On 16 September 2021, Netflix, the world’s leading entertainment streaming service, announced a commitment of $400 000 USD (approx. R5.5 million) in the form of a grant and creation of scholarships to extend the support for Black representation in the Film & TV industry to the creative ecosystem in South Africa.
The Netflix Black Creatives Empowerment Fund will be implemented in a two-pronged approach: the first being a $100,000 (approx. R1.4 million) grant in benefit of The Independent Black Filmmakers Collective NPC (IBFC), with the second being $300,000 (approx. R4.4 million) designated towards funding full scholarships at higher education institutions in South Africa to support the formal qualification and training of aspiring Black creatives in the film and TV disciplines.
“We recognise that being part of the local creative community in South Africa also comes with responsibilities, in particular the need to develop the talent pipeline and give new voices the chance to be heard,” says Ben Amadasun, Director of Content for Netflix in Africa. “Talent development is extremely important to us and we will continue to work with the industry in South Africa to support and develop new opportunities to grow the creative community.”
The $300,000 fund will provide financial assistance through full scholarships and graduate debt relief at higher educational institutions in South Africa to support the formal qualification and training of aspiring Black creatives in the film and TV disciplines. Institutions where qualifying students will be able to apply for scholarships and where debt relief opportunities will be available include:
University of Cape Town
University of the Witwatersrand
University of Johannesburg
University of Pretoria
University of KwaZulu-Natal
Cape Peninsula University of Technology
Durban University of Technology
Tshwane University of Technology
Boston Media House
AACA Film and Acting School
Netflix will again be working in partnership with social investment fund management and advisory firm Tshikululu Social Investments, as the implementing partner/fund administrator with the responsibility of supporting the outreach and execution of the project. In July 2020 and March 2021, Tshikululu worked closely with Netflix, the South African Screen Federation (SASFED) and their member organisation, Independent Producers Organisation (IPO), to create the COVID-19 Film and Television Relief Fund that helped the hardest hit workers in the South African creative community.
From the 17th of September 2021,students interested in applying for the fully-funded scholarships will be able to find additional information, application criteria and will be able to apply online on Tshikululu’s website (tshikululu.org.za).
Netflix is the world’s leading streaming entertainment service with over 209 million paid memberships in over 190 countries enjoying TV series, documentaries and feature films across a wide variety of genres and languages. Members can watch as much as they want, anytime, anywhere, on any internet-connected screen. Members can play, pause and resume watching, all without commercials or commitments.