national Arts Festival Banner

Sunday, July 30, 2023



Five talented African screenwriters have been selected to participate in the 7th Realness African Screenwriters’ Residency from July 14 to September 6 in South Africa.

The six-week programme aims to mentor scriptwriters in a creative and nurturing environment, to enable them to advance their feature film projects. By engaging with story consultants and creative producers, the screenwriters will work on the essence of their story concepts to develop them into compelling screenplays. Alongside this, the cohort is also given guidance to effectively pitch their projects to industry partners for financing and production opportunities.

“It is always an honour to welcome exciting African voices to the residency and to provide the freedom and support the filmmakers need to take their projects to the next level. We look forward to continuing the residency's pursuit of excellence,” says Story Consultant, Thandeka Zwana.

(Right; Chantel Clark. Pic supplied)

The five scriptwriters are:

Amartei Armar (Ghana) is a writer/director whose most recent work, TSUTSUƐ premiered at Cannes as part of the official selection, competing for the Short Palm D’or; a first for Ghana. He will work on his second feature film a period drama titled Ever Young.

Michael Omonua (Nigeria) is a writer/director whose short film Rehearsal (2021) had its world premiere in competition at the 71st Berlinale, and was in competition at many film festivals. He will work on his second feature film - Galatians a dark comedy.

Chantel Clark (South Africa) is screenwriter and director who will be working on her debut feature film Pale Faces, a drama/horror which is currently in development. The project was selected for the Sundance Institute’s Screenwriters Lab, and two other labs.

Chadi Zeneddine (Gabon/Lebanon) is a writer/director who has worked for 20 years in the film industry with the major international film festivals, developed a project with Walt Disney Studios and is currently doing his PHD in film. He will work on his second feature film - a project titled This is What They Call Us a drama/mystical/coming-of-age feature. 

Babalwa Baartman (South Africa) is a social entrepreneur and filmmaker who uses storytelling as a tool for healing and activism. Her project Eziko is her second feature film and her first solo scriptwriting experience.

(Left: Babalwa Baartman. Pic supplied)

“The residency is such a sacred and enriching space to create,” explains Cait Pansegrouw, Co-Founder and Director of Artistic Operations at the Realness Institute. “It’s rare to be surrounded and supported by fellow Africans as you continue to discover your voice as a filmmaker. It is a privilege for me to play a small role in the development of these artists and their stories.”

The participants will work with experienced mentors: Story Consultants Selina Ukwuoma and Thandeka Zwana and Creative Producer Cait Pansegrouw, during the residency in Stanford in the Western Cape. Here they will also be guided on how to pitch projects and effectively network at industry events. They will then put this to the test in September at FAME Week Africa - a major platform for the development and networking of the creative industries on the continent, which this year sees over 1600 delegates attend.

“I’m excited to be back on the continent sharing in the lucid dreams of the next group of visionary filmmakers,” says Story Consultant Selina Ukwuoma.  “They’re encouraged to be expansive — to stretch their creativity to its limits — before then honing the craft skills that enable them to present the fruits of that exploration to the industry in their pitch at FAME Week Africa at the end. The emphasis on craft meeting creativity is crucial.”

“We are really thrilled to host the Screenwriters' Residency at FAME Week Africa this year,” says Martin Hiller, Portfolio Director: FAME Week Africa. “The convergence of significant stakeholders within the film and creative sectors at the event, offers an important opportunity for these scriptwriters to network, pitch and do “business”. Taking one’s story from the page into the development process is an important part of the filmmaking value chain, and this is ultimately what we set out to do – act as an enabler for the economic growth of the creative sector.”

The highly regarded and effective development programme is presented by the Realness Institute in partnership with the French Institute of South Africa and Institute Français Locarno Filmmaker’s Academy, Cocoon Productions, The CNC, and FAME Week Africa.

For more information, go to:

For more information on FAME Week Africa: