Netflix calls for filmmakers for anthology series: African Folktales, Reimagined

Written by TVSA Team from the blog TV Production on 22 Oct 2021
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If you're an emerging filmmaker with production experience under your belt, this could be for you...

Netflix and UNESCO have launched a short film competition based on the theme: African Folktales, Reimagined.

The winners will be trained and mentored by industry professionals and provided with a US$75,000 production budget to create short films that will premiere on Netflix in 2022 as an “Anthology of African Folktales, Reimagined".

The budget equates to R1,092,825.75, at the time of publishing.

They're looking for six winners who'll each receive the production grant (through a local production company) to develop, shoot and post-produce their films under the guidance of industry mentors.

Winners will also receive $25,000 (R364,275.25). 

This is what and who they're looking for:

The bravest, wittiest and most surprising retellings of some of Africa’s most-loved folktales.

Candidates must be a citizen of a Sub-Saharan African country, currently residing in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Proposals can be submitted in English, French or Portuguese.  

You need to be between the ages of 18 to 35 at the time of submitting your application.

You need to have a minimum of two years and a maximum of five years of demonstrable professional experience in the audio-visual industry.

You must have developed and produced one to two theatrical feature films, television fiction, documentaries, or two to three short films and/or commercials.

How to apply

For the first round you need to submit a synposis of your concept of no more than 500 words, with links to a recent CV and a portfolio/evidence of any past audiovisual work you've produced.

Applications opened on 14 October and close on 28 November. (Please note: this was 14 November but the dates were extended to 28 November on 15 November.)

You can apply here >> Short Film Competition.

Must knows and FAQs

Shortlisted finalists: 

The shortlisted 20 candidates will be announced in January and will then be invited to a “How to Pitch to Netflix” workshop to guide them on how to prepare, polish, and present their film concepts.

An independent judging panel, under the guidance of UNESCO and Netflix, will choose the six winners, who will then develop their 12 to 20-minute short films under the guidance of industry mentors.


>> October 2021 - Application portal opens on October 14th 

>> November 2021 - Applications close on November 14th 

>> January 2022 - Announcement of Top 20 finalists 

>> January 2022 - Workshop on “How to Pitch to Netflix” for shortlisted candidates 

>> February 2022- Shortlisted candidates invited to pitch final entries to mentors 

>> February 2022 - Final selection via a Netflix and UNESCO joint judging panel 

>> February 2022 - Announcement of 6 winners 

>> Spring/Summer 2022 - Development, production & post-production of films 

>> September/October 2022 - Launch of 6 films on Netflix service

FAQs as answered by Netflix and UNESCO:

Why has Netflix and UNESCO decided to partner, and why the focus on folklore? 

Netflix and UNESCO share a common commitment and belief in the importance of promoting diverse local stories and bringing them to the world.

We also recognise that many emerging filmmakers struggle with finding resources to enable them to fully unleash their talents and develop their creative careers.

This competition is a step towards reducing this gap and enabling these storytellers to showcase their content to a global audience. 

What does the theme “African Folktales” mean? 

An African folktale is a timeless story circulated orally among African people and handed down from one generation to the next.

Folktales have always been an important way of passing on culture and heritage to future generations.

This competition aims to harness this important tradition while leveraging new mediums of distributing content, such as Netflix. 

What kind of ideas (or people) are you looking for? 

This is an open call for emerging filmmakers from across Sub-Saharan Africa, many of whom are located in parts of the continent that are often overlooked.

We value the wide diversity of African cultures and want to promote them globally.

Who will select proposals?  

The finalists will be selected by an independent panel of judges under the guidance of Netflix and  UNESCO.

Can my film concept be a documentary or be other forms such as animation? 

No, the film concept cannot be a documentary nor an animation form. 

My film concept has already been produced or distributed. Am I still eligible to apply for the emerging filmmakers’ competition in Sub-Saharan Africa? 

Films that have been produced, financed, distributed, or initiated by a major film studio or television network are ineligible for competition.

Films that have been shown on network or cable television or distributed to theaters are also ineligible for competition. 

Can I submit more than 1 idea? 

No. Only one application will be accepted per person. Submit your best idea!  

How will winners be selected? 

Submissions will be reviewed by a designated local agency according to criteria established by Netflix and UNESCO.

Selection will be done by an evaluation committee comprised of industry experts from across Sub-Saharan Africa.

The 20 shortlisted finalists will be invited to pitch their concept to a judging panel, under the guidance of Netflix and UNESCO. The panel will then choose six winners to develop their short films. 

Will I receive a budget to produce my film? 

Each of the 6 winners will receive a production grant of US$75,000 to develop, shoot, and post-produce their films which will be administered by a nominated local production agency.

Within each film’s budget, teams must ensure that filmmakers and everyone involved in the production is fairly paid. 

What happens to my submitted idea if it doesn’t get selected? 

If your submission is not successful and Netflix decides not to commission or explore your submission further with you, it will be deleted by the administering agency Dalberg after the 20 applicants have been shortlisted.

Channels in this post: Netflix South Africa, Netflix

1 Comment

15 Nov 2021 15:44


A heads-up that the application dates have been extended to 28 November 2021.

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