Showmax opens submissions for Kenyan, African films
African streaming giant Showmax has called for submissions for a slate of 10 live action films. Showmax announced the news at the recent Joburg Film Festival where the streamer has won the “South African Film and Television Awards, Made-for-TV Movie Award” for two years in a row.
The new brief, in partnership with the Joburg Film Festival, is aimed at finding new talent and opening up the industry. 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.
“Showmax’s audience prefers local content, with...eight of the top 10 titles in Kenya 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; 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.
Who qualifies as a first-time director?
In this context, first-timers will not have directed a film or TV series episode of 40m or longer. Experience directing other formats, from shorter films and series to commercials, is allowed. Please note that all applicants must be African residents or citizens.
What budget is available per film?
This will be decided on a case-by-case basis. Period films that require set construction; fantasy or sci-fi films that require extensive VFX; and action films that require mass destruction of expensive property are discouraged, while applicants are encouraged to limit the number of characters and sets as much as possible, while staying true to the vision of their films.
What should my video pitch cover?
• Short bios of your writer, director and producer
• Who are you?
• Where are you from?
• What projects have you done?
• Why are you passionate about this project and uniquely qualified to make it?
NB: You’re advised to kindly refrain from attaching key crew and cast if they’re not legally committed to the project.
Strong logline & premise
• Record yourself and give a short but concise summary of your story, including the ending, in no more than 3m.
• Make this as intriguing and entertaining as possible. Think about every single word you use.
• What does your character want? What are they struggling with and how do they overcome it? Include the binaries and contradicting themes and resolutions.
• Where is this set and how does the setting shape the story?
• What is the genre of your film and how will you address the unique requirements of this specific genre?
• Introduce the characters and why they are relatable.
• Explain the overall beats to give an understanding of where the story and characters start, their emotional journeys, and where they end up.
• Include relevant plot points.
Look & feel
• Talk about how you are going to make this production.
• What tone and texture are you going for?
• What are your visual and stylistic goals?
• Use visual references to help your proposal.