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About Africa First

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.

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Focus Features’ Africa First Program to Begin Sixth Year, Accepting Entries June 10th

Posted June 06, 2013

$10,000 IN FINANCING APIECE EARMARKED FOR NEW FILMMAKERS

NEW YORK, May 31st, 2013 – To commence its sixth year, Focus Features’ Africa First Program will accept entries beginning Monday, June 10th and continuing through Monday, August 19th, with applications needing to be received by Thursday, August 29th. Focus CEO James Schamus made the announcement today.

The uniquely conceived initiative, with funds earmarked exclusively for emerging filmmakers of African nationality and residence, is for the sixth consecutive year offering eligible and 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 and tapping into the resources of the film industry there. The program also brings the filmmakers together with each other and with a renowned group of advisors, major figures in the African film world, for support and mentorship. Past short films to come out of the Program have been showcased at the Sundance, Toronto, London, and Berlin Film Festivals; on The Africa Channel; and with the Museum of the Moving Image and the Film Society of Lincoln Center, among other venues worldwide. Compilations of films completed through the Program are available on DVD and across VOD and EST platforms. Complete details on Africa First – including application information – can be accessed year-round through www.focusfeatures.com/africafirst.

Africa First is supervised by Program Director and producer Kisha 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 of Africa First will visit New York City in the fall of 2013 for a weekend of one-on-one workshop discussions with each other; members of the advisory board of experts in African cinema; such Focus executives 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.

Mr. Schamus said, “The Africa First Program’s commitment to short films and new filmmakers continues into a new digital age, when it is particularly exciting to be moving the program forward and to help get these storytellers’ works made and seen.”

In 2008, the Africa First Program selected these filmmakers and their respective films; Mr. Edouard Bamporiki (from Rwanda) for Long Coat, Ms. Jenna Bass (from South Africa) for The Tunnel, Mr. Jan-Hendrik Beetge (from South Africa) for The Abyss Boys, Ms. Dyana Gaye (from Senegal) for N’Dar (a.k.a. St. Louis Blues), and Ms. Wanuri Kahiu (from Kenya) for Pumzi [Breath]. The winning filmmakers for 2009 were Mr. Stephen Abbott (from South Africa) for Dirty Laundry, Mr. Matt Bishanga (from Uganda) for A Good Catholic Girl, Mr. Daouda Coulibaly (from Mali) for Tinye So, Mr. Matthew Jankes (from South Africa) for Umkhungo, and Ms. Rungano Nyoni (from Zambia) for The Adventures of Mwansa the Great. The 2010 filmmakers chosen were Ms. Chika Anadu (from Nigeria) for The Marriage Factor; Mr. Lev David (from South Africa) for Down; Ms. Jacqueline Kalimunda (from Rwanda) for Sky Burning Down; Ms. Ebele Okoye (from Nigeria) for The Legacy of Rubies; and Mr. Julius Onah (from Nigeria) for Nepa Don Quench. The filmmakers selected in 2011 were Ms. Oshosheni Hiveluah (from Namibia) for 100 Bucks; Mr. Cedric Ido (from Burkina Faso) for Twaaga [Invincible]; Mr. Mark Middlewick (from South Africa) for Late Night Security; Ms. Akosua Adoma Owusu (from Ghana) for Kwaku Ananse; and Mr. Zelalem Woldemariam (from Ethiopia) for Adamet [Listen]. The winning filmmakers for 2012 were Mr. Vincent Moloi (from South Africa) for Berea; Mr. Jeremiah Mosese (from Lesotho) for Mosongoa [The Mocked One]; Ms. Ekwa Msangi-Omari (from Tanzania) for Soko [The Market]; Ms. Samantha Nell (from South Africa) for One Way Ticket; and Mr. William Nicholson (from South Africa) for The Second Law.

For 2013, the submissions period begins on Monday, June 10th and runs through Monday, August 19th, with applications needing to be received by Thursday, August 29th. The five filmmakers selected will be notified by October and will 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.

Completion is developing feature, documentary, and television projects. Its president, Mrs. Dingle, previously worked as director of development at Walden Media, and as an executive at New Line Cinema, where she oversaw the development and production of Spike Lee’s Bamboozled.

The Africa First Program advisory board members are Ms. 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; Ms. Sharifa Johka, film programmer and independent producer; Mr. Pedro Pimenta, producer and manager of training programs throughout South Africa; and Mr. Keith Shiri, founder/director of the Africa at the Pictures film festival in the U.K.

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Fourth-year Winners of Focus Features' Africa First Program Announced

Posted October 06, 2011

FOURTH-YEAR WINNERS OF FOCUS FEATURES’ AFRICA FIRST PROGRAM ANNOUNCED
$10,000 IN FINANCING GOES TO FIVE NEW MOVIEMAKERS FOR THEIR SHORT FILMS

NEW YORK, October 6th, 2011 – For a fourth consecutive year, Focus Features’ Africa First program for short films, the worldwide film company’s initiative earmarked exclusively for emerging filmmakers of African nationality and residence, has awarded five filmmakers $10,000 apiece, Focus CEO James Schamus announced today.

