EXCLUSIVE: South African streamer Showmax has partnered with the Joburg Film Festival to launch an open commissioning brief to the African film industry, calling for pitches to fill a slate of 10 live-action films.

All submitted 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 40 minutes, in line with the SAFTAs Best Made-for-TV Movie Award category.

Story pitches are required to be in English and recorded as a video that is no longer than five minutes. Showmax said the pitch must also 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.

Submissions will open on February 1 on Showmax’s website. Entries close on April 1. The selected projects will be announced in the second half of 2023 and screened on Showmax in 2024.

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,” said 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.”


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