REALNESS: 5 African screenwriters in residency @ the Nirox Foundation (June-July 2016)
The French Institute of South Africa is proud to support REALNESS, a pioneering residency initiative presented by Urucu South African production company.
REALNESS was conceived by Urucu as a way of addressing a need for promising African film projects to be resourced and supported in the development phase in order to be competitive in the global film market.
Five writers from South Africa, Madagascar, Kenya and Ethiopia have been selected to participate in the residency programme which started with an immersive industry experience at Africa’s leading finance and co-production market, Durban FilmMart (17-20 June 2016). The 5 residents are at the moment at the Nirox Artists’ Residency in the Cradle of Humankind, where they are given the time and space to develop drafts of their screenplays under the guidance of some of the industry’s top professionals. Among these professionals is the French script consultant Nadja Dumouchel who mentors the 5 screenwriters in the course of July.
REALNESS is presented under the mentorship of Berlinale Talents, in partnership with Nirox Foundation, Durban FilmMart, Restless Talent Management, the French Institute of South Africa and Institut Français’s Cinémas du Monde, Torino Film Lab (TFL), European Audiovisual Entrepreneurs (EAVE), Locarno’s Filmmakers Academy, Cinematheque Afrique and World Cinema Fund.
More about REALNESS’ residents
AMIRAH TAJDIN [KENYA]
Feature film project: HAWA HAWAII
Biography: Amirah Tajdin, 29, is a Kenyan artist and filmmaker. She graduated from Rhodes University with a Bachelor of Fine Art (Photography) in South Africa, was born and brought up in Nairobi and spent her teenage years in Dubai. She has since written and directed numerous visual pieces. Fluorescent Sin (2011) and His To Keep (2013), both short films, have played at over twenty fi lm festivals around the world with Fluorescent Sin garnering Jury Special Mention awards at the Zanzibar International Film Festival and Film Africa London. Her most recent co-directed short, Marea de Tierra (2015) premiered at the Cannes Directors’ Fortnight as part of the Chile Factory Residency. The film was also part of Sundance Film Festival in 2016 under the International Shorts Program. She currently splits her time between Africa and the Middle East balancing freelance commercial directing work and working on her cinematic projects.
HIWOT ADMASU [ETHIOPIA]
Feature film project: A FOOL GOD
Biography: One of the very few Ethiopian upcoming filmmakers with international exposure, Hiwot Admasu Getaneh believes she learned the art of storytelling from her grandmother. Though her love for art was obvious from her activities in the high school years, she first got her B.Sc in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Addis Ababa University in 2010. She then decided to follow her real passion, filmmaking, and joined the Blue Nile Film Academy in Addis Ababa. After experimenting with school shorts, she made her first professional short film New Eyes in 2015. The film premiered at the Venice International Film Festival in September 2015 and showed at the Toronto International Film Festival the same month. At Durban International Film Festival, the film has been awarded with The Best African Short Film Award; Hiwot was able to attend a lot of workshops and talent labs around the world; TIFF Talent Lab, Addis to Cannes and Berlinale Talents to mention a few. She says the mentorship of excellent filmmakers from such places helped her career a lot. Now, she is preparing to make her first feature film A Fool God.
LUCK RAZANAJAONA [MADAGASCAR]
Feature film project: DISCO AFRICA
Biography: Luck Razanajaona is an emerging filmmaker from Madagascar who graduated from the Marrakech School of Visual Art in 2011. He was invited to prestigious programs like Berlinale, Durban Talents and La Fabrique des Cinémas du Monde (2012). He also attended the Hailé Gerima workshop at the Luxor African Film Festival with his two shorts Zebu de Dadilahy and Madama Esther. He was in official competition and selected at several fi lm festivals worldwide like Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival, and won a prize at FESPACO. He moved to Moulin d’Andé for residency with support of CNC France and Institut Français, and worked with acclaimed scriptwriter Olivier Gorce. He also fi nished a new short project called Memories, a mix of Japanese sword film and sci-fi . He is currently working on Chants de Tlous and Disco Africa, a project that has just won the Step Fund Prize at Luxor African Film Festival 2015. He works a lot with the history of his country and its relationship with Africa; musically, as a composer and also on social drama.
SHEETAL MAGAN [SOUTH AFRICA]
Feature film project: THE DAY AND NIGHT OF BRAHMA
Biography: Sheetal Magan is an emerging South African talent who studied screenwriting and directing at AFDA where she graduated at the top of her class. She has completed several short fi lms including God Dank vir Klank (2011). She was selected to participate in the National Film and Video Foundation female fi lmmaker slate in 2015 where she made her short fi lm The Fall of Ganesh (2015) which screened at the Durban International Film Festival 2015. She was selected to participate in the Durban Talent Campus and subsequently selected to participate in Cannes South Africa Factory to make Paraya, one of four short fi lms that will open the Directors’ Fortnight in Cannes in 2016. She was recently identifi ed as one of fi ve creatives to watch in 2016 by the South African City Press. Sheetal is presently in development on her fi rst feature fi lm The Day and Night of Brahma, and an eight part miniseries entitled Acts of Man. She is interested in both experimental cinema and dramatic storytelling that demand cultivating a lens that articulates contemporary African problems.
WIM STEYTLER [SOUTH AFRICA]
Feature film project: UITLANDER
Biography: Wim Steytler, hailing from a family of pioneering writers, is an award-winning, young writer/director with a compulsive drive for creating edgy, realist narratives and constructing poetic, powerful imagery. He cut his teeth by earning a degree in fi ne art, editing for six years and being mentored by South Africa’s top directors. Picture Tree in Johannesburg now represents Wim as a director with producer Gary King. In his directorial debut, he picked up a prestigious CFP-E/SHOTS Young Director Award in 2014 at the Festival de Cannes for his narrative music video about xenophobic attacks in Johannesburg’s underbelly of hijacked buildings. For his fi rst short film, Wim was awarded Best Director at the 2015 Silwerskerm Film Festival in Cape Town for Skewe Reënboog (Crooked Rainbow) – an allegory on the failings of Rainbow Nation idealism. Wim aims to be part of the new wave of bold and uncompromising storytellers rising from the African continent.
Source: French Institute in South Africa