Africa Channel To Focus On Emerging Filmmakers


The Africa Channel will premiere beginning this week four short films produced under Focus Features' Africa First Program as part of the network's recognition of Black History Month.

The Africa Channel on Feb. 18 will air Africa First: Behind the Cameras, a behind-the-scenes special on Focus Features' unique Africa First initiative, which awards $10,000 production grants annually to African writer/directors and mentors the development and production of their short films, said the network. Immediately after the special, the network will premiere the short film Saint Louis Blues, one of the films produced under the Africa First program banner.

A week later, the network will premiere three additional shorts produced under the Africa First banner, including The Abyss Boys, Pumzi [Breath]and The Tunnel, according to network officials.

"The Africa Channel is honored to premiere these outstanding films produced under Focus Features' Africa First short film Program and to provide a much-needed platform for young filmmakers around the continent to showcase their work," said Bob Reid, executive vice president and general manager of The Africa Channel in a statement. "We are confident that our viewers will be truly amazed by the originality and production quality delivered by these young filmmakers and thoroughly entertained by the unique vision of these short films that will be making their world television debut on the network."

Black History Month Cable Programming
The Following Is A List of Original Cable Programs Debuting From Feb. 14-28:

Feb. 14-18
Way Black When (special) - TV One

Feb. 18
Africa First: Behind the Cameras (special) - Africa Channel
Saint Louis Blues (film) - Africa Channel

Feb. 19
Alonzo Bodden: Who's Paying Attention? (special) -- Showtime
12th Annual BMI Trailblazers of Gospel Music Awards (special) - GMC

Feb. 20
The Color Orange: The Condredge Holloway Story -- ESPN
Wendell Scott: A Race Story (documentary) -- ESPN
Obama in Ghana (special) - Centric

Feb. 21
Bet Honors (special) - BET

Feb. 22
Mississippi Damned (film) -- Showtime
Nick News: Beyond I Have a Dream (special) - TeenNick

Feb. 25
The Abyss Boys (film) - Africa Channel
Pumzi [Breath] (Film) - Africa Channel
The Tunnel (film) - Africa Channel
Still Bill (documentary) -- Showtime

Feb. 26
The Ideal Husband (Gospel Play) - GMC
Bruce Bruce: Losin' It (special) - Showtime

A number of networks are also running programming vignettes celebrating Black History Month throughout February:

Modern Black History Heroes (BET) -- Each week in February BET's music countdown show 106 & Park will profile a modern day community leader and invite the audience to submit their own modern black history hero and acknowledge African-Americans making a difference in local communities.

"What Matters" Vignettes (ESPN) -- ESPN will air 12 sports-related vignettes featuring future sports athletes from high school and college in pursuit of achieving their dreams and overcoming obstacles.