The Realness African Screenwriters Residency is an incubator for African screenwriters.

It provides residents with the practical support needed to refine their projects from a creative perspective, as well as to position their projects to industry partners for potential financing and production.

The residency acts as a year-round support system to alumni, helping them take their scripts from the page to the screen, and fostering a new wave of authentic African cinema in the process.


Programme outline

Comprised of two six-week sessions, as well as a market experience, the programme provides screenwriters with the space and support to hone their skills and refine their projects.

Operating from the stunning Cradle of Humankind in South Africa, the first six-week period is focused on incubation – residents write in an inspiring and relaxed environment while being coached by script consultants and mentors.


Residents then attend the Durban International Film Festival as participants of the Market (DFM) after receiving mentorship on how to pitch their film projects and attract financial investment.

After the festival participation, residents are given a further six weeks to finesse their work from home, while maintaining contact with mentors.

We submit all final deliveries to our international partners for awards consideration. All participants are eligible for scholarships to attend further labs and workshops, such as the Locarno Filmmakers Academy, Torino Film Lab Meeting Event, EAVE Producer's Workshop and La Fabrique des Cinemas du Monde in Cannes.

African filmmakers rarely have the opportunity and access to programs like this.
— Reem Morsi, Egypt, 2018

Participants and eligibility

We look for filmmakers with distinct voices and perspectives, who are devoted to their craft, and have a steadfast passion for cinema.

You are eligible to apply for the residency if:

  • You have an up-to-date African passport.

  • 60 - 70% of your script is filmed on the African continent.

  • Your script is fiction. We do not accepting non-fiction work at this time.

  • Adaptations are eligible although you must include proof that rights to the book have been acquired with your application.

Realness has given me the creative freedom and nurturing that an artist can only dream of.
— Kantarama Gahagiri, Rwanda, 2018


Applicants must submit a single PDF dossier containing:

  • A motivation for wanting to participate in the Realness Residency (1 page).

  • A synopsis of the proposed feature project (1 page).

  • A treatment of the proposed feature project (6 pages).

  • A draft of the screenplay.

  • A writer's note of intention (1 page).

  • A short biography (1 paragraph).

  • Two samples of previous work, uploaded to vimeo. If selected, residents will be required to donate one copy of their previous work to the Nirox film library.

  • A producer's note (if a producer is attached).

  • A producer's biography and the production company’s profile (if a producer is attached).

  • Visual reference material (optional).

All submitted material must be in English however, screenplays written in French or Portuguese will also be accepted (with all supporting documents in English).

Selection will be based on artistic merit alone. The Realness Institute will hold no legal claim over the work once the residency is completed.

Deadlines and dates

Applications for the 2019 residency closed on 31 January 2019.

To be notified when applications re-open, please subscribe to our newsletter.

I love what you do. But more than that. I love how you do it.
— Hiwot Getaneh, Ethopia, 2016


Participation is free.

All expenses are paid, including travel, accommodation and meals.

...the space you have created became a home to us - and the home allowed us to become a family.
— Samantha Nel, South Africa, 2017

Programme partners

We are grateful for the support of Berlinale Talents, in partnership with Nirox Foundation, The French Institute of South Africa and Institute Français’s Cinémas du Monde, Torino Film Lab, EAVE Producer's Workshop, Toronto International Film Festival and Locarno Filmmaker's Academy.


Meet the 2019 residents

  • Athi-Patra Ruga

  • Beza Haillu Lemma

  • Fanyana Hlabangane

  • Firoza Houssen

  • Iman Djionne

  • Silas Miami