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Realness Institute Announces Participants For The Inaugural Screenwriters AuthenticA Series Lab

The four selected participants: Angela Wamai, Chantel Clark, Jessica Hagan , and Tony Sebastian Ukpo will undergo a six-month television series lab to develop their stories.

African film residency lab Realness institute has announced the selection of four young creative African screenwriters from Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa for the inaugural screenwriters AuthenticA Series Lab. The film lab is dedicated to the development of authentic and transformative stories and the project is in partnership with The Storyboard Collective, a philanthropic organization situated in Geneva. The lab is set to commence at the end of September.

The four selected participants for the programme, Angela Wamai (Kenya), Chantel Clark (South Africa), Jessica Hagan (Ghana), and Tony Sebastian Ukpo (Nigeria) will undergo a six-month television series lab to develop their stories, under the mentorship of story expert Selina Ukwuoma, and creative producer Mehret Mandefro. In a statement by Realness Executive Director, Elias Ribeiro "The four selected participants all have a range of ideas and approaches to their episodic series, which will make for a creatively dynamic lab,”. The inaugural program which is designed by Ribeiro, also offers opportunities to engage with a host of industry experts.

The participants, Angela Wamai from Kenya studied film in Havana, Cuba, and works as a film editor in Nairobi. She has written several short films and recently completed her debut feature film Shimoni (The Pit) which she wrote, directed, and edited. She was recently awarded best film editor by the Women in Film Awards-Kenya.

South African director and screenwriter, Chantel Clark, is an Honours graduate in Television Drama (UCT) and holds an MFA from the Film Program at Columbia University. Her script for her directorial feature debut, Wit Gesigte (Pale Faces), was selected for several development labs including the Sundance Institute’s Screenwriters Lab. Her MFA thesis film, Our Albertinia, was screened at over 25 international film festivals. She is currently an ambassador for Girls in Film South Africa.

Accra-based Ghanaian-British writer Jessica Hagan enjoys exploring themes of identity, displacement, and misogynoir in her work. Her debut play Queens of Sheba has won numerous awards over the years. It played to sold-out houses in its 4 week run with 4- and 5-star reviews across the board at the 2018 Edinburgh Festival and continues to enjoy sold-out seasons in the UK.

While France-based Nigerian Filmmaker and photographer Tony Sebastian Ukpo trained at the London Film School (LFS) before which he had already explored various creative enterprises in theatre, graphic novels, and photography, as well as film. He has written and directed an eclectic range of films, including Paris 60, Japanese murder mystery Random 11 with Haruka Abe, British Nollywood romantic comedy Mum, Dad, Meet Sam starring Joseph Benjamin, and immigration drama Simana among others.

As the programme kicks off this September, the four participants will begin the Lab with an eight-day residency in South Africa which will be followed by a few months of online mentorship, meetings, and support, culminating in a 10-week residency in Switzerland in 2023.

The outcome of the Lab is aimed at supporting and mentoring each participant into delivering a pilot script, a pitch deck and a professional pitch which they will present at Series Mania Forum 2023, while also attending meetings with international decision makers that would allow them get funding for their film project.

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