We are pleased to announce the open call for submissions for the first edition of the AuthenticA Series Lab, an exciting and empowering programme for African episodic screenwriters.

The programme is presented in partnership with Realness Institute, a South Africa based non-profit organisation, which aims to empower Africans to tell their stories from an unapologetically African point of view.

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 28 September 2022 to 7 April 2023:

  • Residency in South Africa - 28 September to 5 October 2022
  • Work from home with weekly online meetings - 10 October to 7 December 2022
  • Break - 7 December 2022 to 8 January 2023
  • Work from home with weekly online meetings - 9 January to 31 January 2023
  • Residency in Switzerland - 1 February to 7 April 2023. This includes a trip to Series Mania (France) - 17 March to 24 March 2023

AuthenticA will offer to four African screenwriters the unique opportunity to develop their original stories, of all genres, in episodic form. On their story development journey, they will be accompanied by Story Expert, Selina Ukwuoma, and Creative Producer, Dr. Mehret Mandefro.

Selina Ukwuoma is an accomplished freelance script consultant. She began her career at literary agency Curtis Brown working on theatre, film and television projects. She has since gone on to advise on award-winning indies as well as consulting for production companies and designing and running development initiatives such as Realness Screenwriters’ Residency and the Film Prize of the Robert Bosch Foundation. Selina teaches screenwriting at the UK’s National Film and Television School and regularly mentors and leads workshops at film festivals.

Dr. Mehret Mandefro draws on her interdisciplinary training as a physician and anthropologist to create compelling narratives she calls "visual medicine." She co-founded the independent media production companies Truth Aid in New York and Area 51 Films in Ethiopia, and was most recently the Executive Producer of Ethiopia’s largest general entertainment channel Kana Television. Mehret also coordinates Ethiopia Creates, a multidisciplinary effort dedicated to strengthening Ethiopia's creative economy, and is co-founder of Realness Institute, which aims to build the film and television industry across Africa.

The outcomes of the programme: each participant will develop their authentic story while receiving guidance and support from industry experts, who will accompany them until delivering a Pitch Deck, a Bible of international standard and a pilot script. The rights of the material developed, through the programme, will remain with each writer.

Series Mania, our programme partner, will offer the four selected participants the chance to pitch their project to TV series professionals. Based in Lille since 2018, Series Mania has become the biggest event dedicated uniquely to TV series in Europe.

AuthenticA will provide an immersive experience in artist residencies in South Africa and Switzerland with the opportunity for the participants to expand their network and knowledge, as well as finding financing opportunities.


Each of the four participants 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 to South Africa, Switzerland and France will be covered by the programme. Selected participants shall arrange and cover the costs of their visas and travel insurance.


  • Open to all African nationals
  • Age requirement: 18+
  • Writers with experience in either film or television
  • If the writer is part of a writing team, only the applicant will be able to participate if selected
  • Story Concept must be set in Africa, and the language of the produced work must be in English and/or a local language
  • The application form must be completed in English
  • The programme will be delivered in English, therefore applicants must be able to speak English
  • Open to all genres
  • No producer/production company attachment necessary
  • Willing to commit to 8 days in person in South Africa, 2 months in Switzerland, and attend the online sessions from home


Applicants must complete the online application form

Apply here

Applicants will also be required to pay a submission fee of 500 ZAR.

We open for applications on 20 April 2022 and close on 17 May 2022 at 17:00 Central African Time (CAT).

If you have any questions about the programme or application process, email: submissions@realness.institute