Screenwriter Residency Seeks Submissions


Urucu Media, under the mentorship of Berlinale Talents, in partnership with The Nirox Foundation, Durban Filmmart, Restless Talent Management, The French Institute in South Africa and Institute Français’s Cinémas du Monde presents REALNESS, a screenwriters residency for a new generation of African writers.

From June to August 2016, five screenwriters will be invited to attend a seven-week residency to develop a new draft of their original feature screenplays. The aim of REALNESS is to provide the necessary time, space and support to help the continent’s best emerging writing talents hone their unique cinematic vision.

Week 1: The residency will kick off on June 16, 2016 with an introductory week at Durban Filmmart, continental Africa’s top co-production market. Residents will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in films, attend seminars and present their projects to industry professionals for feedback. Each resident will prepare a public presentation of their project at the end of the week.

Week 2 to 6: Residents will take part in the Nirox artists residency, where they will spend six weeks working in a tranquil and nurturing living environment. During the first week, top international script consultants will conduct workshops and one-on-one sessions with the residents. Thereafter, residents will work at their own pace, with ongoing support in the form of workgroups with fellow writers, curated film screenings, producer-led case studies and discussions with visiting industry speakers.

Week 7: In the final week, residents will have a debriefing and follow up Skype-sessions with their consultants. After leaving the residency, writers will be invited to submit a new draft of their screenplay by September 30, 2016. The most promising project to emerge from REALNESS will be selected and funded to participate in the prestigious La Fabrique des Cinémas du Monde in Cannes, 2017.

REALNESS recognizes the real-life demands of most writers and that taking time to develop a screenplay is not always economically viable. To this end, residents will receive a stipend of R15000 (about $1,100) and all food and accommodation expenses will be covered for the duration of their stay. Note that residents will be responsible for their own travel costs to and from the residency. Although assistance will be provided in efforts to obtain sponsorship from country culture desks, embassies & other interested institutions.

While the residency will be conducted in English, REALNESS aims to accommodate non-English speaking participants by providing consultation in French and/or Portuguese where necessary.


The call is open to screenwriters from across the African continent and selection will be based on artistic merit. REALNESS will hold no legal claim over the work once the residency is completed.

Note, the submission window is from November 1, 2015 – January 31, 2016 (or until 120 applications have been received, whichever comes first).

Applicants must submit ONE pdf dossier containing:

– Your motivation for wanting to participate in REALNESS (1 page)
– A synopsis of the proposed feature project (1 page)
– A treatment of the proposed feature project (6 pages)
– A draft of the screenplay
– A writer’s note of intention (1 page)
– A short biography (1 paragraph)
– Two samples of previous work, uploaded to Vimeo. If selected, residents will be required to donate one copy of their previous work to the Nirox film library.
The call is open to screenwriters from across the African continent and selection will be based on artistic merit. REALNESS will hold no legal claim over the work once the residency is completed.

All submitted material must be in English. A committee appointed by Urucu and their partners will read the project entries and conduct interviews with a shortlist of candidates early in March. The REALNESS selection will be announced at an event hosted by the pavilion Les Cinemas du Monde in Cannes, 2016.

Submit to

Urucu is an independent production company with ties to Cape Town, Johannesburg and Rio de Janeiro, nurturing authentic voices in South African film. Their focus is on international co-productions and distribution, and in the short time that they’ve been around, their projects have attracted private equity investment, public funding and they’ve sold content to top international broadcasters. Their work has showcased at over 50 film festivals including Cannes, Berlinale, Toronto, Locarno and Venice.

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