The uniquely conceived initiative offers eligible and participating filmmakers the chance to be awarded the $10,000 in financing for pre-production, production, and/or post-production on their narrative short film made in continental Africa and tapping into the resources of the film industry there. Of equal importance, the program brings the filmmakers together with each other and with a renowned group of advisors, major figures in the African film world, for support and mentorship. The short films coming out of the program have been showcased at the Sundance, Toronto, and Berlin Film Festivals; the Film Society of Lincoln Center; and the Museum of the Moving Image, among other venues worldwide. Africa First, Volume I, a two-hour compilation of short films made by previous filmmakers in the program, is now available on DVD and across VOD and EST platforms. Details on the program are accessible year-round through www.focusfeatures.com/africafirst.

The winning filmmakers for 2011 are Ms. Oshosheni Hiveluah (from Namibia); Mr. Cedric Ido (from Burkina Faso); Mr. Mark Middlewick (from South Africa); Ms. Akosua Adoma Owusu (from Ghana); and Mr. Zelalem Woldemariam (from Ethiopia).

The short films that they will be directing are, respectively, 100 Bucks, an immersion into the Namibian capital of Windhoek through the progress of a piece of currency; Twaaga [Invincible], blending live action and animation in the tale of a young boy’s quest to be a superhero; Late Night Security, in which the night guard at a shopping center finds solace and friendship from an unlikely source; Kwaku Anase, adapting into live action and animation a traditional West African story about a student’s family secret; and Adamet [Listen], powered by the music of Ethiopian culture in its story of a talented drummer who encounters a deaf woman.

Mr. Schamus said, “I’m continually impressed by the range of great young artists we meet through Africa First – each filmmaker has a distinctive vision and voice, and I look forward to learning from them at our summit.”

Producer Kisha Cameron-Dingle, who serves as program director of Africa First, added, “We are particularly proud of the diversity and ambition in this year’s solid group, with new storytellers coming from several countries contributing to the program for the first time.”

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

In 2008, the Africa First Program selected these filmmakers and their respective films; Mr. Edouard Bamporiki (from Rwanda) for Long Coat, Ms. Jenna Bass (from South Africa) for The Tunnel, Mr. Jan-Hendrik Beetge (from South Africa) for The Abyss Boys, Ms. Dyana Gaye (from Senegal) for N’Dar (a.k.a. St. Louis Blues), and Ms. Wanuri Kahiu (from Kenya) for Pumzi [Breath]. The winning filmmakers for 2009 were Mr. Stephen Abbott (from South Africa) for Dirty Laundry, Mr. Matt Bishanga (from Uganda) for A Good Catholic Girl, Mr. Daouda Coulibaly (from Mali) for Tinye So, Mr. Matthew Jankes (from South Africa) for Umkhungo, and Ms. Rungano Nyoni (from Zambia) for The Adventures of Mwansa the Great. The 2010 filmmakers chosen were Ms. Chika Anadu (from Nigeria) for The Marriage Factor; Mr. Lev David (from South Africa) for Boy and Bear; Ms. Jacqueline Kalimunda (from Rwanda) for Sky Burning Down; Ms. Ebele Okoye (from Nigeria) for The Legacy of Rubies; and Mr. Julius Onah (from Nigeria) for Nepa Don Quench.

The submissions period ran from May 16th through August 22nd. The five filmmakers 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.

Completion is developing feature, documentary, and television projects. Its president, Mrs. Cameron-Dingle, previously worked as director of development at Walden Media, and as an executive at New Line Cinema, where she oversaw the development and production of Spike Lee’s Bamboozled.

The Africa First advisory board members are Ms. Mahen Bonetti, founder/executive director of the African Film Festival, Inc.; journalist/documentary filmmaker Ms. Jihan El-Tahiri; Ms. June Givanni, who programmed the Toronto International Film Festival’s Planet Africa series; Ms. Sharifa Johka, producer/founder of the African Voices Cinema Series; Mr. Pedro Pimenta, producer/director of the Dockenama Film Festival; and Mr. Keith Shiri, founder/director of the Africa at the Pictures film festival in the U.K. 

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2011 Entry Period for Focus Features' Africa First Program to Commence May 16th

Posted March 02, 2011

2011 ENTRY PERIOD FOR FOCUS FEATURES’
AFRICA FIRST PROGRAM TO COMMENCE MAY 16th;
$10,000 IN FINANCING APIECE EARMARKED FOR NEW FILMMAKERS

NEW YORK, March 2nd, 2011 – Focus Features will accept entries for its Africa First Program – entering its fourth year – beginning Monday, May 16th and continuing through Monday, August 22nd. Focus CEO James Schamus made the announcement today.

The uniquely conceived initiative, with funds earmarked exclusively for emerging filmmakers of African nationality and residence, is for the fourth consecutive year offering eligible and 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 and tapping into the resources of the film industry there. The program also brings the filmmakers together with each other and with a renowned group of advisors, major figures in the African film world, for support and mentorship. Complete details on Africa First – including application information – can be accessed year-round through www.focusfeatures.com/africafirst.

Mr. Schamus said, “Everyone at Focus is excited to welcome the next class of Africa First filmmakers to New York. Aside from the incredible films we get to see being hatched, it’s also simply enormous fun hosting the Africa First advisors and filmmakers each fall!”

