While on this learning journey, Netflix has invested and continues to invest greatly in Africa’s budding film industries, especially in Nigeria, South Africa, and Kenya. In its report titled, Netflix Socio-Economic Impact in South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya (2016-2022), the global streaming service revealed that it has invested over US$175m into the region from 2016 to 2022 and supported the creation of over 12, 000 jobs. A considerable part of this investment was on strengthening the skills of young African filmmakers and talents because upskilling local talents to global standards is necessary to create great stories.
It is regarded that Africa is in its golden age of storytelling, inspiring other streaming services like Netflix to strengthen their investments in the region. Netflix’s focus on telling original African stories to the world is accelerated by a growing curiosity globally about the nuances of African cultures and histories. The world is open to genuine stories from Africa with authentic representations of cultures and traditions told by the custodians of these cultures.
In 2022, Netflix unveiled a curated content collection titled “From Cape to Cairo” which celebrates African stories and storytellers by showcasing Africa’s creativity in talent and stories. Unveiled in May to mark Africa Month, the immersive collection spotlights outstanding content from every African region promoting continental unity and allowing millions to see their lives reflected on screen. As Netflix’s investments in promoting African culture deepen, so does the collection expand with a variety of new African titles that showcase and celebrate the diversity of African storytelling on its platform.
What better way to tell authentic African stories while preserving culture than reimagining folktales? Folktales are stories passed down through generations by word of mouth and comprise cultural heritage, moral lessons, and traditional values. In partnership with UNESCO, this genre inspired Netflix to launch a short film competition themed African Folktales, Reimagined to promote African cultures by retelling folktales for modern local and global audiences while supporting young talents in the industry.
Folktales have always been instrumental in passing on African culture and heritage to future generations. With modernisation and globalisation, this storytelling tradition is facing threats of extinction. The Netflix and UNESCO initiative aimed to harness this important tradition and encourage cultural preservation while showcasing the mutual commitment and belief in the importance of promoting diverse local stories and bringing them to the world.
Six young filmmakers were selected as finalists from the over 2,000 applications received from 13 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. The six emerging filmmakers from Nigeria, South Africa, Mauritania, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania were provided with resources including a $90,000 budget and creative guidance by established filmmakers as mentors to bring their stories to life. Industry veterans such as Bongiwe Selane, Jenna Bass, Pape Boye, Femi Odugbemi, Leila Afua Djansi, and Tosh Gitonga nurtured the young filmmakers as mentors throughout the filmmaking experience.
The African folktales competition served as a step towards reducing the gap between talent and funding by providing a platform for storytellers to showcase their content to a global audience through Netflix. The short films from the competition launched on Netflix globally on 29 march this year as part of “An Anthology of African Folktales”. The collection features a variety of African on-screen talent in stories by emerging African storytellers such as Mohamed Echkouna with Enmity Djinn; Walt Mzengi Corey with Katope; Korede Azeez with Zabin Halima (Halima’s Choice); Voline Ogutu with Anyango and the Ogre; Loukman Ali with Katera of the Punishment Island, and Gcobisa Yako with MaMlambo.
The short films have reimagined traditional tales for a contemporary audience with diverse languages, authentic culture, and rich folklore. Mohamed’s Enmity Djinn tells the tale of an elderly woman who is forced to confront a malevolent spirit, an ancient Djinn. Mohamed’s short film retells the tale of Arabic mythology in Mauritania of the Djinn, an invisible spirit believed to influence mankind. This theme of mysticism, a popular feature of folklore, is replete in all of the short films. Like Mohammed’s Djinn, MaMlambo in Gcobisa Yako’s eponymous short film is a river being that watches over women with troubled lives who have tried to take their own lives in the river of no return. Gcobisa’s MaMlambo retells the story of the avenging goddess of rivers in South Africa’s Zulu mythology.
One interesting note about African folktales is the universality of the stories. For Nigeria’s Korede Azeez, her short film Zabin Halima is inspired by a folktale from the southern part of Nigeria about a young girl whose parents wanted her to marry an old rich man against her wishes. Korede carefully reimagined the folktale in a futuristic Fulani community (Northern Nigeria) albeit with a virtual world which the lead character uses as a form of escapism.
Like Korede’s and Gcobisa’s short films, Voline Ogutu’s Anyango and the Ogre explores the unfair societal expectations of marriage on women but focuses on the violent abuse that can be caused when there is a large gap in power dynamics. Voline’s short film traces a popular Kenyan folktale which is perfectly reimagined into a futuristic setting as three children and their mother seek solace in the folktale to escape an abusive father and husband. The storyline in Loukman Ali’s Katera of the Punishment Island follows a similar subject matter of abuse and abandonment. In his short film, Loukman has also carefully captured the colonial experience and realities of colonial Uganda while expounding on the themes of the folktale.
Walt Mzengi Corey’s short film is a Tanzanian folktale about a child with magical origins who sets out on a journey to help end the drought devastating the community at the risk of her own life. Katope, the titular character, has been moulded from clay by her mother who was searching for a child 10 years ago. Since then, her community has suffered intense drought. Like Walt’s short film, other filmmakers utilised the opportunity awarded them by Netflix to express African stories and folktales as the incredible traditions that they are.
Netflix’s contribution to preserving African cultures and telling authentic African stories to a global audience does not start and stop with the anthology of African folktales, as can be seen in its Cape to Cairo collection. Films like Silverton Siege, Anikulapo, and Disconnect: The Wedding Planner, which all made it to Netflix Global Top 10 lists at one point or the other, were told by Netflix’s local storytelling partners.
These films and others are also being recognised with awards. In the 9th edition of the Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards (AMVCA). Netflix’s originals Aníkúlápó and Shanty Town received the highest nominations with 16 and 11 nominations respectively. Kunle Afolayan’s Aníkúlápó went ahead to win six categories including ‘Best Overall Movie’ among others. As revealed in the Netflix report, the streaming platform will continue its investment in telling original African stories to a global audience through expansions into new African regions, licensing, and commissioning new titles.
LONDON, June 7 (Reuters) - Barclays (BARC.L) is studying options for its global payments activities as a part of broader review into how it allocates resources,
June 7 (Reuters) - South Africa's business confidence fell in the second quarter of 2023 to the lowest in three years, dragged down by persistent power outages,
It has been said over and over again that the automotive aftermarket is a relationship-based industry. And the importance of relationships is coming back into f
CLEVELAND -- Why does international engagement matter? I could give every practical reason why international engagement benefits us in Northeast Ohio: trade and