Realness Institute has announced 12 participants from five African countries for the 2023 Episodic Lab and Development Executive Traineeship (DET) programmes in partnership with Netflix, which began on Sunday, 30 April, and runs for three months.
The two cohorts each comprise six participants who hail from Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, Botswana, and Zimbabwe. Episodic Lab participants include Amanda Gicharu and Juma Adero (Kenya), Emil Garuba (Nigeria), Gabe Gabriel, Jason Staggie and Vanishia Kisten (South Africa).
These participants will work towards refining their skills as episodic screenwriters and develop their story ideas. At the end of the programme they will have the opportunity to pitch their stories to Netflix Content executives.
The DET cohort includes Damilola Aleje and Mimi Bartels (Nigeria), Sphe Dlulu and Tshenolo Mabale (South Africa), Sue-Ellen Chitunya (Zimbabwe), and Tricia L. Sello (Botswana).
In the DET Traineeship, participants will obtain a more profound comprehension of the process of story development and be guided through a holistic approach to supporting writers in their creative process. Working in teams to support the creative development of the Episodic Lab Participants’ projects, they will ultimately help them transfer their story concept into polished pitch decks to be able to pitch their projects to Netflix for a first look deal.
This cohort will be mentored by Elias Ribeiro (Executive Director of Realness and Founder and Creative Producer at Urucu Media), Mehret Mandefro (Director of Development and Partnerships at Realness and Founder and Creative Producer at Truth Aid (USA) and A51 (Ethiopia)), Selina Ukwuoma (an independent Story Expert) and Thandeka Zwana (Development Executive at Indigenous Film Distribution. Twelve international guest speakers will present to the participants including Anna Winger, Showrunner of Unorthodox and Creator of Transatlantic, and Christopher Mack, Director, Grow Creative at Netflix. Content executives from Netflix will also engage with the participants in the 12-week programme.
“Now in its third edition the Episodic Lab and DET Traineeship has not only empowered screenwriters and creative producers by gaining profound experience in the creative process but has also produced some exciting outcomes,” says Elias Ribeiro. “It is very rewarding to see that each year of the incubator has led to a green light for alumni Kudi Maradzika (South Africa) and Voline Ogutu (Kenya) whose projects are currently in different stages of development following their pitches.
“This year’s selection of writers and development trainees once again shows the caliber of talent we have in our African creatives,” says Thandeka Zwana. “We are thrilled to welcome them to the third iteration of the Episodic Lab and DET.”
For more information on Realness Institute programmes go to https://www.realness.institute