The 2017 Realness Residency programme is now in its final stage as the second cohort of participants head to Durban International Film Festival (DIFF), where they will present their projects at the Durban FilmMart, to the industry under the mentorship of script consultant Selina Ukwuoma.
Realness was established in 2016 by Urucu Media with the aim of providing the best talent on the continent with the space, time and support necessary to create and develop their vision. “I had the honour of being invited to shadow Nadja Dumouchel as a script consultant” said script editor and content producer Mmabatho Kau. “Her writer-focused methodology reminds one that the writer is at the centre of the story-birthing process. Working with her, the writers and the REALNESS production team further reinforced my belief that African stories are universal and need to be heard as a matter of urgency”.
Realness 2017 began on 3rd June at the Nirox Foundation in the Cradle of Humankind, the location of their residency. The selected residents for 2017 are Lemohang Mosese (Lesotho), Mario Fradique Bastos (Angola), Rama Thiaw (Senegal), Samantha Nell (South Africa) and writer-director team Gloria Huwiler (Zambia) and Jahmil XT Quebeka (South Africa). “It’s the first time in my life that I’ve sat in a room and felt so understood by other filmmakers in terms of my experience as well as in terms of my goals and hopes,” said Samantha Nell. “The residency came at a moment in my life when I felt quite stuck artistically. It has provided the necessary perspective to begin writing a screenplay I now have a renewed passion for” adds fellow resident Gloria Huwiler.
The residents were mentored by Nadja Dumouchel for their first week and then enjoyed four weeks of solid writing punctuated by masterclasses, virtual reality film experiences and film screenings. One highlight of this year’s residency was a masterclass on film festival strategies with Toronto International Film Festival programmer Kiva Reardon. “There was a range of projects and visions, but all share a high level of artistic talent” said Reardon. “Leaving Nirox, it felt clear that REALNESS will greatly benefit this coming generation of filmmakers by creating a supportive space for growth, reflection and cross-continental collaboration.” Fellow mentor and script consultant Selina Ukwuoma will guide the residents ahead of their presentations at Durban Filmmart next week. “I have to take my hat off to the team responsible for the selection of participants/projects — they are of the highest standard with a great deal of potential, both artistic and commercial,” said Ukwuoma. “With a pan-African focus, the diversity of Africans is celebrated yet the particular concerns that we have in common come to the fore”.
The call for submissions for the 2018 Realness Residency will go out later this year.
Realness is made possible through partnerships with the Nirox Foundation, Durban Film Mart, Durban International Film Festival, Durban Talents, Berlinale Talents, The French Embassy of South Africa, La Fabrique Cinema de l’Instituit Francais, Goethe Institute, Centre National du Cinema et de l’Image Animee (CNC), Torino Film Lab (TFL), EAVE Producer’s Workshop, Locarno Filmmaker’s Academy, Fairbridges Wertheim Becker, Midpoint and Produire Au Sud.