Mrs. Cameron-Dingle added, “I believe that the success of Africa First is encouraging to everyone in the world film industry, so we are proud to have the Program going strong and coming of age.”

Past short films to come out of the program have been showcased at the Sundance, Toronto, and Berlin Film Festivals; and with the Museum of the Moving Image and the Film Society of Lincoln Center, among other venues worldwide. The latter will be screening a ninety-minute compilation of films completed through the Program on Thursday, April 7th at Manhattan’s Walter Reade Theatre. A separate two-hour compilation of films completed through the Program, Africa First: Volume One, will be issued on internet platforms on April 26th, and on DVD on May 10th.

Africa First is supervised by producer Kisha Cameron-Dingle (…Sometimes in April), whose Completion Films company has a first-look and consulting deal with Focus, and who coordinates the Program’s submissions and evaluations with Focus director of production Matthew Plouffe. In addition to on-site work in Africa, the winning filmmakers of Africa First will visit New York City in the fall of 2011 for a weekend of one-on-one workshop discussions with each other; members of the advisory board of experts in African cinema; such Focus executives as Mr. Schamus and president of production John Lyons, covering topics like international distribution and the economics of studio financing; and Mrs. Cameron-Dingle and Mr. Plouffe.

In 2008, the Africa First Program selected these filmmakers and their respective films; Mr. Edouard Bamporiki (from Rwanda) for Long Coat, Ms. Jenna Bass (from South Africa) for The Tunnel, Mr. Jan-Hendrik Beetge (from South Africa) for The Abyss Boys, Ms. Dyana Gaye (from Senegal) for N’Dar (a.k.a. St. Louis Blues), and Ms. Wanuri Kahiu (from Kenya) for Pumzi [Breath]. The winning filmmakers for 2009 were Mr. Stephen Abbott (from South Africa) for Dirty Laundry, Mr. Matt Bishanga (from Uganda) for A Good Catholic Girl, Mr. Daouda Coulibaly (from Mali) for Tinye So, Mr. Matthew Jankes (from South Africa) for Umkhungo, and Ms. Rungano Nyoni (from Zambia) for The Adventures of Mwansa the Great. The 2010 filmmakers chosen were Ms. Chika Anadu (from Nigeria) for The Marriage Factor; Mr. Lev David (from South Africa) for Boy and Bear; Ms. Jacqueline Kalimunda (from Rwanda) for Sky Burning Down; Ms. Ebele Okoye (from Nigeria) for The Legacy of Rubies; and Mr. Julius Onah (from Nigeria) for Nepa Don Quench.

This year, the submissions period begins on Monday, May 16th, 2011 and runs through Monday, August 22nd, 2011. The five filmmakers selected will be notified in late September 2011 and will 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.

Completion is developing feature, documentary, and television projects. Its president, Mrs. Cameron-Dingle, previously worked as director of development at Walden Media, and as an executive at New Line Cinema, where she oversaw the development and production of Spike Lee’s Bamboozled.

The Africa First advisory board members are Ms. 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, script editor and Head of Production at NFVF; Ms. Sharifa Johka, film programmer and independent producer; Mr. Pedro Pimenta, producer and manager of training programs throughout South Africa; and Mr. Keith Shiri, founder/director of the Africa at the Pictures film festival in the U.K.

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The Africa Channel Presents The World Television Premiere Of Focus Features’ Africa First Program’s Short Films From Young African Filmmakers, Honoring Black History Month In February

Posted January 31, 2011

Los Angeles, CA, January 31, 2011 - The Africa Channel, the first mainstream television network in the U.S. fully dedicated to showcasing the richness, diversity and beauty of modern Africa, will premiere four short films produced under Focus Features’ Africa First Program, as part of a series on young filmmakers that honors Black History Month in February.

On Friday, February 18 from 8-9 pm EST, The Africa Channel will open the young filmmakers’ series with the special Africa First: Behind the Cameras, followed by the 9-10 pm EST premiere of Saint Louis Blues, one of the films produced under the Africa First program banner.

Africa First: Behind the Cameras is a behind-the-scenes special on Focus Features’ unique Africa First initiative, which awards $10,000 production grants annually to African writer/directors and mentors the development and production of their short films. The special features interviews with Kisha Cameron-Dingle, Africa First program director; Matthew Plouffe, director of production for Focus Features; and members of the Africa First Advisory Board, which consists of an international panel of experts in African Cinema – Mahen Bonetti (founder and executive director of the African Film Festival), Jihan El-Tahri (journalist and documentary filmmaker), June Givanni (programmer of the Toronto International Film Festival’s “Planet Africa” series), Sharifa Johka (film programmer and independent producer), Clarence Hamilton (story editor and head of production at South Africa’s National Film and Video Foundation), and Keith Shiri (founder/director of the Africa at the Pictures Film Festival).

Following the special, The Africa Channel will present the world television premiere of Saint Louis Blues, written and directed by Dyana Gaye of Senegal, which was an Official Selection at the 2010 Sundance, Rotterdam, and Toronto International Film Festivals.

On Friday, February 25 from 8-10 pm EST, The Africa Channel will premiere three additional critically acclaimed shorts produced under the Africa First banner. The first of the trio is The Abyss Boys, written and directed by Jan-Hendrik Beetge of South Africa. 

