The winners for the 2011 Africa First short film program have just been announced and they include 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).

For those unfamiliar, the program offers filmmakers of African nationality and residence 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. 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.

According to a press release, the short films they’ll 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.”

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.”

Past winners have showcased their films at various venues and film festivals including Sundance, Toronto and Berlin. The program is sponsored by Focus Features.

Congratulations to the winners and we look forward to following their progress.