authentica 2023

Source: Realness Institute

(Clockwise from top left) Tiah Beye, Moreetsi Gabang, Kelly-Eve Koopman, Wanjiru Kairu

Four African screenwriters have been selected for the second edition of the AuthenticA Series Lab, a development programme from South Africa-based Realness Institute.

The selected writers for the 2023 edition include Tiah Beye, a writer from Senegal and the Ivory Coast who is now based in France. Beye graduated from Kourtajme School, a free film school in Paris founded by French filmmaker Ladj Ly; she has also participated in Netflix’s Grow Creatives programme, which aims to improve diversity and inclusion in the international industry.

Kenyan writer Wanjiru Kairu is on the AuthenticA scheme; Kairu has written 10 films for Kenyan broadcaster DSTV, is an instructor at the Africa Digital Media Institute, and is chairperson of the Kenya Scriptwriters Guild.

Writer Kelly-Eve Koopman is based in Cape Town, where she is currently doing a masters degree in creative writing at the University of the Western Cape. Her memoir Because I Couldn’t Kill You was longlisted for the Sunday Times National Book Award in 2019.

Botswana’s Moreetsi Gabang is a graduate of Johannesburg’s AFDA film school, and has participated in talent development programmes including Berlinale Talents and Talents Durban. He holds a masters degree from UAL: London College of Communcation, and has made short films including 2019’s Foreigner.

The four participants will be mentored by script consultant Selina Ukwuoma and creative producer Mehret Mandefro, and will participate in both online sessions and in-person residencies in both South Africa and Switzerland, across a six-month period.

The scheme will culminate with a pitching session at Series Mania Forum in Lille in 2024; the four participants will craft a concept story pitch deck and a pilot script to show industry attendees.

AuthenticA Series Lab is run by the Realness Institute, Series Mania and the StoryBoard Collective.

“Providing African writers the support, time, and space they need to do their best work is an important intervention in the media landscape,” said Mandefro, who is co-founder and director of development and partnerships at Realness.

The AuthenticA lab held its first edition at Series Mania earlier this year. Series Mania general director Laurence Herszberg said the 2023 pitches “have demonstrated the interest of the international industry in projects coming from Africa. The new cohort is of high quality and I am sure that the projects will find partners in Lille.”