It will be followed by a groundbreaking science-fiction film written and directed by Wanuri Kahiu of Kenya entitled Pumzi [Breath], an Official Selection at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival and the winner of the 2010 Cannes Festival Award for Independent Short Film. The final short from the first group of filmmakers in the annual series is The Tunnel, written and directed by Zimbabwean Jenna Bass, an Official Selection of the 2010 Sundance and Berlin International Film Festivals.

“The Africa Channel is honored to premiere these outstanding films produced under Focus Features’ Africa First short film Program and to provide a much-needed platform for young filmmakers around the continent to showcase their work,” said Bob Reid, EVP and General Manager, The Africa Channel. “We are confident that our viewers will be truly amazed by the originality and production quality delivered by these young filmmakers and thoroughly entertained by the unique vision of these short films that will be making their world television debut on the network.”

“These films represent not just a range of enormous talent from across Africa, but, simply put, some of the most dynamic and accomplished young voices in world cinema, period,” said James Schamus, CEO, Focus Features.

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Third-Year Winners of Focus Features' Africa First Program Announced

Posted October 12, 2010

THIRD-YEAR WINNERS OF FOCUS FEATURES’
AFRICA FIRST PROGRAM ANNOUNCED;
 $10,000 FOR SHORT FILMS AWARDED TO CHIKA ANADU, LEV DAVID, JACQUELINE KALIMUNDA, EBELE OKOYE, JULIUS ONAH

NEW YORK, October 12th, 2010 – Focus Features’ Africa First Program for short films, the worldwide film company’s initiative earmarked exclusively for emerging filmmakers of African nationality and residence, has for a third consecutive year awarded five filmmakers $10,000 apiece. The five selected were announced today by Focus Features CEO James Schamus.

The uniquely conceived initiative offers eligible and participating filmmakers the chance to be awarded the $10,000 in financing for pre-production, production, and/or post-production on their narrative short film made in continental Africa and tapping into the resources of the film industry there. Of equal importance, the program brings the filmmakers together with each other and with a renowned group of advisors, major figures in the African film world, for support and mentorship. The short films coming out of the program have since been showcased at the Sundance, Toronto, and Berlin Film Festivals; the Film Society of Lincoln Center; and the Museum of the Moving Image, among other venues worldwide. Details on the program are accessible year-round through www.focusfeateures.com/africafirst.

The winning filmmakers for 2010 are Ms. Chika Anadu (from Nigeria); Mr. Lev David (from South Africa); Ms. Jacqueline Kalimunda (from Rwanda); Ms. Ebele Okoye (from Nigeria); and Mr. Julius Onah (from Nigeria).

The short films that they will be directing are, respectively, The Marriage Factor, a contemporary comedy/drama about a young woman and her marriage-minded mother; Boy and Bear, a fable in which a lonely little boy faces up to a monster; Sky Burning Down, a thriller about an illegal immigrant caught in a moral quandary; The Legacy of Rubies, the folk tale-inspired animated account of a young man about to wear the crown in a monarchy; and Nepa Don Quench, a drama about a summer holiday that becomes a test of a family’s mettle.

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

Mr. Schamus commented, “These five filmmakers are pushing boundaries – geographical and narrative. Once again, everyone at Focus is excited to meet them and get to know this next generation of talent from Africa.”

Mrs. Cameron-Dingle said, “Matt and I are thrilled to lend support to these men and women. We hadn’t yet had a Nigerian filmmaker in the program, but this third time was clearly the charm – we now have several.”

The submission period ran from May 17th-September 3rd, 2010. The five filmmakers 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.

Completion is developing feature, documentary, and television projects. Its president, Ms. Cameron, previously worked as director of development at Walden Media, and as an executive at New Line Cinema, where she oversaw the development and production of Spike Lee’s Bamboozled.

The Africa First advisory board members are Ms. 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, script editor and Head of Production at NFVF; Mr. Pedro Pimenta, producer and manager of training programs throughout South Africa; and Mr. Keith Shiri, founder/director of the Africa at the Pictures film festival in the U.K.

Africa First alumni from the first two years of the program are Mr. Stephen Abbott, for Dirty Laundry; Mr. Edouard Bamporiki, for Long Coat; Ms. Jenna Bass, for The Tunnel; Mr. Jan-Hendrik Beetge, for The Abyss Boys; Mt. Matt Bishanga, for  A Good Catholic Girl; Ms. Daouda Coulibaly, for As Long As Bozos Sing; Ms. Dyana Gaye, for N’Dar [St. Louis Blues]; Mr. Matthew Jankes, for Umkhungo; Ms. Wanuri Kahiu, for Pumzi [Breath]; and Ms. Rungano Nyoni, for The Adventures of Mwansa the Great.

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Africa First Class of 2009 Awards and Festivals

Posted August 25, 2010

Catch up with the Africa First Class of 2009 award recipients. Below, find out which festivals accepted their films and which awards they have received.

