Episodic Lab: Institute, Netflix call for submissions from Nigerian writers

Asanda Biyana, Realness Partner and Project Manager of the Episodic Lab.

South Africa-based Realness Institute has called for submissions for its latest offering, Episodic Lab, a series development lab presented in partnership with Netflix.

The institute said in a statement on Monday in Lagos that the Lab would take place remotely from June 1 to Aug. 31, 2021, and is targeted at writers from Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa with authentic and original stories of all genres.

The initiative, was only open to writers from the three countries where Netflix is currently focusing its African Originals strategy, adding that selected writers would work on developing pitch documents for their story concepts.

It explained that six writers would be selected to spend three months in a “Writers Room’’ format.

“These participants will work with a script consultant and a creative producer to fully develop their story concepts into an episodic pitch. Along with creative training, the writers will receive feedback from the Netflix Originals’ development team.

“A stipend of 2,000 dollars per month will be paid to the participants to cover living expenses during the training.

“Each writer will have an opportunity to pitch their finished product to Netflix and have their series developed for production,’’ it said.

It noted that “if Netflix does not commission further development and/or production, the rights to the developed material default to the authors. Creators should not be committed to a producer or director to participate in the Lab.

“Potential applicants can be a writer/writing team with either film or television experience, but one writer only will be able to participate if selected.

“Entries can be in any genre of fiction, in English and/or local language and concept must be set in South Africa, Kenya or Nigeria. No producers or directors should be attached.’’

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Speaking from Cape Town South Africa, Asanda Biyana, Realness Partner and Project Manager of the Episodic Lab says, “Series give writers the space to make bigger worlds and more layered stories.

“There is no limit for what can be submitted, and we believe that with the pool of talent on our continent, and our incredible ability to tell stories, that we will see some extraordinary talent emerging from this process.

“We are excited and are preparing to work really hard to select the first cohort for the Lab.’’

The statement said applicants must fill out the online application on the Realness Institute website at www.realness.institute/episodic-lab-application and were advised to read through the form before submitting.

Interested participants are required to pay a submission fee of 30 Euros via Paypal or 55 Euros via international wire transfer to cover the banking charges. The deadline for submissions is Jan. 31, 2021.

For questions about the programme or application, concerned persons should email [email protected] or contact ’êth Communications on [email protected] and Asanda Biyana, Realness Institute [email protected]

The institute is inspiring a new wave of African Cinema with the mission to unearth the wealth of African stories – stories from the continent told with an honest and unapologetic point of view by African filmmakers.

It first programme, the Realness Residency, which started in 2016, has gone on to launch 30 film projects across 16 African countries in only five years.

The critical success of brave films such as “The Wound, Rafiki, Akasha, I Am Not A Witch and Flatland’’ is testament to the artistic and creative contribution that African filmmakers can make to the industry.

In 2019, it launched its second programme, the Creative Producer Indaba. This ambitious programme has been designed, in collaboration with international partners, to catalyse producers across the continent, and in doing so help transform the landscape of African and international independent cinema.

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