Africa First

***THE AFRICA FIRST PROGRAM IS NO LONGER ACTIVELY TAKING SUBMISSIONS***

ABOUT AFRICA FIRST | FILM MAKERS

OUR MISSION

The Focus Features Africa First Short Film Program was created to foster and develop long-term relationships with some of the most promising up-and-coming filmmakers from continental Africa. Through the financial support of the fund and the mentorship support provided by the Focus Features Africa First Advisory Board, we aim to bring filmmakers into an environment that will allow them to grow as filmmakers with an international audience.

THE AWARD

The Focus Features Africa First Short Film Program was conceived to be a unique initiative, with funds earmarked specifically for emerging filmmakers of African nationality and residence. Once again in 2011, Africa First will be offering participating filmmakers the chance to be awarded $10,000 in financing for pre-production, production and/or post-production on their narrative short film made in continental Africa which taps into the resources of the film industry there.

In addition to on-site work in Africa, the winning filmmakers of Africa First also participate in a weekend of workshops in New York City with board members. The workshops entail one-on-one discussions with such Focus executives as CEO James Schamus and president of production John Lyons, covering such topics as international distribution and the economics of studio financing; members of the program’s international advisory board of experts in African cinema; producer and Program Director Kisha Cameron-Dingle and Focus Director of Production Matthew Plouffe.

All filmmakers selected for Africa First retain the copyrights and the distribution rights to their completed shorts, with the exception of North American rights; Focus retains those, as well as the right of first negotiation to productions derived from the shorts, such as a feature-length expansion.

THE ADVISORY BOARD

Mahen Bonetti

Jihan El Tahri

June Givanni

Clarence Hamilton

Sharifa Johka

Keith Shiri

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; Mr. Clarence Hamilton, story editor and Head of Production at South Africa’s NFVF; Ms. Sharifa Johka, film programmer and independent producer; and Mr. Keith Shiri, founder/director of the Africa at the Pictures film festival.