New comedy grant to boost African comedians with funding and mentorship
30 March - Abidjan, Ivory Coast: Narrative change organization Africa No Filter today announced a new fund aimed at boosting the careers of emerging African comedians.
The Africa No Filter Comedy Lab will fund comedians who use humour to tell exciting and fresh stories of Africa — away from storytelling that perpetuates stereotypes of poverty, corruption, poor leadership, conflict, and disease.
Successful applicants will get a grant of up to $3,000 to produce new content, as well as additional support in the form of mentorship by established professional comics, a masterclass aimed at boosting their business of their humour and marketing support to amplify their work and public profiles. The skits produced through the Africa No Filter Comedy Lab will also be showcased at a digital event.
Moky Makura, Executive Director at Africa No Filter, said: "We all know about the multiple benefits of humour and that laughter really is the best medicine. So, we’re bringing comedy into the narrative change space to shift some of those harmful narratives about Africa that still persist. Comedy is one of the fastest growing genres especially for content creators on the continent, and this is an opportunity for everyone and anyone who thinks they’re funny to put their talent to good use. I am really excited to launch the comedy lab and I am looking forward to shining a light on the comedians who keep us going, laughing and coping!"
Makura added: “African comedians are progressively leaving private spaces like parties, restaurants, hotels, weddings to take center stage in theatres, halls and social media platforms. The industry is attracting increasing attention for a diverse array of individual comedians, production companies, as well as millions of African audiences increasingly spending money on attending comedy shows. We want to take advantage of this dynamic by putting together a program that will help provide career development tools to African comedians and a space to change the narrative about Africa using their art.”
The grant is open to African comedians - new, emerging and established - who are aged over 18, and based anywhere on the continent. They need to have a combined audience of 3,000 followers on Tik Tok, Instagram and Facebook. Most importantly, their comedy must offer a fresh take on Africa and Africans; one that uses comedy to show a dynamic, evolving and progressive continent. Recipients will be selected by a panel of professional comedians, and public votes on social media.
All forms of comedy are welcome as long as they are delivered in a digital format and meet the selection criteria.
Africa No Filter’s Art Program Officer, François Bouda, said: “We’re excited by the prospect of partnering with the next generation of top comedic talent in Africa. We don’t just want to celebrate, amplify and empower comics with the resources to take their art to the next level, we also want to ensure this opportunity is accessible by accepting submissions in English and French. We also encourage applications by women and comedians from every corner of the continent.”
Bouda added: “We want comedians to see the Africa No Filter Comedy Lab as a unique opportunity to enhance their skills and to advance their professional careers; the reason this opportunity is not open for comedians who are already signed with an agent or management company. More importantly, we populate the creative space with original and impactful content.”
Applications close on 5 June 2023 at 6pm GMT. Only submissions sent through ANF channels will be considered.
About Africa No Filter
Africa No Filter is a donor collaborative working to shift stereotypical and harmful narratives within and about Africa through research, grant-making, community building and advocacy. Our goal over time is to build the field of narrative changemakers who are deliberate about representing Africa beyond stereotypes. The donor collaborative is funded by Ford Foundation, Bloomberg, Mellon Foundation, Luminate, Open Society Foundations, Comic Relief, the Hilton Foundation, and Hewlett Foundation.
To learn more about Africa No Filter, visit www.africanofilter.org.
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