Four African screenwriters have been selected for the second edition of the AuthenticA Series Lab, a program managed by the Realness Institute.
This initiative supports the development of series scripts and is created in partnership with the StoryBoard Collective, with backing from the Series Mania Forum, the French Embassy in South Africa, and others.
Here are the selected writers, who will undergo a six-month mentorship program with the opportunity to pitch their work at the Series Mania Forum 2024 in France:
Tiah Beye: Originally from Senegal/Côte d’Ivoire and now based in France, studied in France and recognized the underrepresentation of Black-led stories in the media. She graduated from Kourtrajmé School and produced the documentary “Haïroines,” exploring the relationship between Black women and afro hair during the COVID-19 lockdown. In 2022, she participated in Netflix’s Grow Creatives program.
Moreetsi Gabang is a valedictorian graduate of AFDA Film School in Johannesburg, South Africa. He is an alumnus of several film development programs, including Talents Durban, Talents Berlinale, DFM Institute Business, and DFM Jumpstart. His notable work includes the short film “Motswakwa (Foreigner),” nominated for Best Short Film at the 2019 African Movie Academy Awards, and “Zombie Date Night in Tlokweng,” which won the 2023 NEFTI Competition Award and the Audience Choice Award.
Wanjiru Kairu is from Kenya and currently serves as the chairperson of the Kenya Scriptwriters Guild. She is an award-winning writer and director with a versatile creative background spanning radio, television, and film. Her international Emmy for Best Production in an Audio Drama is among her notable achievements. Wanjiru has also written over 10 films for DSTV and received international recognition for her short films.
Kelly-Eve Koopman is based in Cape Town, South Africa, and is a writer, change-maker, and “artivist.” Her work includes her debut memoir, “Because I Couldn’t Kill You,” and co-curation of the LGBTQI anthology “They Called Me Queer” and the African online speculative fiction anthology “Our Move Next.” Kelly-Eve recently completed a residency at the Johannesburg Institute for Advanced Studies, working on her debut novel and pursuing a Master’s in Creative Writing at The University of the Western Cape.
The lab aims to support these screenwriters in developing their original episodic stories. Throughout their journey, they will be mentored by Story Expert, Selina Ukwuoma, and Creative Producer, Mehret Mandefro. At the end of the program, each participant will have a Pitch Deck and a pilot script, retaining the rights to their material.
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