African video streaming platform, Showmax, has partnered with The Joburg Film Festival, to launch an open commissioning brief to the African film industry, calling for pitches for a slate of 10 live action films.
The proposals must have a first draft screenplay and be set in contemporary Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria or South Africa, with a first-time director attached who is a resident or citizen in those countries. All official Ghanaian, Kenyan, Nigerian and South African languages are welcome and the final films should be more than 40m, in line with the SAFTAs Best Made-for-TV Movie Award category.
The streamer has said the new brief will aim to discover new talent and open up the African film industry.
“Showmax’s audience prefers local content, with seven of the ten most streamed titles in South Africa, eight of the top 10 titles in Kenya and Nigeria, and nine of the top 10 in Ghana last year being African,” says Yolisa Phahle, CEO of Showmax and Connected Video at MultiChoice.
“Making your first film is a key turning point in any director’s career. So this brief is another way we are trying to empower local filmmakers to tell their own stories for their own communities in their own languages. We’re looking for authentic stories that will resonate with our local audiences. Popular genres like romcoms, family dramas and thrillers are always welcome.”
Submissions are now open on https://submissions.mnetcorporate.co.za/channel/showmax and entries close on 1 April 2023. The selected projects will be announced in the second half of 2023 and screened on Showmax in 50 countries across sub-Saharan Africa in 2024.
Pitches are required to be in English and recorded as a video not longer than five minutes. This video pitch should include short bios of the writer, director and producer; a concise summary of the story, including the ending; an introduction to your lead characters; and a discussion of your chosen genre and stylistic approach, with visual references.
For inspiration, watch Mandla N’s Showmax x Actor Spaces directing masterclass here: