria, South Africa, and Kenya always putting in extra effort”
The other judges and mentors are Nigeria’s Femi Odugbemi, South Africa’s Bongiwe Selane, David Tosh Gitonga from Kenya, and Jean Luc Herbulot from the Republic of Congo as well as representatives from Netflix and UNESCO who will act as guides in the process. The panel will handpick the final six filmmakers who will receive a production grant of US$75,000 to produce and supervise a film underr the guidance of Netflix and industry mentors. Each of the 6 winners will also go home with $25,000.
Netflix Director of Content in Africa, Ben Amadasun says the “response from all the aspiring filmmakers who took time to submit their application proves that there’s a wealth of storytelling potential and talent in Africa and we at Netflix are excited to be part of this journey for more talented new voices to share their stories with the world”.
The Netflix & UNESCO’s African Folktales, Reimagined Competition saw 20 shortlisted candidates going forward to the next round. What’s more – the quality of submissions received resulted in one extra candidate being added to the list, making it 21 filmmakers on the shortlist. The candidates were selected through various evaluation processes by a wide range of industry professionals from across the continent who assessed over 2080 applications from across the continent in multiple languages. The shortlist contains a dynamic group of African creatives from across 13 countries in the region.
The shortlisted filmmakers include Nosa Igbinedion (Nigeria); Ebot Tanyi (Cameroon); Loukman Ali (Uganda); Tongryang Pantu (Nigeria); Walt Mzengi (Tanzania); Venance Soro (Côte d’Ivoire); Noni Ireri (Kenya); Volana Razafimanantsoa (Madagascar); Mohamed Echkouna (Mauritania); Nader Fakhry (Côte d’Ivoire); Anne Catherine Tchokonté (Cameroon); Mphonyana Mokokwe (Botswana); Anita Abada (Nigeria); Samuel Kanyama (Zambia); Machérie Ekwa-Bahango (Democratic Republic of Congo); Oprah Oyugi (Kenya); Ndiyathemba Modibedi (South Africa); Gcobisa Yako (South Africa); Akorede Azeez (Nigeria); Katya Aragão (São Tomé and Príncipe) and Voline Ogutu (Kenya).