Urucu Media presents REALNESS Screenwriters Residency


Under the mentorship of Berlinale Talents, Urucu Media, in partnership with Nirox,
Durban FilmMart, Restless Talent Management, The French Institute in South Africa
and Institute Français’s Cinemas du Monde, are hosting a screenwriter’s residency
called REALNESS – “for a new generation of African cinema.’

Urucu Media’s Elias Ribeiro says that the initiative was conceptualised out of the
frustration he and his partner, writer/director John Trengove, were feeling with
regards to the lack of funding avenues for story development in the African film
industry: “We believe in authors and that creative freedom is one of the most
important elements for a good story to thrive. As most writers are forced to work
multiple jobs in order to support themselves and allow themselves the time to work
on their projects, we wanted to offer the time and the space for creatives to
produce the best work they possibly can, with the luxury of not having to worry
about the other elements of their lives too much.’

In February 2015 Ribeiro and Trengove took some time to draw up a strategic plan
for the company, “We both made a decision on that day that we would like to be
more engaged in fostering new avenues for African cinema, beyond the films we
could produce ourselves; this is how the idea for REALNESS was born,’ Ribeiro
explains. “We took part in most workshops affiliated with the big international film
festivals across the globe… We learnt so much from those experiences and built a
rich contact book. We felt we were in a strong position to align the need for more
development avenues and the wonderful consultants and supporters of world
cinema we met along the way.’

The residency will begin on 16 June 2016 with an introductory week at Durban
FilmMart where the residents will participate in workshops, attend seminars and
present their projects to industry professionals for feedback. Thereafter, residents
will spend six week at the Nirox Artists Residency in the Cradle of Humankind,
working on their scripts in a peaceful and nurturing living environment. While there,
residents will liaise with international script consultants via workshops and one-on-
one sessions, after which they will work at their own pace, with support in the form
of workgroups with fellow writers, producer-led case discussions with visiting
speakers, as well as curated film screenings.

After leaving the residency, writers will be invited to submit a new draft of their
screenplay by 30 September 2016. The most promising project to emerge from
REALNESS will be invited and funded to participate in La Fabrique des Cinemas du
Monde in Cannes in 2017.

“…we are on the hunt for the top talent and most promising projects, the ones which
have true potential to become outstanding films. REALNESS will have a long life if
the projects selected turn into award winning feature films. This is our goal,’ says
Ribeiro. “In order to achieve that we are partnering with other programmes that
assist with the next steps of getting those films made, most importantly, La
Fabrique des Cinemas du Monde in Cannes, where the producer and director of the
most promising project will be invited to the Cannes Film Festival in 2017 to pitch
their film project to co-producers, financiers and festival programmers.’

With the support of Restless Talent Management, a stipend of R15 000 will be given
to each resident, allowing them to participate in the residency and still take care of
their “real life’ responsibilities such as their rent and other basic fixed costs. The
deadline for participants wanting to take part in the REALNESS residency falls on 31
January 2017.

By Chanelle Ellaya


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