THE TUNNEL
Director: Jenna Bass/South Africa

FESTIVAL LIST
- Sundance 2010
- Berlinale 2010
- New York African Film Festival 2010
- Sehsuechte, Potsdam 2010 (Fokus-Dialogue Award)
- Chennai Women's Film Festival, India 2010
- Festival Panafrica, Canada 2010
- Seattle International Film Festival, USA 2010
- FCAT, Spain 2010
- In the Palace, Bulgaria 2010
- Moscow International Film Festival, Russia 2010
- Puchon Fantastic Film Festival, Korea 2010
- Durban International Film Festival, South Africa 2010
- Black Harvest Film Festival, Chicago USA 2010

 

SAINT LOUIS BLUES (Un transport en commun)
Director: Dyana Gaye/Senegal

AWARDS
- Audience Award for Best Short Film - Festival international du Film de Belfort 2009
- AsiaAfrica Best Short Award - Dubai International Film Festival 2009
- Best Short Film - Festival Cinema Africano Milan 2010
- Audience Award for Best Short Film - Festival International de Films de Femmes Créteil 2010
- Audience Award - Festival de cinéma jeune public Les Toiles Filantes- Pessac 2010
- Audience Award - Rencontres du Moyen Métrage de Brive 2010

FESTIVAL LIST
2009
- Festival du Film Locarno 2009
- Rencontres Cinématographiques de
Gindou 2009
- Toronto International Film Festival 2009
- Festival International du Film Francophone de Namur 2009
- Festival des cinémas d’Afrique du pays d’Apt 2009
- Festival des 3 continents - Nantes 2009
- Festival international du Film de Belfort 2009
- Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival 2009
- Dubai International Film Festival 2009
- International Film Festival of Kerala 2009
- Ion International Film Festival 2009
2010
- Sundance International Film Festival 2010
- International Film Festival Rotterdam 2010
- Göteborg International Film Festival 2010
- Festival International du Court Métrage de Clermont-Ferrand 2010
- Festival Ciné Junior (International Film Festival for Young People) Paris 2010
- Festival de Films des Autres Mondes - Black Movie - Genève 2010
- Hors Pistes Festival Centre Pompidou - Paris 2010
- CinemAfrica Film Festival Stockholm 2010
- Chennai International Women’s Film Festival 2010
- Cinema Novo Festival - Brugge 2010
- Festival Cinema Africano - Milan 2010
- Festival International des Scénaristes - Bourges 2010
- Festival International de Films de Femmes - Créteil 2010
- African Film Festival - New York 2010
- Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival- 2010
- Festival Vues d’Afrique - Montréal 2010
- Festival de cinéma jeune public Les Toiles Filantes- Pessac 2010
- Rencontres du Moyen Métrage de Brive 2010
- Festival International du Cinéma et de l’Audiovisuel du Burundi 2010
- Festival de Cinema Africano - Tarifa 2010
- Mostra Internacional de Films de Dones de Barcelona 2010
- Curtas Vila do Conde 2010 (from 07/03/2010 to 07/11/2010)
- Durban International Film Festival 2010
- Black Harvest Film Festival - Chicago 2010
- CPH:DOX - Copenhagen Int. Documentary Film Festival 2010

 

PUMZI
Director: Wanuri Kahiu/Kenya

FESTIVAL LIST
- Kenya International Film Festival - Oct 2009
- Sundance Film Festival - Jan 2010
- Goethe Institute's Latitude Film Festival at the 61st Berlinale Film Festival - Feb 2010
- CineAfric Film Festival Stockholm - Feb 2010
- New York African Film Festival - 2010
- Cannes Independent Film Festival - May 2010*
- Cannes International Film Festival (short film corner) - May 2010
- Tarifa Film Festival - May 2010
- Africa on the Screen, South Africa - May 2010
- Images that Matter Short Film Festival, Ethiopia - June 2010
- LA Short Film Festival - July 2010

AWARDS LIST
- Best Short Film – 2010 Cannes International Short Film Festival (CIFF)
- Special Jury Prize – 2010 Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF)
- Peace Basket Award – 2010 Rwanda Film Festival
- For Wanuri Kahiu - Priz Città di Venezia - City of Venice Prize, Venice International Film Festival
- Durban International Film Festival, South Africa - 2010
- Zanzibar International Film Festival - July 2010*
- Rwanda Film Festival - July 2010*
- Toronto After Dark Film Festival - 2010
- African Film Festival Verona - Sept 2010
- Venice Film Festival (special screening) - Sept 2010
- Festival du Film D'Afrique et des Iles, Iles de la Réunion - Sept 2010
- African Film Festival Tokyo - Nov 2010
- Imagem Dos Povos, Brazil - 2010
- Black Harvest Film Festival, Chicago USA - 2010
- Africa in the Picture, Amsterdam - 2010
- Dubai International Film Festival, - Dec 2010

 

THE ABYSS BOYS
Director: Jan-Hendrik Beetge/South Africa

FESTIVAL LIST
- 17th New York African Film Festival
- Athens International Film Festival
- Culture Unplugged International Film Festival
- The Leiden International Short Film Festival
- CFC Worldwide Short Film Festival Market
- Festival de Cine Africano de Tarifa
- Goethe Institute's Latitude Film Festival at the 61st Berlinale Film Festival
- Innsbruck International Film Festival
- Jenseits von Europa - Filme aus Afrika in Cologne
- Imagen Dos Povos Festival in Brazil
- 63rd Festival de Cannes Film Market

AWARDS LIST
- Best Short Film at the African Movie Academy Awards.
- Special Mention at the Durban International Film Festival

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2010 Applications Deadline for Africa First Extended to September 3rd!

