In December last year, the Academy for African Filmmakers (AAF) hosted educational seminars. The seminars were held in Cape Town, Nigeria and Kenya and aimed to provide aspiring and talented African filmmakers with practical skills development opportunities. The intensive three-day training courses offered aspiring filmmakers both theoretical and practical skills development opportunities, while honing their narrative prowess.
The Academy was launched in August 2014 by Unilever, through its Unilever Foundry platform and in partnership with MOFILM. The aim of the Academy is to facilitate the empowerment, development and equipping of African filmmakers while allowing them to apply what they are learning practically, by working on real Unilever briefs. This entailed competitively creating content for various Unilever brands.
“We received over 300 applications for attendance to the seminars, 160 grant applications and 50 competition entries,” confirmed MOFILM’s Kerry Gaffney. From the various applicants, between the ages of 16 and 30, 47 grants beneficiaries, various winners and one bursary recipient from each participating country were identified. The requirements for application included African residency, technical proficiency in filmmaking and a passion for film and storytelling.
The winners for their work on the Lux brand, all of whom are from South Africa, are; Jonathan Sidego (She Who Dares), Fabian Vettiger (Within Me) and Rainn Vlietnam (Ngozi Yakupendeza – (Beautiful Skin). The South Africans also scooped all three prizes for the Aromat brand – the winners are; David Franciscus (Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner), Pieter Lombaard (Quake or Shake) and Hisham Samie (Morning Glory). Project Sunlight winners are; Nigerian Daniel Effiong (Thato’s Dream), South African Tarha McKenzie (Little Changes for a Greater Impact) and Nigerian Taiwo Badejo (The 50k Project). The winners for the Sunlight brand category are all South African; Fabian Vettiger (Fingerprints), Zwelethu Radebe (Homecoming) and Illyze Myburgh (Sunlight Moments).
The Kenyan scholarship went to Chloe Genga, to attend the Shang Tao Media Arts College. Genga will attend the four month Certificate 3D Animation and Multimedia Course. Nobulali Kama was awarded the South African Scholarship. Kama has recently had her initial application interview at AFDA, Johannesburg, and is hoping to start a two-year Bachelor of Arts in Motion Picture Medium Course soon. The Nigerian scholarship went to Orosun Olanrewaju Elijah, to be utilised at the Brighton Film School.
“We are so excited that this Academy is illuminating the immense talent of our continent’s young African filmmakers. To see the fruit of our development efforts in the incredible works of art created is humbling,” concludes Peter Cowan, Unilever South Africa Chairman. “We congratulate the winners, thank all participants and tutors, and believe that the scholarships will enable Chloe, Nobulali and Orosun to realise all of their filmmaking dreams and aspirations.”