One of the stories in Greek Mythology features a character who’s sentenced to a life of pushing a massive boulder up a mountain, the rock keeps rolling back and he has to start all over again. This is his entire life for all time. And this is basically what filmmaking often feels like; insurmountable odds in every step from the creation to the distribution. Enter programs like Generation Africa and other fellowship programs that collaborate with filmmakers, helping them create and distribute their works and overall do society the great favour of stabilizing filmmakers’ mental health while distributing transformative stories from Africa by Africans. That is what we call a win, win, win.
Filmmaking is an intense and collaborative undertaking that is incredibly daunting especially when you’re just starting out. One of the biggest setbacks cited by filmmakers is lack of funds although that is increasingly less of a barrier given the availability of cheaper yet quality gear like cell phones with amazing cameras. Accordingly, most programs for filmmakers offer financial grants. Programs that are particularly helpful are those like Generation Africa that provide both financial and creative assistance at every stage of development of the creative project. This is especially valuable for filmmakers who have not had the opportunity to go to film school, and this is the majority of filmmakers. There is no dollar value that can be placed on having experienced collaborators throughout the process from creation to distribution. Such programs are simply put the Holy Grail.
Generation Africa is a documentary film project aimed at stimulating a new narrative on migration through stories made by African filmmakers and particularly young filmmakers. The project is presented by South African based non-profit Steps (Social Transformation and Empowerment Projects) through AfriDocs, the first and only free global streaming platform of African documentaries (www.afridocs.net).
Generation Africa is a collaboration with African filmmakers to create documentaries that will shift the current Euro-centric narrative on migration where negative images and portrayals of Africa and Africans are proliferated incessantly. The portrayal of Africa and Africans in this global debate on immigration is a war of narratives and this program hopes to help set the facts right by adding the voices of African filmmakers to the fray, having them shift this singular narrative while sharing stories that celebrate the achievements of African youth on the continent.
If this in any way piques your interest, you’ll be glad to know the applications for Generation Africa are open. Filmmakers can submit up to three story ideas in the form of a one-page synopsis, along with a CV, filmography, and links to previous works. Generation Africa is presented in partnership with Docubox in Kenya, NAFTI in Ghana and OuagaLab in Burkina Faso. The project is supported by Deutsche Welle Academie, The Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, and the Robert Bosch Stiftung.
Aside from the financial and creative help, the proliferation of such programs each focusing on different thematic areas and concerns offers a welcome challenge to filmmakers to push their boundaries and explore different themes and genres outside of their comfort zone which is a huge plus. If being part of new narratives about immigration and Africa through documentary films sound interesting to you, then visit www.steps.co.za for more information on the submission process for Generation Africa as well as the project in general. Film’s power to disrupt, shift and transform the world around us is often underestimated to our own detriment. Stories, narratives rule the world. Let’s tell our stories.
Speaking of telling transformative stories, here’s an opportunity for Kenyan filmmakers, poets and musicians Lenga Ugaidi Na Talanta Competition.