Posted August 10, 2010

Africa First

2010 Applications Deadline for Africa First Extended to September 3rd!

Following requests from filmmakers to Focus Features’ Africa First program director Kisha Cameron-Dingle and Focus director of production Matthew Plouffe at the recent Durban FilmMart in South Africa, the 2010 applications for Focus Features’ Africa First program have been granted a DEADLINE EXTENTION; applications will now be accepted through FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 3rd.

The uniquely conceived initiative, with funds earmarked exclusively for emerging filmmakers of African nationality and residence, is for the third consecutive year offering eligible and 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 and tapping into the resources of the film industry there.  

Complete details on Africa First – including application information – can be accessed through www.focusfeatures.com/africafirst.

 

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Focus Features' Africa First Program to Open 2010 Entry Period May 17th

Posted May 14, 2010

For Third Year, $10,000 in financing apiece earmarked for new filmmakers

NEW YORK, May 4th, 2010 – Building on the success of the program’s first two years, Focus Features will accept entries for a third year of its Africa First Program beginning Monday, May 17th and continuing through Monday, August 3rd. Focus CEO James Schamus made the announcement today.

The uniquely conceived initiative, with funds earmarked exclusively for emerging filmmakers of African nationality and residence, is for the third consecutive year offering eligible and 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 and tapping into the resources of the film industry there. The program also brings the filmmakers together with each other and with a renowned group of advisors, major figures in the African film world, for support and mentorship. Complete details on Africa First – including application information – can be accessed through www.focusfeatures.com/africafirst.

Past short films to come out of the program have been showcased at the Sundance, Toronto, and Berlin Film Festivals and the Film Society of Lincoln Center, among other venues worldwide. Africa First is supervised by producer Kisha Cameron-Dingle (…Sometimes in April), whose Completion Films company has a first-look and consulting deal with Focus, and who coordinates the Program’s submissions and evaluations with Focus director of production Matthew Plouffe. In addition to on-site work in Africa, the winning filmmakers of Africa First will visit New York City in the fall of 2010 for a weekend of one-on-one workshop discussions with each other; members of the advisory board of experts in African cinema; such Focus executives as Mr. Schamus and president of production John Lyons, covering topics like international distribution and the economics of studio financing; and Mrs. Cameron-Dingle and Mr. Plouffe.

Mr. Schamus said, “The entry period for the Africa First Program is when we seek out the next generation of filmmakers and seek to help them bring their dreams and visions to the screen.”

Mrs. Cameron-Dingle added, “Whether a thriller, musical, or sci-fi tale, films from the Africa First Program have generated audience and industry attention, and we want to keep cultivating that diversity of material and new talent.” In 2008, the Africa First Program selected these filmmakers and their respective films; Mr. Edouard Bamporiki (from Rwanda) for Long Coat, Ms. Jenna Bass (from South Africa) for The Tunnel, Mr. Jan-Hendrik Beetge (from South Africa) for The Abyss Boys, Ms. Dyana Gaye (from Senegal) for N’Dar (a.k.a. St. Louis Blues), and Ms. Wanuri Kahiu (from Kenya) for Pumzi [Breath]. The winning filmmakers for 2009 were Mr. Stephen Abbott (from South Africa) for Dirty Laundry, Mr. Matt Bishanga (from Uganda) for A Good Catholic Girl, Mr. Daouda Coulibaly (from Mali) for Tinye So, Mr. Matthew Jankes (from South Africa) for Umkhungo, and Ms. Rungano Nyoni (from Zambia) for The Adventures of Mwansa the Great.

This year, the submissions period begins on May 16th, 2010 and runs through July 17th, 2010. The five filmmakers selected will be notified in late September 2010 and will 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.

Completion is developing feature, documentary, and television projects. Its president, Mrs. Cameron-Dingle, previously worked as director of development at Walden Media, and as an executive at New Line Cinema, where she oversaw the development and production of Spike Lee’s Bamboozled.

The Africa First advisory board members are Ms. 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, script editor and Head of Production at NFVF; Ms. Sharifa Johka, film programmer and independent producer; Mr. Pedro Pimenta, producer and manager of training programs throughout South Africa; and Mr. Keith Shiri, founder/director of the Africa at the Pictures film festival in the U.K.

Focus Features and Focus Features International (www.focusfeatures.com) comprise a singular global company. This worldwide studio makes original and daring films that challenge the mainstream to embrace and enjoy voices and visions from around the world that deliver global commercial success. The company operates as Focus Features in North America, and as Focus Features International (FFI) in the rest of the world.

Current and upcoming Focus Features releases include Greenberg, from writer/director Noah Baumbach and starring Ben Stiller; the unique nonfiction feature Babies, directed by Thomas Balmès; Anton Corbijn’s suspense thriller The American, starring George Clooney; writer/directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck’s It’s Kind of a Funny Story; Academy Award-winning writer/director Sofia Coppola’s Somewhere; Kevin Macdonald’s Roman epic adventure The Eagle of the Ninth, starring Channing Tatum, Jamie Bell, Donald Sutherland, and Mark Strong; Joe Wright’s adventure thriller Hanna, starring Saoirse Ronan, Cate Blanchett, and Eric Bana; Cary Fukunaga’s romantic drama Jane Eyre, starring Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender; and Lisa Cholodenko’s The Kids Are All Right, starring Annette Bening, Julianne Moore, and Mark Ruffalo.

