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Grantees 2023: Film Development Fund Promotes Local African Storytellers

“The DW Akademie Film Development Fund has selected 15 filmmakers from Ethiopia, Tanzania, and Uganda – five from each country – to be the 2023 grantees and receive one year of funding, mentorship, and training opportunities”. 

The DW Akademie Film Development Fund was launched in 2021 and, in addition to the 2023 grantees, has already supported 15 filmmakers in developing their film projects. This is the first year that the Fund’s application process ran simultaneously for all three countries. With the Film Fund, DW Akademie is actively contributing to social change, freedom of expression, and the economic empowerment of local African storytellers. 

The program, supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), supports the grantees to work on the development of their films. Grantees will receive €10,000, be matched with an experienced script mentor for the duration of the program and have access to tailor-made training and networking opportunities. Workshops and skills development trainings will be led by industry professionals.

“One of the reasons the Film Fund has been successful is the growing community of film professionals that are involved and collectively contributing to the strength of the program,” said Lina Hartwieg, program director, DW Akademie Film Industries. “This also applies to many talented and motivated mentors who are more than willing to share their deep knowledge of the craft and the industry.”

Each successful grantee must have made at least one released film and have a ready concept for a feature-length documentary, fiction or hybrid film. The program is designed to support the filmmakers as they work to take their proposed films through the development stage.

“It is so rare that a film project gets funding this early and having an experienced filmmaker’s mentorship is a unique opportunity. I can’t think of a more perfect way to [grow] my filmmaking career!” said Abigail Megbar Debebe, a filmmaker from Ethiopia and 2023 grantee.

The program was made possible through close collaboration with the three lead country experts, Tamara Dawit for Ethiopia, Amil Shivji for Tanzania and Fibby Kioria for Uganda, who designed the training and mentoring program for 2023 and will accompany the 15 grantees through the funding year. 

“I am very excited about the selected grantees this year, especially with so many new voices, and their potential to tell personal stories with a communal impact,” said Shivji.

The Film Fund received a substantial number of submissions, out of which an independent jury reviewed a total of 63 applications. After careful consideration, a final selection of 15 was made. These following selected projects represent a diverse range of voices and perspectives that the Film Development Fund is eager to support: 


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