Netflix, Realness Institute open submission for Episodic Lab, Development Executive Traineeship 2023

The Realness Institute in partnership with Netflix, the world’s leading entertainment streaming service, has opened calls for submissions to its 2023 Episodic Lab and Development Executive Traineeship (DET) programmes.

The programmes will take place from April 30, 2023  to July 2023,’’ a statement by Press ’êth Communications said on Wednesday.

The Lab and Traineeship aim to support screenwriters and mid-career industry professionals from Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya who are seeking opportunities to develop their original story ideas in any genre.

It is also for those are looking to enhance their skills as story consultants respectively,’’ the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.

Bringing together a wealth of creative talent from Africa in these programmes, Realness Institute offers the Episodic Lab participants the opportunity to pitch their incubated stories to Netflix executives at the end of the programme.

It also offers DET participants a deeper understanding of the story development process, exposure to a more nuanced approach in the support of writers whilst simultaneously holding writers accountable for their creative work.

To support the participants to focus on their involvement in the programmes, Realness Institute will provide a monthly stipend of ZAR 33,000 (Thirty-Three Thousand South African Rands).

This is  for the duration of the Lab and traineeship to help cover their living expenses.

“As filmmakers we understand how difficult it is to find time and space to focus on our creative processes.

“To unpack stories, mull over and bounce ideas off others, benchmark ourselves against our peers as we hustle to make films, and pitch and search for funding and finance.

“In understanding this landscape, we are delighted that Netflix has once again partnered with us.

“To bring these two symbiotic programmes for African filmmakers in our joint quest to grow African stories and content on the continent,’’ Mehret Mandefro, Director of Development and Partnerships, Realness Institute, said.

Interested participants are encouraged to visit for Episodic Lab programme application and for Development Executive Traineeship programme application and wait to be shortlisted.

Application submissions open Oct. 26 and Dec. 22, 2022.

While there is no guarantee that any proposal will be developed further by Netflix, it is a unique opportunity to interface at key milestones with Netflix executives and be afforded the opportunity to pitch.

The 2022 Episodic Lab alumnus, Voline Ogutu from Kenya pitched an idea for a romance crime thriller Dilemma that has received a greenlight from Netflix for further development.

Ogutu, who has now started to turn her attention to next steps which include Writers’ Room planning, reacted   to her story idea being selected for further development.

“I am honoured and grateful to be part of this rare opportunity.

“To those who dream of telling African stories on the global stage, it is truly within your reach.

“Thank you to the Netflix and Realness team who were part of this process,” Ogutu said.

Commenting on Netflix’s partnership with Realness Institute, Allison Triegaardt, Manager for GROW Creative Africa at Netflix, said: “We are so thrilled to be continuing our partnership with Realness Institute for the 2023 edition.

“It is such a great opportunity to find, grow and nurture African storytellers and their uniquely African stories by giving them the time and resources they need to fully realise their vision and someday share their stories with a global audience.”

The Lab and Traineeship take place online and then for a week in-person in July 2023 at the Coot Club in Stanford, Western Cape. (NAN)

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