Focus Features and Focus Features International are part of NBC Universal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience. Formed in May 2004 through the combining of NBC and Vivendi Universal Entertainment, NBC Universal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, and world-renowned theme parks. NBC Universal is 80% owned by General Electric and 20% owned by Vivendi.

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FOCUS' AFRICA FIRST PROGRAM OPENS 2009 ENTRY PERIOD MONDAY, JUNE 1st

Posted May 29, 2009

$10,000 IN FINANCING APIECE EARMARKED FOR 5 NEW FILMMAKERS


NEW YORK, May 28th, 2009 – Following the success of last year’s inaugural program, Focus Features will on Monday, June 1st, begin accepting entries for a second year of its Africa First Program. The uniquely conceived initiative, with funds earmarked specifically for emerging filmmakers of African nationality and residence, offers eligible and 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 and tapping into the resources of the film industry there. Complete details on Africa First – including application information – can be accessed through  http://www.filminfocus.com/africafirst. Focus CEO James Schamus made the announcement today.

Launched in 2008, Africa First last fall awarded $10,000 apiece to five winning filmmakers; Mr. Edouard Bamporiki (from Rwanda), Ms. Jenna Bass (from South Africa), Mr. Jan-Hendrik Beetge (also from South Africa), Ms. Dyana Gaye (from Senegal), and Ms. Wanuri Kahiu (from Kenya). Their short films are, respectively, Long Coat, a drama about a young Hutu coming to terms with Rwanda’s and his own family’s past; The Tunnel, a 1980s-set story centering around a 10-year-old girl’s quest; The Abyss Boys, a thriller about an illegal trade in a small fishing town; the public transportation musical N’Dar [Saint Louis Blues]; and Pumzi [Breath], a futuristic sci-fi tale.

Africa First is supervised by producer Kisha Imani Cameron (…Sometimes in April), whose Completion Films company has a first-look and consulting deal with Focus, and who coordinates Africa First submissions and evaluations with Focus director of production Matthew Plouffe. In addition to on-site work in Africa, the winning filmmakers of Africa First also participate in a New York City weekend of one-on-one workshop discussions with members of the program’s international advisory board of experts in African cinema and such Focus executives as Mr. Schamus and president of production John Lyons, covering such topics as international distribution and the economics of studio financing; and with Ms. Cameron and Mr. Plouffe.

Offering practical support in addition to the fiscal backing, the reconvening Africa First board members are Ms. 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, script editor and Head of Production at NFVF; Mr. Pedro Pimenta, producer and manager of training programs throughout South Africa; and Mr. Keith Shiri, founder/director of the Africa at the Pictures film festival in the U.K.

Five (5) filmmakers will be awarded $10,000 apiece. The submission period begins on Monday, June 1st, 2009 and runs through Saturday, August 1st, 2009.  The five filmmakers selected will retain the copyrights and the distribution rights to their completed shorts, with the exception of North American rights; Focus will retain those, as well as the right of first negotiation to productions derived from the shorts, such as a feature-length expansion. The announcement of the selections will be made on or about October 1st, 2009.

Mr. Schamus said, “Last year’s Africa First experience was a gift to all of us at Focus – a journey of discovery that led us to great new talents in cinema. This year’s Africa First initiative will once again do just that.”

Ms. Cameron added, “From start to finish, last year’s program was extraordinary, and I’m thrilled that Focus is making it happen for us again. I look forward to meeting another group of promising African filmmakers whom Africa First is supporting.”

Focus Features and Focus Features International (FFI) (http://www.filminfocus.com) together comprise a singular global company, dedicated to producing, acquiring, financing, selling, and distributing original and daring films from emerging and established filmmakers – films that challenge mainstream moviegoers to embrace and enjoy voices and visions from around the world. The company’s flexible and nuanced approach to distribution allows it to support a wide range of films, from those geared to a single local market to worldwide hits. The company operates as Focus Features domestically, and as Focus Features International overseas.

Domestically, the Focus Features slate includes Cary Joji Fukunaga’s epic dramatic thriller Sin Nombre, winner of 2 awards at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival; writer/director Jim Jarmusch’s The Limits of Control, starring Isaach De Bankolé; Away We Go, directed by Academy Award winner Sam Mendes and starring John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph; Shane Acker’s animated fantasy epic 9, starring Elijah Wood and Jennifer Connelly and produced by Tim Burton and Timur Bekmambetov; Academy Award-winning writer/director Sofia Coppola’s Somewhere; Greenberg, the new film from writer/director Noah Baumbach, starring Ben Stiller; Academy Award-winning writer/directors Joel and Ethan Coen’s A Serious Man; and Taking Woodstock, the new film from Academy Award-winning director Ang Lee.

Focus Features and Focus Features International are part of NBC Universal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience. Formed in May 2004 through the combining of NBC and Vivendi Universal Entertainment, NBC Universal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment networks, a
premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, and world-renowned theme parks. NBC Universal is 80% owned by General Electric and 20% owned by Vivendi.

