Update: Realness Pan African Screenwriters' Residency

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At the 7th DFM (Durban Film Mart - 2016) , five screenwriters/ directors were chosen to participate in a residency programme to hone their filmmaking skills under the auspices of Urucu Media - a pioneering film company hosting the Realness Project (Pic: Left to right : Realness Pan African Screenwriters’ Residency participants Wim Steytler, Amira Tajdin, Sheetal Magan, Hiwot Admasu and Luck Razanajaona)

After attending Durban FilmMart (DFM) as Durban Talents in 2016, the Realness residents worked at Nirox in the Cradle of Humankind for 6 weeks under the mentorship of Nadja Dumochel and Selina Ukwuoma. Following this they had a further 6 weeks to polish their work from home and submit the drafts to the awards committees.

“Five screenwriter/directors were selected to participate in 2016 and each were in different stages of development with their feature fiction projects which, combined with their diversity of backgrounds, made the residency an invigorating and stimulating experience,”  says Realness founder Elias Riberio, "and, we will do everything within our reach to see these projects transition from the concept, to the page and finally to the screen.”

Kenyan writer/director Amira Tajdin’s script for Hawa Hawaii (in fourth draft when selected for the residency)  was awarded three invitations from her participation. Her producer Wafa Tajdin attended Torino Meetings Event, a financing market in Turin, Italy where she secured international co-producers. They have been invited to attend La Fabrique des Cinemas du Monde in Cannes this year followed by a pre-production and financing workshop at MIDPOINT in Macedonia (June) and Prague in October.

South African writer/ director, Wim Steytler’s project Uitlander, which was in first draft on selection , went on to be invited to three international platforms including the NFVF/CNC co-production workshop in Paris, EAVE Producer’s Workshop and more recently La Fabrique des Cinémas du Monde in Cannes. Steytler says: “I have new hope for the South African film industry where auteur driven films can be celebrated locally and reach an international audience.  Realness is tangibly facilitating a new wave in African cinema.”

Madagascan writer/director - Luck Razanajaona, who brought his film Disco Afrika to the residency at third draft,  says that participation in the residency gave him an opportunity to develop a clear structure and characters. Through the partnership between DFM and Realness, Luck also took his project to Cinemart in Rotterdam and won a cash award from Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie

Ethiopian filmmaker Hiwot Admasu, whose project A Fool of God was in its treatment phase upon coming to Realness, used the time in the residency to further develop the central themes and begin the screenwriting process. She was awarded participation to the Locarno Filmmakers Academy in Switzerland and upon arrival won another residency award; she had another three months of writing  in Wintitour.

Finally, South African filmmaker Sheetal Magan participated in Realness with her feature film concept The Day and Night of Brahma, which also came into the residency as a treatment. “Gaining exposure to the script consultants took me to a deeper and more considered exploration of my film,” says Magan.

Looking ahead, the Realness team is assessing applications to the second edition. Over a hundred submissions were made with applications coming in from twenty-five countries across the continent including Angola, Côte d’Ivoire, DRC, Morocco, Togo, Nigeria and Rwanda.

“We worked hard to encourage more applications from the rest of the continent and are proud to have achieved this.” says co-founder Cait Pansegrouw “Over 70% of our applications came from outside of South Africa this year.

The 2017 edition of Realness takes place in June and July 2017 at the Nirox Foundation, culminating in participation in the Durban FilmMart at the Durban International Film Festival. Announcement of this year’s participants will take place at the Cannes Film Festival.

For more information on Realness, African Screenwriters residency  contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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