The global premiere of the Netflix and UNESCO African Folktales Reimagined anthology launched on Wednesday, 29 March 2023 at a star-studded event at KICC.
The collection of 6 African short films premiered at the Kalasha Film Festival in Nairobi, Kenya, while at the same time to a global audience via Netflix.
The African Folktales, Reimagined short film collection features a variety of African on-screen talent in stories by emerging African storytellers such as Voline Ogutu from Kenya with Anyango and the Ogre; Mohamed Echkouna from Mauritania with Enmity Djinn; Walt Mzengi Corey from Tanzania with Katope; Korede Azeez from Nigeria with Zabin Halima (Halima’s Choice); Loukman Ali from Uganda with Katera of the Punishment Island and Gcobisa Yako from South Africa with MaMlambo.
The screening was graced by Local and international celebrities; among them Sarah Hassan, Mammito, Jackie Matubia, Tosh Gitonga, Enos Olik, Blessing Lung’aho, Melissa Kiplaga, Kate Actress, Luwi Capello, Mama Baha, among others.
The short films are simply tales as old as time from across the African continent, reimagined and retold by a new generation of six storytellers – under the umbrella, of African Folktales.
The anthology of six short films was launched as part of Netflix’s partnership with UNESCO to support the next generation of storytellers.
The storytellers were provided with resources including a $90 000 budget and creative guidance by established filmmakers as mentors to bring their stories to life.
The emerging filmmakers were selected in 2021 following a call for submission that resulted in over 2000 applications from 13 countries in the sub-Saharan Africa region.
Each storyteller was partnered with a local production company and under the guidance of Netflix-appointed supervising producer, Steven Markovitz from Big World Cinema and industry mentors: Bongiwe Selane (mentor to Gcobisa); Jenna Bass (mentor to Korede); Pape Boye (mentor to Loukman); Femi Odugbemi (mentor to Mohamed); Leila Afua Djansi (mentor to Voline) and Tosh Gitonga (mentor to Walt) who provided guidance and nurtured the filmmakers on their journey to bring their stories to life.
“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 around the world to feel its unstoppable energy,” says Ernesto Ottone R., the UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Culture.
“We are excited to finally bring this anthology of short films created by the next generation of African storytellers to Netflix members around the world,” says Tendeka Matatu, Netflix’s Director of Film in Africa.
“This initiative is a testament to our ongoing efforts to strengthen the pipeline of African storytelling and to include voices from underrepresented communities.
"We’re grateful to our partners at UNESCO who walked this journey with us to provide an opportunity for the six emerging African filmmakers to create and showcase their reimagined folktales to the world, in their own languages, so that more people can see their lives reflected on screen.”