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Wednesday, April 27, 2022


(Top left: Elias Ribeiro; Bottom left: Mehret Mandefro;  Middle: Laurence Herszber; Top right: Selina Ukwuoma and bottom right: David Rimer)

Call for submissions closes: May 17, 2022.

Realness Institute launches AuthenticA Series Lab in partnership with The StoryBoard Collective. Call for submissions closes on May 17, 2022.

The Realness Institute, in partnership with The StoryBoard Collective, launches yet another exciting and empowering programme for African episodic screenwriters, AuthenticA Series Lab.

Realness Institute, a non-profit organisation, which aims to empower Africans to tell their stories from an unapologetically African point of view, is pleased to announce the open call for submissions for the first edition of AuthenticA. The programme is presented in partnership with The StoryBoard Collective, a Geneva-based philanthropic organisation that supports the development and impact outreach of transformative stories.

“We are thrilled that our new partnership with The StoryBoard Collective allows us to accept episodic submissions from all 54 African countries. Episodic storytelling across Africa affords an important opportunity for local screenwriters to strengthen their craft and showcase authentic, contemporary perspectives about a continent that is too often misrepresented in the public sphere,” says Mehret Mandefro, Director of Development and Partnerships at Realness Institute.

AuthenticA is open to all African nationals. The six-month programme, which will consist of a combination of online and in-person sessions, is set to take place from September 28, 2022, to April 7, 2023.

David Rimer, Founder of The StoryBoard Collective, adds: “We are looking for African stories that boldly portray cultural perspectives and are deeply rooted in the environment of the story. It is also important for us that the people and cultures portrayed are involved in the development, research and production phases. Finally, we would like the stories to address political and cultural issues unapologetically.”

AuthenticA will afford four African screenwriters the unique opportunity to develop their original stories of all genres in episodic form. Accompanying them on their journey is Story Expert, Selina Ukwuoma, and Creative Producer, Mehret Mandefro. The programme seeks to use the power of story to challenge dominant narratives and give authentic expression to African stories that will travel the globe and reach new audiences.

As part of the programme, the participants will get the golden opportunity to attend in-person residencies in South Africa for eight days, in Switzerland for two months and finally to pitch their projects at Series Mania Forum, one of the leading Series Coproduction Markets and Industry Programs at Series Mania in 2023. The writers will attend the International TV Series Festival in France, for four days. For the time in between, the cohort will be working online under the guidance of the mentors.

“Thanks to this new partnership with AuthenticA, Series Mania Forum will increase the slate of projects from Africa, once again confirming its position as the event where international industry professionals can find the best stories from all over the world," commented Laurence Herszberg, General Director of Series Mania. “Additionally, this partnership will help us to discover new talent within Africa where we will serve as the launchpad for many of the burgeoning creative screenwriters and producers in the region”.

Each of the four participating writers will receive a monthly stipend of 1,000 EUR for the duration of the programme. This is to help cover living expenses as they focus on developing their concept while being mentored. All travel and accommodation for the South African, Swiss and Series Mania legs of the programme are covered by the programme partners. “This is not an acquisition of rights, which rests with the talent and we would like nothing more than seeing them sold during the market,’’ comments Elias Ribeiro, who is the Programme Director.

Each participant will be required to deliver a Pitch Deck and Bible of international standards, including a pilot episode script. The rights of the material developed, through the programme, will remain with each writer.

For information on eligibility and the application process visit

Further enquiries about the programme and application process can be directed to email

Follow Realness on Twitter @rlnsinstitute, Instagram realnessinstitute or Realness Institute on Facebook for up-to-date information.

Follow StoryBoard on Instagram storyboard.collective and Linkedin The StoryBoard Collective for up-to-date information.