The Africa First initiative earmarks funds exclusively for emerging filmmakers of African nationality and residence. (See video below for a showcase of past work.) The competition allows participating filmmakers the chance to be awarded $10,000 in financing for preproduction, production, and/or post-production of their narrative short film made in continental Africa. Past sort films in the program have been showcased at Sundance, Toronto, London, and Berlin Film Festivals.
To celebrate its fifth year, Focus Features’ Africa First Program will accept entries beginning Monday May 14, continuing through Monday August 20. The five filmmakers selected will be notified by October 2012, and will retain copyrights and distribution rights.
The Africa First advisory board members are Ms. Mahen Bonetti, founder and executive director of the African Film Festival; journalist and documentary filmmaker Ms. Jihan El-Tahiri; Ms. June Givanni, who for four years programmed the Toronto International Film Festival’s Planet Africa series; Ms. Sharifa Johka, film programmer and independent producer; Mr. Pedro Pimenta, producer and manager of training programs throughout South Africa; and Mr. Keith Shiri, founder/director of the Africa at the Pictures film festival in the U.K.