In Brief:


- Focus Features, a division of NBC universal, announced its launch of the Africa First Program in 2008 and awarded five African filmmakers a $10,000 grant to finance production and post-production work on a short film while utilizing African film industry resources. Three of the funded films were selected to screen at the Sundance Film Festival.

- Meanwhile, Sundance Institute East Africa was conceived as a five-year program facilitating exchange between US artists and East African writers, directors, and performers. In July, the Institute will conduct a "theater lab" on the Kenyan island of Manda in which African filmmakers can learn and thrive from one another. Brooks Addicott who is the associate director of media relations at Sundance, told MediaGlobal: "Our goal is to curate a program in East Africa which reflects advancement of the individual artistic voice, mentorship, professionalism, and rigorous artistic standards. At the same time, we seek to recognize and honor the specific cultural, social, political, and artistic realities of East African life (unique to each country as well as to the continent)."

- BBC Worldwide Channels has agreed a deal that Simonsberg, the South African cheese makers, to sponsor content on the BBC Lifestyle Channel.

- The National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) will be hosting a South African Pavilion at this year's Cannes International Film Festival.