Realness Residency is a Pan-African screenwriting initiative. It is seeking diversity in contemporary African perspectives, encouraging risk-taking, originality and authenticity. This ethos has been demonstrated once more by the success of alumnus Luck Razanajaona (Madagascar) at CineMart in Rotterdam where his Realness project Disco Afrika won the Wouter Barendrecht Award of €5,000 given to a director under 35-years-old last night.
“We have once again achieved our target of over 120 submissions and are excited to start the evaluation process. We look forward to welcoming our 2018 residents to their home-away-from-home at Nirox in June.” said Realness co-founder Elias Ribeiro. “Since its launch, the residency has nurtured ten African writers from eight countries on the continent, growing into an impactful centre that fosters emerging talent and that is recognised throughout the film community.” co-founder Cait Pansegrouw went on to say.
Ribeiro and Pansegrouw’s production company Urucu Media produced Inxeba (The Wound), the most awarded South African film ever made, which was shortlisted to the top nine in the 2018 Best Foreign Film category of the Academy Awards. The Wound has found distribution in over 30 countries around the world and has been acquisitioned by the likes of HBO, Netflix and Mnet. They also co-produced the Mozambican Oscars entry, The Train of Salt and Sugar.
“It’s very good to start your project in this kind of residency programme. It has a great reputation so it gives you more credibility and introduces you to potential producers and funders.” 2017 Resident Rama Thiaw, Senegal. Through Realness’s partnership with other labs and development platforms, its residents are considered for various scholarship awards to platforms that will further their creative progress. The 2017 results are as follows:
Locarno Filmmaker’s Academy: Miles from Nowhere, Samantha Nell (South Africa)
TorinoFilmLab: The Kingdom of Casaurinas, Fradique Mario Bastos (Angola)
EAVE Producer’s Workshop: Miles from Nowhere, Samantha Nell (South Africa), attended by producer Bongiwe Selane
The award to attend La Fabrique Cinema de L’Instituit Francais in Cannes will be announced in March.
Swiss production company Cocoon, lead by producer Simone Soleil, awarded each participant with a 1000 euro stipend to assist with their real-world costs while in residence.
Realness is also proud to announce a new partnership with Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). The festival will award a resident with a flight, festival pass and personalised itinerary allowing them maximum professional development during their time at TIFF.
Realness was founded in 2015 by Urucu Media, presented under the mentorship of Berlinale Talents, in partnership with Nirox Foundation, Durban FilmMart, The French Institute of South Africa and La Fabrique Cinema de L’Instituit Francais, TorinoFilmLab, Locarno Filmmaker’s Academy, Cocoon, Toronto International Film Festival, The CNC, EAVE and Fairbridges Attorneys.
Realness arose out of a need for promising African film projects to be resourced and supported at the crucial development phase so that they may be competitive in the international film financing market. The residency programme creates opportunity for creative interrogation and ensures that projects are given the space to mature sufficiently; such that, once they enter production, they result in films that have the potential to travel and appeal to both African and worldwide independent cinema audiences. Realness strives to empower African authors to tell stories through an African lens.