StoryBoard is pleased to announce the second edition of the AuthenticA Series Lab, a unique programme for African episodic screenwriters.
AuthenticA is presented in partnership with the 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; and with the support of Series Mania Forum and the French Embassy in South Africa (IFAS).
AuthenticA is open to all African nationals. The six-month programme comprises a combination of online and in-person sessions, taking place from 19 September 2023 to 28 Mars 2024:
- Residency in South Africa: 19-26 September 2023
- Work from home with weekly online meetings: 26 September to 22 December 2023
- Break: 22 December 2023 to 21 January 2024
- Residency in Switzerland at the StoryBoard House: 22 January to 14 March 2024
- Festival attendance and pitch at Series Mania (France): 15 March to 22 March 2024
- Final debrief session at the StoryBoard House: 23 - 28 March 2024
AuthenticA will offer 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.
The outcome of the programme is that each participant will deliver a Pitch Deck and a pilot episode script. The rights of the material developed through the programme will remain with each writer.
AUTHENTICA FELLOWS 2023 - 2024
Kelly- Eve Koopman is a writer, change-maker and artivist. She has written and published a number of works, including her debut memoir Because I Couldn’t Kill You longlisted for the Sunday Times National Book Award in 2019.She is also the co-curator of the celebrated LGBTQI anthology They Called Me Queer and the African online speculative fiction anthology Our Move Next. Kelly just concluded a residency at the Johannesburg Institute for Advanced Studies, writing her first novel. She works across different disciplines and mediums including film and television and is currently doing her Masters in Creative Writing at The University of the Western Cape. Kelly-Eve is also an Atlantic Fellowship for Racial Equity alumnus and in her capacity as an activist has worked for and with various organizations and social movements, in pursuit of building a more just, equitable and care-based society.
Moreetsi Gabang graduated valedictorian from AFDA Johannesburg and is a Talents Durban 2017, Talents Berlinale 2018, 2021-2022 DFM Institute Business, and a DFM Jumpstart 2023 alumni. He completed his Master’s degree (First Class) after receiving the Vice-Chancellor’s Postgraduate International Scholarship to study at UAL: London College of Communication. His short film “Motswakwa” (Foreigner) was nominated for Best Short Film at the 2019 African Movie Academy Awards. His short film “Zombie Date Night in Tlokweng” won the 2023 NEFTI Competition Award as well as the Audience Choice Award. He is a two-time recipient of the Bessie Head Literature Award.
Tiah Beye born and raised between Senegal and Côte d’Ivoire, she came to France to pursue studies in a Grande Ecole. In 2012, she was crowned Miss Black France, a beauty contest aimed at highlighting diversity and excellence among black beauty while pointing out its lack of representation in the mainstream media. This, and her experience in Fashion houses encouraged her to pursue her dreams of working behind the camera and telling stories that she felt urgent to be heard. In 2019, she graduated from Kourtrajmé school, an unconventional and free cinema school founded by Ladj Ly. There, she wrote “Convoy” and participated in the Palais de Tokyo workshop « Jusqu’ici tout va bien ». She also produced a homemade documentary titled “Haïroines”, exploring the relationship between Black women and afro hair, during the Covid-19 lockdown. In 2022, she had the opportunity to join Netflix Grow Creative's program. Her ambition today is to develop dramedies inspired by her multicultural background.
