Africa First

short film program


The Focus Features Africa First Short Film Program supports films that aspire to artistic excellence and accomplished storytelling, and substantially contribute to the development of local film industries. Award recipients of the 2013 Focus Features Africa First Short Film Program can use award money received from Africa First to complete initial production and to pay for post-production costs such as laboratory fees, sound mixing, and editing.

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  • • Focus Features' Africa First program will give awards to up to five (5) filmmakers.
  • • Recipients will be notified in October 2013 of their status.
  • • Each award will be in the amount of USD $10,000.00.
  • • Awards are given to assist emerging African filmmakers with the production and post-production of their film.


Please read the Official Rules carefully before applying. The Africa First Short Film Program is not a grant. Recipients will retain full ownership of the copyright to their projects as well as all distribution rights throughout the world except for North America; however, for and in consideration of the Award, Award Recipients shall grant to Sponsor (i) the exclusive right in perpetuity to distribute and otherwise exploit the Project in North America in any and all media whether now known or hereafter discovered; (ii) the non-exclusive worldwide right in perpetuity to the exploit the Project on the Internet, including, without limitation, the right to upload the Project to the Website, and to permit visitors to view and download the Project; and (iii) the right of first negotiation for derivative production rights in and to the Project such as sequels, prequels, remakes, and other adaptations.

For complete details of the Africa First Short Film Program, please see the DOWNLOADABLE APPLICATION PACKAGE.

Applicant Qualifications

  • Applicants must be at least 18 years of age, of African nationality, and must have resided in Africa for a minimum of two (2) years at any time before applying.
  • Applicants must be independent producers. This means that the individual applicants:
    1. own the copyright of their production;
    2. have artistic, budgetary, and editorial control of their project;
    3. are not regularly employed by a public or commercial broadcast entity.
  • Applicant/co-applicant must have previous film or television production experience in a principal role (producer, co-producer, director, or co-director) as demonstrated by a sample DVD or videotape of completed work submitted with application.


All projects entered into the Focus Features Africa First Short Film Program must meet the requirements below:

  • Produced in continental Africa;
  • 5-25 minutes in length with narratives taking place exclusively in Africa. Feature and/or documentary submissions will not be accepted;
  • In preproduction, production, or postproduction;
  • Project must be filmed in continental Africa and contribute to the development of the local film industry by using local key production staff and using local facilities;
  • All Program documents must be written in the English language; however, if the original language of the screenplay was not in the English language, an English-language translation of the screenplay is acceptable;
  • Project must be either (i) in the English language or (ii) if not, be delivered with English-language subtitles in 16mm, Super 16mm, 35mm, HDTV, DigiBeta, or Beta format.

Award Selection

The final selection of up to five (5) award recipients will be made by Completion Films and the Focus production team, with the final decision being made by Focus. Projects will be judged by taking into consideration such factors as originality, creativity, quality, and artistic contribution to African filmmaking.