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WINNING FILMMAKERS OF FOCUS FEATURES AFRICA FIRST PROGRAM VISITING NEW YORK CITY

Posted November 03, 2008

NEW YORK, November 3rd, 2008 – Fulfilling the commitment announced earlier this fall, the five filmmakers being awarded $10,000 apiece in Focus Features’ Africa First Program, an initiative earmarked exclusively for emerging filmmakers of African nationality and residence, arrived in New York City last weekend.

Workshops got underway last Friday, entailing 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; and producer Kisha Imani Cameron and Focus creative executive Matthew Plouffe, who coordinated Africa First submissions and evaluations.

When taking a break from these conferences and production meetings on their own projects, the filmmakers are also getting a taste of New York City through group dinners in Manhattan and Brooklyn; sightseeing; a matinee of the Tony Award-winning Broadway hit In the Heights; and a private advance screening of an upcoming Focus release, after which the film’s director met with the quintet.

Mr. Schamus commented, “Amidst the headlong rush of the fall movie season, it’s been a tremendous pleasure taking the time to share experiences and perspectives with this wonderfully talented group of filmmakers. We’re honored to have them here with us in New York.”

Earlier this year, Focus offered participating filmmakers the chance to be awarded the financing for production and/or post-production on their narrative short film made in continental Africa and tapping the resources of the film industry there. Complete details on Africa First can be accessed through www.filminfocus.com/africafirst.

The winning filmmakers comprise three women and two men; Mr. Edouard Bamporiki (from Rwanda), Ms. Jenna Bass (from South Africa), Mr. Jan-Hendrik Beetge (also from South Africa), Ms. Dyana Gaye (from Senegal), and Ms. Wanuri Kahiu (from Kenya).

The short films that they will be directing are, respectively, Long Coat, a drama about a young Hutu coming to terms with Rwanda’s and his own family’s past; The Tunnel, a 1980s-set story centering around a 10-year-old girl’s quest; The Abyss Boys, a thriller about an illegal trade in a small fishing town; the public transportation musical N’Dar [Saint Louis Blues]; and Pumzi [Breath], a futuristic sci-fi tale.
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The submission period began on May 12th, 2008 and ran through July 15th, 2008. The winners were announced on September 24th, 2008. All five filmmakers 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 Africa First advisory board members are Ms. 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. Gaston Kaboré, filmmaker and professor; Mr. Pedro Pimenta, manager of training programs throughout South Africa; and Mr. Keith Shiri, founder/director of the Africa at the Pictures film festival in the U.K.

Ms. Cameron’s production company, Completion Films, has a first-look and consulting deal with Focus.

Focus Features and Focus Features International (http://www.filminfocus.com/) together comprise a singular global company. This worldwide studio makes original and daring films that challenge the mainstream to embrace and enjoy voices and visions from around the world that deliver global commercial success. The company operates as Focus Features domestically, and as Focus Features International (FFI) overseas.

Domestically, the Focus Features slate includes Gus Van Sant’s Milk, nominated for 8 Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor (Sean Penn); from LAIKA Entertainment, Henry Selick’s 3-D stop-motion animated feature Coraline, starring Dakota Fanning and Teri Hatcher; Cary Joji Fukunaga’s epic dramatic thriller Sin Nombre, winner of 2 awards at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival; writer/director Jim Jarmusch’s The Limits of Control, starring Isaach De Bankolé; Away We Go, directed by Academy Award winner Sam Mendes and starring John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph; Shane Acker’s animated fantasy epic 9, starring Elijah Wood and Jennifer Connelly; Academy Award-winning writer/directors Joel and Ethan Coen’s A Serious Man; and Taking Woodstock, the new film from Academy Award-winning director Ang Lee.

Focus Features International (FFI) produces, finances, sells, and/or distributes films whether geared to local markets or seeking commercial exposure worldwide. The FFI production pipeline (formerly known as the production arm of Universal Pictures International), produces and acquires product from emerging and established filmmakers. Overseas distribution is nuanced and tailored to suit each film, from direct distribution through Universal Pictures International (UPI), for films such as Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds, starring Brad Pitt, in one or more territories; to the licensing of distribution rights independently through FFI, for films such as Brandon Camp’s Traveling, starring Jennifer Aniston and Aaron Eckhart; or some combination of the two. Focus Features’ considerable domestic production/release slate is largely sold and/or distributed overseas by FFI.

The FFI slate includes AGORA, an historical epic from Academy Award-winning filmmaker Alejandro Amenábar, starring Academy Award winner Rachel Weisz; Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Biutiful, starring Academy Award winner Javier Bardem; This Side of the Truth, directed by Ricky Gervais and Matthew Robinson, and starring Mr. Gervais, Jennifer Garner, and Rob Lowe; Derek Yee’s Shinjuki Incident, starring Jackie Chan; and Academy Award-winning filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar’s new film Broken Embraces, starring Penélope Cruz.

Focus Features and Focus Features International are part of NBC Universal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience. Formed in May 2004 through the combining of NBC and Vivendi Universal Entertainment, NBC Universal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, and world-renowned theme parks. NBC Universal is 80% owned by General Electric and 20% owned by Vivendi.

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