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 Cinemas 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
“We seek a selection that represents a rich and exciting diversity of contemporary
African perspectives. We encourage risk taking, originality and authenticity,’ explains
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, Mario 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 Cinemas 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
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
Deadline for submissions is Thursday, 31 January 2018.
Visit the Urucu website realness for
further details and a list of materials or go to Twitter @realresidency, Instagram
@realnessresidency or Realness Residency on Facebook.