Wanjiru Kairu is a versatile writer and director whose creative prowess spans radio, television, and film. Her portfolio boasts collaborative contributions to the acclaimed "Jongo Love," which earned an international Emmy for Best Production in an audio drama, resonating globally. With over 15 years of experience, she crafts narratives like "Pepeta," "Kona," and "Mali," leaving an indelible impact. Hailing from Nairobi, Kenya, she's earned Kalasha awards for exceptional work on "Makutano Junction" and "Tabasamu," solidifying her industry reputation. With expertise beyond television, she's written over 10 films for DSTV, showcasing her narrative mastery. In addition, Wanjiru's short films, including "New Year’s Eve," "Must be a God Fearing Christian Woman," and "Weakness," have garnered international recognition and nominations at prestigious events. Beyond creativity, she's dedicated to mentoring emerging talents, fostering the next generation of storytellers. As an instructor at Africa Digital Media Institute (ADMI), Africa Digital Media Academy in Kigali, and Multichoice Talent Factory, she amplifies impact. Additionally, her role as a script consultant for hit films and TV series across East Africa solidifies her influence. Wanjiru serves as Chairperson of the Kenya Scriptwriters Guild. Wanjiru's engagement in prestigious initiatives such as the International Writer’s Lab and Mira Nair's Maisha Film Lab is a testament to her unwavering pursuit of excellence. Her recognition as a Commonwealth Writers Grantee for "New Year’s Eve" showcases her dedication to amplifying impactful narratives. Presently, Wanjiru is immersed in multiple developmental projects, notably including "Hashtag Cancelled," which has been optioned by US-based PMF Media Group and is under the executive production of VentureLift Africa.
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.
Each of the four participants will receive a monthly stipend of 1000 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 for the South African, Swiss and Series Mania legs of the programme will be covered by AuthenticA. Selected participants shall arrange and cover the costs of their visas and travel insurance.
- Open to all African nationals
- Age requirement: 21+
- 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
- The language of the story must be in English or French and/or a local language
- The programme will be delivered in English, therefore applicants must be able to speak and write in 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
AuthenticA Fellows 2022 - 2023
Angela Wanjiku Wamai
has been working as a film editor in Nairobi for nearly a decade. In 2022, she completed her feature debut Shimoni (The Pit), which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and has continued a successful festival run. The film was awarded the Étalon de Bronze at FESPACO and the golden film award at the Luxor African film festival. Angela is drawn to stories of broken men and often explores the themes of fatherhood, grief, and loss in her work. Enkop (The Soil) is no different, and in this Neo-Western drama series, she situates this exploration in Kenya's vast and volatile ranchland.
is a South African screenwriter and director. Her feature film, currently in development, Wit Gesigte (Pale Faces) was selected for the Sundance Institute’s Screenwriters Lab, IFP’s 41st IFP Week (now The Gotham), and was a SFFILM Rainin Grant Finalist. Most recently, Chantel was invited to the Jacob Burns Film Center as the Sundance International Narrative Filmmaker-in-Residence and was a fellow in the inaugural AuthenticA Series Lab 2022-23, presented by Realness Institute, The StoryBoard Collective, and Series Mania.
is a Ghanaian-British playwright and screenwriter based in Accra. Her debut play QUEENS OF SHEBA won the Untapped Award, The Stage Award and an Off West End Award following a 10-city sold out National UK Tour in 2019. In January 2023, the play had a two-week run at The Public Theater, New York City. She was born and raised in London, England and moved to Ghana in 2018. Jessica heavily explores themes of identity, displacement and misogynoir in her work, drawing on her experiences as both a Diasporan and a Black Woman.
Jessica is also a recipient of the Writers Guild National Play Commission Scheme 2022 for BRENDA’S GOT A BABY, co-produced by Soho Theatre, New Diorama Theatre and Nouveau Riche. Her series COUP is currently in development.
Tony Sebastian Ukpo
is a Nigerian writer-director whose films, including Japanese murder mystery Random 11 and Nigerian romantic comedy Mum, Dad, Meet Sam have been released theatrically and streamed on Netflix and Amazon. As a photographer his work was featured as part of the 2022 Taylor Wessing photographic portrait prize.
Word from the filmmaker:
“My work is all about subverting expectations and telling stories from a different perspective. AuthenticA gave me the space and support to refine that approach in a way that brought me back to my roots as a screenwriter, as well as the opportunity to serve a new type of audience as well”