Africa First

short film program


The Africa First short film program is sponsored by Focus Features, and will award five (5) emerging African filmmakers $10,000.00 (ten thousand U.S. dollars) each towards pre-production, production, or post-production of their short film.

Jenna Bass
2008 Africa First Award Winner

"For many African filmmakers, doing this, at least on the level we want and without compromise, doesn't always seem possible. We live in countries with film industries that, if they even exist, don't always welcome young talent, or believe in it. The Africa First program believed in me and in what I wanted to do with my life. Sometimes, that's all it takes. A few people who are excellent at what they do, saying, "Go on. Try out what you've always wanted. Tell stories. We're watching. Now is the time. Yes, I want to make films that are seen and enjoyed by many, many people. I feel closer to doing that now. The path is just that bit clearer. I may have to walk it alone for now, but the way ahead is marked out in lights.


Focus Features is committed to bringing moviegoers original stories from the world's most innovative filmmakers. With this in mind, Focus has created the Africa First short film program 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 Africa First Advisory Board, we aim to bring filmmakers into an environment that will allow them to grow as filmmakers with an international audience.


Filmmakers who receive funding are also granted the unique opportunity to network with the Focus Features Africa First Advisory Board, an international panel of experts in African Cinema. Selected filmmakers will attend an intensive workshop with the Advisors in New York City.



October 24 - 28, 2013

Filmmakers selected as award recipients of the 2013 Focus Features Africa First Short Film Program will have the unique opportunity to participate in a three-day workshop in New York City hosted by the Focus Features Africa First Advisory Board. During the summit, the filmmakers will receive firsthand exposure to the inner workings of studio development, finance, marketing, and distribution; and participate in one-on-one sessions with the Focus Features Advisory Board members aimed at providing practical assistance to filmmakers as they produce their films. The summit weekend may also include activities such as screenings, networking receptions, a personalized guided tour of New York City, and a trip to a Broadway show.