Netflix, the world’s largest streaming service, is partnering with Realness Institute, a pan-Africa cinema organisation, to train screenwriters and mid-career film professionals from Nigeria, South Africa, and Kenya.
The successful participants will be taught how to develop original story ideas and how to enhance their skills as story consultants.
The training opportunity, which is part of Netflix’s 2022 Episodic Lab and Development Executive Traineeship (DET), will also offer participants the chance to pitch their stories to Netflix executives at the end of the programme.
“It also offers DET participants a deeper understanding of the story development process, exposure to a more nuanced approach in the support of writers whilst simultaneously holding writers accountable for their creative work,” Realness Institute, the co- organisers of the training wrote in a statement.
During the programme, participants are expected to learn how to deepen their understanding of story development process, “nuanced exposure to a more nuanced approach in the support of writers whilst simultaneously holding writers accountable for their creative work. DET participants will work alongside creative producers and story experts in the development of their concepts and series pitch decks.”
Participants will also have the chance to “engage with international and local guest speakers every week for the duration of the programme.”
“What we have witnessed from the first Lab and Traineeship is that there is a deep desire for Africans to create their own narratives. This bodes well for a growing audience, based in Africa and abroad. We are so pleased to be a major player in lighting the fire of our amazing continental creatives. Also, to hear from last year’s participants how they have been able to transplant everything they learnt in the incubator into their current work and other projects, as well as the impact we had in their lives and creative process,” said Mehret Mandefro, Director of Development and Partnerships, Realness Institute.
Apart from bringing the skills of participants up to speed, each participant will be given a monthly stipend of $2,000 during the online incubation period between May 1, 2022 and July 31, 2022. The stipend is meant to cover the living expenses of the participants so they can focus fully on the programme.
However, Realness Institute warned that there is no guarantee that proposals generated during the mentorship programme will be developed by Netflix.
“This is an incredible opportunity and I’m grateful to the Realness and Netflix Grow Creative teams for helping make young writers’ dreams a possibility. The Episodic lab is tough but pushes you to be your best. I’m a better writer for it,” said a 2021 Episodic Lab alumnus Kudi Maradzika (Zimbabwean-South African) pitched an idea for a comedy-drama that has been selected for further development.
Commenting on Netflix’s partnership with Realness Institute, Allison Triegaardt, Netflix Manager for Grow Creative Africa, said the development, nurturing and support of talent pipelines gives new voices a chance to be heard.
This, he said, is key for Netflix as they contribute to the growth of the film and TV industry and honour our commitment to the African creative community.
Interested participants are encouraged to visit the website of the Episodic Lab programme applicationfor Development Executive Traineeship programme application and wait to be shortlisted.
The application will close on January 14,2022.
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