Ahead of the planned signing of a UK-South African co-production treaty, the UK Film Council has announced a partnership with South Africa's National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) to launch a new initiative for South African writers.

The new competition aims to fast-track "high concept screenplays which are aimed at the international market and have commercial appeal."

The scheme builds on the UKFC's 25 Words or Less competition, in its third year in the UK. South African writers will pitch their film idea in one sentence for one of three genres: teen horror, comedy/fish out of water, and "zero to hero." Applications will also include a one-page outline of the story and sample scenes from the chosen genre.

One winning writer will be selected from each genre and the three winners will each receive £10,000 (supported equally by the two bodies) to develop a first draft. Those first drafts will then be jointly produced by a UK and South African producer.

"South Africa is a rich source of writing and creative talent and we are delighted to be working with the NFVF to identify new voices," said Jenny Borgars, head of the UKFC's Development Fund. "We look forward to building on the South African initiative to inform other potential international ventures in the future."

NFVF will handle the entries; the competition opens on January 16 and closes on April 16. Applicants must be South African or African Union citizens.