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5th Year Focus Features Africa First Program Winners Revealed (Southern Africa Well-Repped)

5th Year Focus Features Africa First Program Winners Revealed (Southern Africa Well-Repped)

I’m ALWAYS excited to read about Africa First winners; hot off the presses, here are the next set of 5 young African filmmakers who we’ll surely be talking about in years to come. At the very least, expect individual profiles of each, and hopefully, glimpses at their previous and upcoming work.

So look out for those posts over the next week or so.

In the meantime, here’s the kitchen sink (if I’m correct, I think this might be the first year that we’ve seen a winner representing Lesotho; and neighbouring South Africa is well repped this year, as the country often is):

NEW YORK, October 3rd, 2012 – For a fifth consecutive year, five filmmakers have been selected for Focus Features’ Africa First Program. The worldwide film company’s initiative earmarked exclusively for emerging filmmakers of African nationality and residence, will award the filmmakers $10,000 apiece, Focus CEO James Schamus announced today.

The winning filmmakers for 2012 are Mr. Vincent Moloi (from South Africa); Mr. Jeremiah Mosese (from Lesotho); Ms. Ekwa Msangi-Omari (from Tanzania); Ms. Samantha Nell (from South Africa); and Mr. William Nicholson (from South Africa).

The short films that they will be directing are, respectively, Berea, about an aging Jewish man in modern Johannesburg; Mosongoa [The Mocked One], following a teenage girl entering a stick-fighting competition to save her family farm; Soko [The Market], in which a father/daughter outing to a Kenyan market takes unexpected turns; One Way Ticket, revolving around a neurotic undertaker and a misplaced corpse; and The Second Law, which charts the mutually strengthening bond of a schoolgirl and her grandmother.

Mr. Schamus said, “This year we have a dynamic group of filmmakers who will be telling stories that span genres and generations. Everyone at Focus is excited to be collaborating with them.”

Producer Kisha Cameron Dingle, who serves as Program Director of Africa First, added, “Africa continues to be a region rich with filmmaking potential, and the talented men and women we have selected this year embody it.”

Africa First is supervised by Ms. Cameron Dingle (…Sometimes in April), whose company, Completion Films, has a first-look and consulting deal with Focus, and who coordinates the Program’s submissions and evaluations with Focus director of development & production Christopher Kopp and production coordinator Jess Kwan. In addition to on-site work in Africa, the winning filmmakers will visit New York City this month for a weekend of one-on-one workshop discussions with each other; members of the advisory board of experts in African cinema; Focus executives such as Mr. Schamus and president of production Jeb Brody, covering topics like international distribution and the economics of studio financing; and Mrs. Dingle, Mr. Kopp, and Ms. Kwan.

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