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African Writers Pitch Stories at Prestigious TV Series Market in France

A cohort of African writers from the AuthenticA Series Lab will gather in Lille, France at the end of this week (15 March) to prepare to pitch their unique stories at the Series Mania Foruma major TV series market that attracts influential buyers, investors, funders, broadcaster, and producers from around the globe.


“At the 2023 Series Mania, all four of the AuthenticA Series Lab writers’ stories were taken up by either broadcasters or leading production companies. We hope for the same result this year after an intense six months of mentorship and development through the Lab,” says Mehret Mandefro, Director of Development & Partnerships at the Realness Institute.


Pitching at Series Mania this year are Kelly-Eve Koopman (South Africa) with an urban fantasy – Facing the Mountain, Moreetsi Gabang (Botswana) with a crime drama – Outreach, Tiah Beye (Senegal/Côte d’Ivoire) with a comedy-drama – Brouteure (The Yahoo Girl) and Wanjiru Kairu (Kenya) with a political satire Serikali Saidia!.


The AutheticA Series Lab, now in its third year, is a programme that supports the professional development of creators of serial content. Designed in collaboration and presented in partnership with the StoryBoard Collective with support of Series Mania Forum, the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs and the French Institute of South Africa (IFAS). 


The relationship between Realness and Series Mania has sparked a robust and enthusiastic interest in authentic African content that can speak to global audiences.


This year, in conjunction with Authentica Series Lab , an official South African delegation of 12 South African producers and stakeholders will represent formally for the first time at Series Mania, sponsored in part by the National Film and Video Foundation, and the French Institute of South Africa. Realness AuthenticA alumnus Chantal Clark, will also be in attendance as she has been selected for a scholarship to its Writers’ Campus, a Series Mania Institute initiative supported by the Realness Institute.


Creation Africa, an initiative led by France’s Department of Foreign Affairs to foster collaboration between France and Africa, has established a pavilion at the Forum where  African delegations will have a dedicated space to host their meetings. The Creation Africa Pavilion, and the AuthenticA Series Lab will host an African Talents & Industry Breakfast on Tuesday 19 March 09h00 in Salon Blue at the Forum. On the same day at 16h15 in Room 3.2, the four current writers in the cohort will pitch their series to around 300 industry representatives.


“I’m delighted to welcome Authentica Series Lab participants to Creative Bazaar and Series Mania Forum for the second year running,” enthuses Francesco Capurro, Director of Series Mania Forum. “Our collaboration with the Realness has proved invaluable in amplifying African voices on the international stage. This year marks an important milestone as Africa’s representation at the Forum reaches unprecedented levels, with a delegation attending for the first time under the Creation Africa Pavilion. We look forward to facilitating connections between African talent and international professionals at the Forum.”


It is of particular significance that Realness is fostering stronger bonds with France, following the entry into force in 2023 of the new cinematographic and audiovisual co-production agreement between South Africa and France


“This unique agreement is a valuable tool for the industry, and nurtures more valuable partnerships and projects, like AuthenticA, that actively fosters co-productions, uniting French and South African creators, sharing narratives, and driving economic growth and sustainability for both industries,” says David Martinon, Ambassador of France to South Africa, Lesotho and Malawi.


Director of The StoryBoard Collective, Laure de Peretti de la Rocca says, ““The four scriptwriters have spent the last two months in residency at the StoryBoard House which allowed us to witness the quality of their work and their readiness to captivate the audience of Series Mania with the compelling narratives they have meticulously woven.”


For more information about AuthenticA Series Lab and other Realness Institute industry development programmes go to:

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