Realness Institute partners with Netflix to launch Content Development Lab for Nigerian Writers

Realness Institute

Realness Institute and global streaming service Netflix have announced a partnership to create an Episodic Content Development Lab for writers in South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria.

Through the partnership, Realness Institute emphasizes its commitment to foster a new wave of storytelling, while Netflix also brings its expertise in episodic content development, production and insight into global content trends.

“At Netflix, we believe that great stories come from anywhere and be loved everywhere,” says Dorothy Ghettuba, who leads African Original Series in Africa. “We strongly believe that Africa has a wealth of untold stories. As we grow our slate of Originals in Africa, partnerships with organisations like Realness will help us achieve our goal of investing in writers who will bring diverse genres of authentic, local stories that cater for every mood and will ensure our members see their lives reflected on screen.”

Dorothy Ghettuba

Submissions into The Writer’s Lab goes live at the end of November 2020 on and is open to writers with Film and TV experience in any genre (fictional or factual) or language. The Lab will select six writers to work on their projects to be developed and commissioned by Netflix.

The selected writers will be paid a stipend of 2000 USD per month to participate and are expected to be available full time for a period of 3 months, from June to September 2021.

Since Realness Institute’s inception in 2015, the Institute has delivered 5 editions of its Screenwriters’ Residency. Recently, it held its first Development Executive Traineeship and Creative Producer Indaba, in which the artistic director of the Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF), Chioma Onyenwe was a participant. The Institute will also expand its offering next year to the episodic content space, thereby promoting its mission to empower African storytellers and improve the film industry.

Netflix Realness Institute
Realness Institute partners with Netflix

“We had fun shaping the program with the Netflix team. We all share a love for storytelling, and Netflix’s writer-centric approach is very much in line with our ethos,” co-founder and creative director of Realness Institute, Elias Ribeiro.

Elias Ribeiro
Elias Ribeiro

According to veteran Ethiopian broadcaster and Realness Institute’s director of Development and Partnerships, Mehret Mandefro, “This program is a response to the dramatically-changing broadcasting ecosystem, which has a very important role to play in building a thriving media ecosystem in local markets and providing episodic creators with distribution opportunities.”

Mehret Mandefro

Over the past year, there has been a massively growing appetite for new and exciting African content to star on global streaming platforms. Netflix has recently enjoyed much success with its first two African original series, Queen Sono and Blood & Water.

More information on the Episodic Lab, the eligibility criteria and submission process will be released with the call for submissions on on 30 November 2020.

For further information on Realness Institute, visit

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