REALNESS - A SCREENWRITERS RESIDENCY
Realness Residency is a pan-African programme dedicated to developing and supporting the next generation of African screenwriting talent. Realness ensures that projects are given the space to mature sufficiently in the development phase such that, once they enter production, they result in films that have the potential to travel and appeal to worldwide independent cinema audiences. Its purpose is to offer talent a nurturing environment that allows them to stretch their creativity and drive their craft under mentorship from industry experts. Its aim is to not only nurture and empower filmmakers every year but to foster a New Wave of Authentic African Cinema. It is a year round support system to the alumni, helping them to bring their scripts from the page to the screen ensuring that the programme maintains a long-standing impact.
Operating from the stunning Cradle of Humankind in South Africa, the residency period is a six-week focused incubation where residents write in a inspiring and relaxed environment but are provided feedback and support at every step of the process. Residents also attend the Durban International Film Festival as participants of the Market (DFM) after receiving mentorship on how to pitch their film projects. This step is designed to get them closer to realising their films by facilitating their proficiency in attracting financial investment/partnership for their work. After the festival participation, residents are given another 6 weeks to finesse their work from the comfort of home. Final deliveries are submitted to our partners for awards consideration. Each project is eligible for scholarships to attend Locarno Filmmakers Academy, Torino Film Lab Meeting Event, EAVE Producer's Workshop and La Fabrique des Cinemas du Monde in Cannes.
Urucu Media are grateful for the support of Berlinale Talents, in partnership with Nirox Foundation, The French Institute of South Africa and Institute Français’s Cinémas du Monde, Torino Film Lab, EAVE Producer's Workshop, Toronto International Film Festival and Locarno Filmmaker's Academy.
Feedback from previous REALNESS residents:
"This residency is at the forefront of African cinema and I truly believe in years to come will be regarded as one of the most important homes of a new wave of African cinema... I cannot commend Elias and Cait enough for their passion and tenacity which drives the initiative"
- Fradique, Angola, 2017
"The Residency has been a nurturing environment and incubator of growth and expression which we have each benefitted from considerably. This is made possible in large by the liberty afforded to focus only on our nascent screenplays, free from daily material concerns….a place of immense exploration and artistic evolution and I hope will continue to be."
- Gloria Huwiller, Zambia, 2017
"Living in a country that is not conducive to 'writing' I am delighted to have been able to take part in REALNESS. The most important thing for me was the interactions with my co-residents and how much I learned from the consultants."
- Luck Razanajoana, Madagascar, 2016
"It's the first time, in our history of African Cinema that we have this kind of program. The writing process is the most difficult phases of our work. Many of us, can't afford to rent a house in the countryside far away from our family and daily work: so we have no other choice than to write our scripts in very bad conditions. That's one of our major weaknesses. Most of the time, our scripts and storytelling are very original and full of creativity, but they are very badly written, due to a lack of time, means and money. And most of the time, all the good programs are in Europe or US, and those programs are orientated for western directors. That's one of the main reasons why very few films and filmmakers can emerge from Africa"
- Rama Thiaw, Senegal, 2017
Urucu Media presents REALNESS in partnership with:
We are seeking filmmakers with distinct voices and perspectives, who are devoted to their craft, and have a steadfast passion for cinema. We want you to make the most of the Realness experience. We are much more excited by storytelling that takes risks than conventional avenues. You are eligible to submit if:
You have an up-to-date African passport.
60 - 70% of your script is filmed on the African continent
Your script must be fiction. We are not accepting non-fiction work at this time.
Adaptations are eligible but you must include proof that rights to the book have been acquired with your application.
Applicants must submit ONE pdf dossier containing:
a 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.
a producer's note (if producer is attached)
a producer's bio & production company profile (if producer is attached)
visual reference material (optional)
All submitted material must be in English however, screenplays written in French or Portuguese will also be accepted (with all supporting documents in English).
Selection will be based on artistic merit. REALNESS will hold no legal claim over the work once the residency is completed.
Please submit dossiers to firstname.lastname@example.org
A committee appointed by Urucu and partners will read the project entries and conduct interviews with a shortlist of candidates in March. The REALNESS selection will be announced at an event hosted by the pavilion Les Cinemas du Monde in Cannes in May.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Where can I get an application form?
You can download it from here.
Does my idea have to be finalised before submitting? I am working on the feature length version, but the draft I am able to enter at this point is only the shorter one.
Yes, ideally you should submit with a completed draft. If this is not possible, your narrative treatment should be very thorough and your supporting documents should really impress us.
What is a writer’s note of intention?
This section should talk about why you want to make this film, why the story is important to you, why it will be important to audiences and why it shows true potential, what is your intention with the story/film? Why do you want to tell this particular story? What do you hope to achieve with the film?
Do you accept CVs?
No, we only accept the documents outlined above.
After submission, I noticed that the translator who originally translated my script to English left most of the scene descriptions and scene headings in the original language. May I send you an update?
Can I submit an Afrikaans Feature?
No. The only acceptable languages for the drafts submitted are English, French and Portuguese. All supporting documents must be in English, regardless of what language the draft is submitted in.
How do I make a single PDF dossier?
- If you have a Mac, you can use the Preview tool to combine all the documents.
- If you have a PC there are a selection of free online tools to choose from including PDF Pro and Small PDF.
How much does it cost to attend the residency?
All expenses are paid, including travel, accommodation and meals.
How much does it cost to submit my application?
Entry is free.
Previous work / Links
Can I submit a YouTube link instead of vimeo, since my works are hosted on YouTube?
If I do not have any previous work could I still apply or does the requirement automatically eliminate me?
Previous work is an important aspect of our decision making. It will count against you if you do not have any, but you are welcome to still submit. However, show reels are not accepted.
If my previous work is documentary or TV, may I still apply?
I applied last year and I didn’t get selected, I am still writing the same project, but it developed and I am still within the writing process, can I still apply this year?
Yes. If you feel you have made significant progress, we will accept this.
Can I send a documentary script project?
We currently only accept fiction projects.
Can I submit a fiction project from any film genre?
Are projects that participated in other scripts development lab/pitching forum eligible to apply to Realness residency?
I do not yet have a producer. May I still apply?
Yes. We, however we do ask for the budget total for your film. This helps us determine the scale you wish to achieve and how realistic this is so that we can give you meaningful feedback.
Can writing teams / writer-director teams submit?
Yes, however only one person may attend the residency.