Tales as old as time from across the African continent, reimagined and retold by a new generation of six storytellers, the African Folktales short films, Reimagined in association with UNESCO, will be released on Netflix on March 29, 2023.
The anthology of six short films was launched as part of Netflix’s partnership with UNESCO to support the next generation of storytellers who received resources, including a $90,000 budget and creative guidance from established filmmakers as mentors to bring their stories to life. . The emerging filmmakers were selected in 2021 following a call that resulted in more than 2,000 applications from 13 countries in the Sub-Saharan Africa region. The six emerging storytellers from Nigeria, South Africa, Mauritania, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania will see their respective short films debut on Netflix globally.
The African Folktales, Reimagined collection of short films features a variety of African talent on screen in stories by emerging African storytellers such as Mauritania’s Mohamed Echkouna with Enmity Djinn; Walt Mzengi Corey from Tanzania with Katope; Korede Azeez from Nigeria with Halima’s Choice; Voline Ogutu from Kenya with Anyango and the Ogre; Loukman Ali from Uganda with Katera from Punishment Island and Gcobisa Yako from South Africa with MaMlambo.
Title synopsis, key cast and crew:
Halima’s Choice – by Korede Azeez – Nigeria: With 99% of the world’s population loaded into virtual worlds, a young woman from an isolated Fulani village inadvertently elopes with an AI to escape an arranged marriage. Genre: science fiction, fantasy; Language:Hausa;Director:Korede Azeez; Producer: Kenneth Gyang; Cast: Habiba Ummi Mohammed; Adam Garba, produced by Cinema Kpatakpata.
Anyango and the Ogre- by Voline Ogutu – Kenya: Set against the backdrop of a children’s 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; Director: Voline Ogutu; Producer: Sarah Hassan; Cast: Trevor Jones Kamau; Sarah Hassan; Produced by Alfajiri Productions.
Katera of the Punishment Island – by Loukman Ali – Uganda: Stranded on an island, a woman grieving the loss of her baby takes revenge on the powerful man who put her there. Suspended gender; Language: Runyankole and English; Director and Producer:Loukman Ali; Cast: Karababiito Tracy; Michael Wawuyo JR; Production company: Loukout Films.
Katope – by Walt Mzengi Corey – Tanzania: A young boy with magical origins sets out on a journey to help end the drought that is devastating the community, even if it means risking his own life. Genre: Fantasy, Drama; Language: KiSwahili and ciGogo; Director: Walt Mzengi Corey; Producer: Petrus Van Staden; Rebecca Mzengi Corey Cast: Jene Mahenyela Mwalimu; Rahele Mattete; Producer: Solela Art and Cinema.
Enmity Djinn – by Mohamed Echkouna – Mauritania: Three generations after being last summoned, an ancient Enmity Djinn finds himself in an unknown city confronted by a familiar enemy. Genre: Fantasy, Drama; Language: Hassaniya Arabic and French; Director and Producer: Mohamed Echkouna; Cast: Zainabou Ahmed Mohamed; Mamadou Mokhtar N’diaye Gueye.
MaMlambo- by Gcobisa Yako – South Africa: The mystical river being, MaMlambo, watches over the sacred waters of discarded bodies. Genre:Drama; Language: isi Xhosa; Director: Gcobisa Yako; Producer: Pakiso Albertus; Cast: Simphiwe Dana; Zikhona Bali.
Each storyteller partnered with a local production company and under the guidance of Netflix-appointed supervising producer Steven Markovich of Big World Cinema and industry mentors: 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 supported the filmmakers on their journey to bring their stories to life.
“UNESCO is proud to present the stories of Africa, reimagined by its emerging local talents. At the crossroads of tradition, innovation, heritage and creativity, African expressions in the 21st century are as diverse and dynamic as its people. UNESCO -Partnering with Netflix represents our shared commitment to Africa’s audiovisual industries, which have the potential to generate USD 20 billion in annual revenue.African creativity is a force for sustainable development, and we can’t wait for audiences around the world feel that it is unstoppable energy,” says Ernesto Ottone R., UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Culture.
“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 channeling of African storytelling and include voices from underrepresented communities. We are grateful to our partners at UNESCO who walked this journey with us to provide an opportunity for six emerging African filmmakers to create and show their reimagined folktales to the world, in their own languages, so that more people can see their lives reflected. on the screen,” adds Tendeka Matatu, Africa film director for Netflix.