Focus Features announced the first five film-makers to benefit from the company's Africa First initiative announced earlier this year.

The five film-makers of African nationality and residence arrived in New York last weekend to take part in workshops with the likes of Focus CEO James Schamus and production chief John Lyons.

The winning film-makers are: Edouard Bamporiki from Rwanda with his drama Long Coat; Jenna Bass from South Africa with the quest story The Tunnel; Jan-Hendrik Beetge from South Africa with thriller The Abyss Boys; Dyana Gaye from Senegal with her public transportation musical N'Dar (Saint Louis Blues); and Wanuri Kahiu from Kenya and her sci-fi tale Pumzi (Breath).

The workshops covered areas such as international distribution and the economics of studio financing. Each of the five film-makers received $10,000 towards production and/or post-production on their narrative short made in continental Africa and tapping the resources of the regional film industry.

'Amidst the headlong rush of the fall movie season, it's been a tremendous pleasure taking the time to share experiences and perspectives with this wonderfully talented group of film-makers,' Schamus said. 'We're honoured to have them here with us in New York.'