Netflix, a US streaming service, has partnered with the Realness Institute, an incubator for African filmmakers, to launch a content development lab for writers in South Africa, Kenya, and Nigeria.

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In a statement on Tuesday, the institute said that submissions into The Writer’s Lab — which would be open to writers who have film and TV experience in any genre (fictional or factual) or language — would go live towards the end of November 2020.

On the project, Dorothy Ghettuba, who leads Netflix’s African Original Series in Africa, said: “At Netflix, we believe that great stories come from anywhere and be loved everywhere. We believe Africa has a wealth of untold stories.

“As we grow our slate of Originals in Africa, partnerships with organisations like Realness will help us achieve our goal of investing in writers who will bring diverse genres of authentic, local stories that cater for every mood.”

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It is understood that the lab will select six writers to work on content to be developed and commissioned by Netflix.

It is also believed that the selected writers will be paid a stipend of $2000 (USD) monthly to participate and are expected to be available full time for a period of three months spanning June to September 2021.

Netflix’s partnership with Realness Institute comes after the latter had its first development executive traineeship in which Chioma Onyenwe, artistic director of the Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF), had participated.

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On his part, Elias Ribeiro, the co-founder of the institute, said: “We had fun shaping the program with the Netflix team. We all share a love for storytelling, and Netflix’s writer-centric approach is very much in line with our ethos.”

Mehret Mandefro, the institute’s director of development and partnerships, who is also an Ethiopian broadcaster, said the project aligns with the fast-changing nature of the broadcasting ecosystem.

“This program is a response to the dramatically-changing broadcasting ecosystem. It has a role to play in building a thriving media ecosystem in local markets and providing episodic creators with distribution opportunities,” she said.

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