The Realness Institute, in partnership with Netflix, has finally announced its 2022 Episodic Lab (EPL) and Development Executive Traineeship (DET) cohort. This follows an open call that was made in November last year to Kenyan, Nigerian, and South African screenwriters.
In the 2022 edition, 3 out of the 12 selected participants are Kenyans. They include Episodic Lab finalists Hussein Kurji and Voline Ogutu and Development Executive Traineeship finalist Mona Ombogo. The successful applicants were drawn from a competitive pool of 200 submissions received during the open call.
Speaking on the opportunity, EPL finalist Hussein Kurji could not hide his excitement as he said, “Anxious and excited. It’s not every day an opportunity, specifically to showcase African talent, comes around. The Lab will strip our writing bare, and we’ll all be better for it. Bring it!”
Kenyan DET finalist Mona Ombogo further echoed her joy to make it to the coveted cohort by stating, “So wow! Realness Institute and Netflix! There are those moments when you know your life is about to change exponentially. This is one of them. I’m ecstatic to take this journey with fellow writers and become more… More stories, more truth, more boundaries. Just more!”
The other Episodic Lab finalists include Khanyo Mjamba (South Africa), Mlilo Mpondo (South Africa), Neo Sibiya (South Africa), and Sandra Madu (Nigeria).
Development Executive Traineeship finalists are Babalwa Baartman (South Africa), Khosie Dali (South Africa), Neiloe Whitehead (South Africa), Omotunde Akiode (Nigeria), and Pedro Duarte Soulé (Cabo Verde).
According to Realness Institute, each of the 12 participants will receive a monthly stipend of USD 2,000 during the incubation period. This is to cover living expenses as they focus on their concept and professional development.
The finalists will gain in-depth knowledge of the story development process, working alongside creative producers and story experts. DET Participants will work in teams to support the development and crafting of the Episodic Lab Participants’ respective projects and help translate their concepts into pitch decks.
The approach, of both programmes, is vertical and horizontal learning, using writing rooms as a co-creating collaborative space.