Africa First Program


New filmmakers across Africa are invited to enter their short film projects into Focus Features’ Africa First Program, now in its third year. The five winning applicants will each receive $10,000 a piece in film funding for their films. Entries close on 3 August and only filmmakers of African nationality and residence are eligible.

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.

Apart from awarding $10,000 for pre-production, production and/or post-production for the selected films, 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. More details and application information – can be accessed through

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 CEO James Schamus and president of production John Lyons, covering topics like international distribution and the

economics of studio financing; and Cameron-Dingle and Plouffe.

Said Schamus, “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

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.’

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.


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