AFDA alumni in partnership with Netflix launch Episodic Content Development Lab

News, 19 November 2020



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Realness Institute, founded by AFDA alumni Elias Ribeiro and Cait Pansegrouw announced its partnership with global streaming service Netflix, to create an Episodic Content Development Lab for writers in South Africa, Kenya, and Nigeria.

The South African-based NPC, which has as its vision to support the development of African content and it’s makers, will open submissions for this Writer’s Lab at the end of November. The opportunity will be open to writers from South Africa, Kenya, and Nigeria with film and TV experience in any genre (fictional or factual) or language. Six writers will be selected from these submissions to work on projects that will be developed and commissioned by Netflix. The selected writers will be paid a stipend of 2000 USD per month to participate and will be expected to be available full time for a period of 3 months, from June to September 2021.

“We strongly believe that Africa has a wealth of untold stories,” says Dorothy Ghettuba who leads Netflix’s African Original Series. “As we grow our slate of Originals in Africa, partnerships with organisations like Realness will help us achieve our goal of investing in writers who will bring diverse genres of authentic, local stories that will ensure our audience members see their lives reflected on screen.”

Since Realness Institute’s inception in 2015, it has delivered 5 editions of its Screenwriters’ Residency and in 2020, the first Creative Producer Indaba as a Development Executive Traineeship. Now the NPO will be expanding their offering in 2021 to the episodic content space. This is a further step towards the Institute’s mission to empower storytellers on the continent and the Diaspora and push the African audio-visual industry forward. Netflix brings its expertise in episodic content development, production, and insight into global content trends.

 “We had fun shaping the programme with the Netflix team,” comments co-founder and Creative Director of Realness Institute, Elias Ribeiro. “We all share a love for storytelling and Netflix’s writer-centric approach is very much in line with our ethos.

“This programme is a response to the dramatically changing broadcasting ecosystem which has a very important role to play in building a thriving media ecosystem in local markets and providing episodic creators with distribution opportunities,” adds veteran Ethiopian broadcaster and Realness Institute Director of Development and Partnerships Mehret Mandefro. 

Over the past year, there has been a clear appetite for fresh African content to star on global streaming platforms. Netflix has recently enjoyed much success with its first two African original series, Queen Sono and Blood & Water.

More information on the Episodic Lab, the eligibility criteria, and the submission process will be released with the call for submissions which will be available on realness.institute/episodic-lab on 30 November 2020. For further information on Realness Institute, visit https://www.realness.institute/

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