Netflix has announced the global premiere date for African Folktales, Reimagined, a short-film anthology produced in partnership with UNESCO. Check out the trailer.
Tales as old as time from across the African continent, reimagined and retold by a new generation of six storytellers, come together in the short-film anthology African Folktales, Reimagined. The six short films are:
- Halima’s Choice (Nigeria) — Directed by Korede Azeez: With 99% of the world population uploaded into virtual worlds, a young girl from a secluded Fulani village inadvertently elopes with an AI to escape an arranged marriage. Genre: Sci-fi, Fantasy | Language: Hausa | Producer: Kenneth Gyang | Cast: Habiba Ummi Mohammed, Adam Garba | Production company: Cinema Kpatakpata
- Anyango and the Ogre (Kenya) — Directed by Voline Ogutu: With the backdrop of a childhood folktale, 13-year-old Otis struggles to protect his younger siblings from a monster that lives inside their home. Genre: Fantasy, Drama | Language: KiSwahili and English | Producer: Sarah Hassan | Cast: Trevor Jones Kamau, Sarah Hassan | Production company: Alfajiri Productions
- Katera of the Punishment Island (Uganda) — Directed and produced by Loukman Ali: Abandoned on an island, a woman grieving the loss of her baby exacts revenge on the powerful man who put her there. Genre: Thriller | Language: Runyankole and English | Cast: Karababiito Tracy, Michael Wawuyo Jr | Production company: Loukout Films
- Katope (Tanzania) — Directed by Walt Mzengi Corey: A young child with magical origins sets out on a journey to help end the drought that is devastating the community, even if it means risking their own life. Genre: Fantasy, Drama | Language: KiSwahili and ciGogo | Producers: Petrus Van Staden, Rebecca Mzengi Corey | Cast: Jene Mahenyela Mwalimu, Rahele Matete | Production company: Solela Art and Film
- Enmity Djinn (Mauritania) — Directed and produced by Mohamed Echkouna: Three generations after he was last summoned, an ancient Enmity Djinn finds himself in an unfamiliar city confronted by a familiar foe. Genre: Fantasy, Drama | Language: Hassaniya Arabic and French | Cast: Zainabou Ahmed Mohamed, Mamadou Mokhtar N’diaye Gueye
- MaMlambo (South Africa) — Directed by Gcobisa Yako: The mystical river being, MaMlambo, watches over the sacred waters of discarded bodies. Genre: Drama | Language: isiXhosa | Producer: Pakiso Albertus | Cast: Simphiwe Dana, Zikhona Bali
African Folktales, Reimagined premieres globally on Wednesday, March 29, exclusively on Netflix. (You can set a reminder for it now.)
The anthology was launched as part of Netflix’s partnership with UNESCO to support the next generation of storytellers, who 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 2,000 applications from 13 countries in the sub-Saharan Africa region.
Under the guidance of Steven Markovich from Big World Cinema, the Netflix-appointed supervising producer, each storyteller was partnered with a local production company and an industry mentor, including Bongiwe Selane (Gcobisa’s mentor), Jenna Bass (Korede’s mentor), Pape Boye (Loukman’s mentor), Femi Odugbemi (Mohamed’s mentor), Leila Afua Djansi (Voline’s mentor), and Tosh Gitonga (Walt’s mentor), who provided guidance and nurtured the filmmakers on their journey to bring their stories to life.
Said Ernesto Ottone R., the UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Culture:
“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 twenty-first century are as diverse and dynamic as its 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 the audiences around the world to feel its unstoppable energy.”
Added Tendeka Matatu, Netflix’s Director of Film in Africa:
“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. 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.”
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