Realness Institute Strikes Major Partnership with FAME Week Africa

Realness Institute together with partners the Southern Africa Locarno Industry Academy Film Festival, and FAME Week Africa, this week announced that the Southern Africa-Locarno Industry Academy, its 7th Realness Screenwriters’ Residency edition as well as a new initiative, Episodic Pitches will be hosted for the first time at FAME Week Africa in Cape Town, South Africa from 3 to 9 September this year.

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“We’re thrilled to see the Southern Africa Locarno Industry Academy getting ready for its first onsite edition during FAME Week. This will continue to boost young and emerging professional into the local and international film industry network,” say Markus Duffner, Head of Locarno Pro and Marion Klotz, Industry Academy Project Manager.

These three programmes housed by Realness Institute, which now has its permanent homebase at The Coot Club in Stanford, Western Cape South Africa, provide opportunities for African filmmakers to develop film and television projects, widen their international networks, and strengthen industry skills.

“I had the pleasure of keynoting the inaugural FAME Week last year and immediately recognized the powerful market it presents for African creators. This is the forum we have all been waiting for on the continent and having a formal partnership with the Realness Institute provides the talent we work with an effective on-ramp to secure deals in the global entertainment business,” says Mehret Mandefro, co-founder and Director of Development and Partnerships.

The Southern Africa-Locarno Industry Academy, a Locarno Film Festival initiative is dedicated to the development of young film professionals working in sales, traditional and online distribution, theatrical exhibition and programming for festivals, film clubs and archives. Nine film professionals will have the opportunity to enjoy a focused programme of networking meetings with international professionals, masterclasses, workshops, panel discussions at FAME Week Africa, as well as playing an active role in curating its short film programme, to be screened at The Labia Cinema in Cape Town, from 7 to 9 September.

Realness Screenwriters’ Residency is an incubator for African screenwriters in which six participants are given one-on-one practical support through mentorship, focusing on the creative aspects of their work. They are also mentored through the rigorous pitching process to enable them to find potential partners, funders and producers leading up to their market debut.

Episodic Pitches will have its first edition this year, bringing to market the best of the series concepts developed across all Realness’s Episodic efforts from 2021 to 2023. A cohort of 10 creators will be invited to present their well-crafted and developed ideas on stage.

FAME Week Africa provides a development and networking platform for the African creative industries, namely film, television, animation as well as music and entertainment technology. The three Realness programmes will be housed within the MIP Africa event at FAME Week, which is a B2B market for film, television, digital content distribution and co-production business in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Mentors for these programmes include Ayanda Halimana, Cait Pansegrouw, Denis Ruh, Eddie Bertozzi, Elias Ribeiro, Frank Spotnitz, Femi Odugbemi, Mehret Mandefro, Mmabatho Kau, Ozi Menakaya, Pauline Fischer, Selina Ukwuoma and Thandeka Zwana to name a few.

“FAME Week Africa is pleased to partner with the Realness Institute,” says Martin Hiller, Portfolio Director of FAME Week Africa. “Through this collaboration, we aim to ignite African storytelling flare by supporting programmes of, and providing platforms for, the Realness Institute to increase the diversity of voices in the film industry, and lead to more interesting, varied, and nuanced stories. It will also give African filmmakers a chance of securing funding, distribution deals, and other resources that can help them bring their stories to life.”

“We hope to expand this partnership even further and to continue to supply the best talent and stories incubated by the Realness Institute, with an aim to stimulate the appetite of buyers and investors to return to FAME Week Africa for more quality projects in the future,” says Elias Ribeiro co-founder and Executive Director of Realness Institute and Regional Manager of Locarno Industry Academy. “Zoom was a great place to keep things running but nothing will ever replace the power being in each other’s presence. We thank FAME Week for holding the space.”

The call for submissions for the Southern Africa Industry Academy opens today (18 April). For more information and criteria go to:

Image Courtesy: Supplied