The Realness Scriptwriters’ Residency programme which seeks to nurture the best African screenwriting talent across the world has opened it’s call for submissions. Realness has developed into an ideal platform from which emerging talent can be identified. Founded in 2015 by Urucu Media, this successful scriptwriters’ programme is presented under the mentorship of Berlinale Talents and in partnership with Nirox Foundation, Durban FilmMart, The French Institute of South Africa and Institute Français’s La Fabrique des Cinémas du Monde, TorinoFilmLab, Locarno Filmmaker’s Academy, Cocoon, The CNC ,TIFF and EAVE. Urucu Media, is a well established South African production house, which currently has two films in the race for the Best Foreign Language Category at the 2018 Academy Awards: The Train of Salt and Sugar for Mozambique and The Wound for South Africa.
Producer Elias Ribeiro, founder of both Urucu and Realness says: “It is rewarding to look back 7 years when I moved to Johannesburg and started producing here, we have managed to play a significant role in shifting the industry landscape and showcasing the massive talent we have in this continent. I could not be more proud of the opportunity to compete for the most prestigious award in Cinema with two films in the same year. What is most gratifying is how this acknowledgement has already increased access to opportunities and improved our capacity to support emerging talent on the continent – which is a real passion for us. We have ambitious plans for our programme in 2019 as we evolved Realness into an African Film Institute, RAFI.”
Applicants for the Screenwriters’ programme are required to submit a screenplay in progress. The call for entries is open to fiction feature film scripts only. However, there is no restriction on age, script length or genre. Submission is free, regardless of geographical origin. “We seek a selection that represents a rich and exciting diversity of contemporary African perspectives. We encourage risk taking, originality and authenticity,” explains Ribeiro.
Since its launch, the residency has nurtured five African writers in each of its first two years, growing into a prestigious incubator of emerging talent that is recognised throughout the film community. “This residency is at the forefront of African cinema and I truly believe in years to come it will be regarded as one of the most important homes of a new wave of African cinema…I cannot commend them enough for their passion and tenacity which drives this initiative,” says Fradique, Mário Bastos (2017 resident from Angola).
The five selected writers will participate in a programme that begins with five weeks at Nirox Foundation in the Cradle of Humankind, where they will have the time and space to develop their screenplays under the guidance of some of the industry’s top professionals. This will be followed by an immersive industry experience at Africa’s leading finance and co-production market, Durban FilmMart, which is a platform where Residents will have an opportunity to present to their projects to potential producers and financiers. Finally, the most promising projects will be awarded and funded to participate in the prestigious La Fabrique des Cinémas du Monde in Cannes, receive an EAVE Producers’ Workshop Scholarship, invitation to TorinoFilmLab Meetings Event and Locarno Filmmakers Academy.
Mentor and script consultant Selina Ukwuoma has been part of the team that develops Realness talents since the creation of the programme. She says, “with a pan-African focus, the diversity of Africans is celebrated yet, the particular concerns that we have in common come to the fore”. A strong addition to the team this year was producer and script consultant Mmabatho Kau, who says , “What I loved and enjoyed most about The Realness writing residency; as a script consultant, was that for the first time, the voice of the writer is put first above all else. Realness is the perfect platform to celebrate often forgotten and marginalised stories of Africa. I appreciate how the programme also challenged my own strategies in helping writers bring their concepts to fruition.”
Curator Liz Chege is the project manager for Realness 2018 says, “attracting interest to Realness has been an absolute delight. Prospective partners have consistently praised the quality of residents, the strength of the programme and the clear longstanding effect Realness will have in the film industry, both locally and internationally.”
Deadline for submissions is Thursday, 31 January 2018. Visit the Urucu website realness for further details and a list of materials