The National Film Authority (NFA) of Ghana has entered into a partnership with the International Writers Lab (IWL) to showcase the Ghana film industry to Hollywood studios and streamers. The IWL was launched in 2021 to increase the opportunity for Hollywood production of stories from film and television writers in Africa, beginning in Kenya. Created by PMF Media Group, VentureLift Africa and The Blackhouse Foundation, the IWL is a unique accelerator and fellowship program that combines a writers lab — facilitated by the award-winning American filmmaker, Matty Rich (Straight Out Of Brooklyn and Inkwell), — mentorship from writers with Hollywood credits, career and business advice from Hollywood agents, studio executives, international sales agents, and talent management companies, and a pitch-fest to receive feedback and advice from distributors to refine the Fellows’ projects.
Ghana’s film industry has continued to play a significant role in African filmmaking. Despite its huge commercial and financial potential, the Ghanaian creative sector has long been a sleeping giant for economic development and job creation in Africa. When compared to Africa’s top entertainment hubs, Nigeria and South Africa, resources supporting outstanding film and television writers have had less visibility than other sectors of the Ghanaian economy. The NFA seeks to change this dynamic and broaden the global networks of talented African writers.
CEO of the NFA, Ms. Juliet Asante, views the partnership as “an opportunity that opens an important door for scriptwriters in Ghana. Writers are the backbone and skeleton of the film industry and its related disciplines. A good story is the beginning of any successful project. Without a well-told story and script, no amount of magic on set will be magical. It is for this reason that the National Film Authority of Ghana places a premium on building the craft as a key pillar in Ghana’s strategy to position itself as a film and content hub in the region. Authentic, well-researched, well told and well-written stories that make impact, are the outcomes we expect from this partnership and magic always happens in films and real life when these come together”
According to Laure de Peretti of the StoryBoard Collective, a Swiss-based philanthropy which also supports African episodic writers through the AuthenticA Series Lab in partnership with the Realness Institute and a continuing partner of IWL, “engaging the Ghanaian creative ecosystem is exciting and has a huge potential with a dynamic local film industry. IWL will benefit from very motivated talents who have the ambition to develop high quality productions. We are eager to see these authentic storylines developed into on-screen feature films by these three talented writers.”
Three fellows were selected for the Ghana Cohort to refine their scripts for film, including Ms. Anna Segbefia-Hanson, Mr. Elorm Adjaho and Mr. Fidaus Sulemana. The Fellows are experienced writers and emerging changemakers in the African and global creative ecosystems.
Pauline Fischer, Founder of PMF Media Group and visionary for the program, hopes that these “experienced and talented writers will emerge from the Lab with enhanced skills and broader networks to more successfully build their careers and expand their opportunities in Ghana, across the continent, and in the global entertainment industry”.
The 16-week program aims to culminate in a trip to an international film festival, where the Fellows will have the opportunity to participate in additional programs and further expand their professional network.
For Wilmot Allen, Founder of VentureLift Africa, the IWL serves as a catalyst for leaving a stronger African imprint on the world.
“We are hopeful to facilitate a deeper ecosystem of talented writers across the continent so that the world will come to understand Africa better in all of its diversity, creativity and originality.”
The IWL intends to expand its programming to include animation and gaming across the continent in the coming months. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org and visit www.iwlafrica.com.
The National Film Authority (NFA) is the authority set up by the government of Ghana to regulate and streamline the ecosystem of film in Ghana. The authority recognizes film as an important vehicle for socio-cultural and economic development bearing in mind that Ghana has always been an important voice in the development of film in Africa. The NFA is committed to working with all its stakeholders to ensure that Ghana is well positioned on the global landscape as a progressive nation with a strong drive to promote and facilitate high-quality productions to appeal to a global market.
PMF Media Group advises brands and independent production companies on selecting and developing high-impact IP and creating compelling content strategies. Based in Los Angeles, the company also develops and produces projects focused on global, multicultural protagonists across film, television and animation. The company is founded by industry veteran, Pauline Fischer, who is a celebrated global content executive, producer, dealmaker, and entrepreneur. She has held senior executive positions at top media companies including Vice President of Worldwide Acquisitions Paramount Pictures International and Vice President Original Films and Content Acquisition at Netflix.
VentureLift Africa (VLA) helps African companies grow and scale through value-added connections with an array of economic partners, focusing on the Diaspora. Based in Kenya, VLA’s media and entertainment efforts engage the film, television, gaming and digital media sectors through showcasing, producing, capacity building and connecting Africa’s creative talent to regional and international opportunities. The company leverages the Founder Wilmot Allen’s prior experience with the finance and strategy team at the ABC Television Network (Walt Disney Company) which managed the network’s primetime, daytime, late night, sports, and Touchstone Television properties, film finance with JPMorgan, and Executive in Charge of Production of the award-winning Tavis Smiley Show and a Creative Executive for KCET/PBS in Hollywood.
The StoryBoard Collective is an initiative that supports engaged narratives through partnerships with cultural organizations, residencies, media experts and festivals to build capacity and provide funding. The StoryBoard seeks to broaden, professionalize and hold space for the impact production industry and for episodic storytellers from underrepresented communities. StoryBoard offers grants to encourage an inclusive and resolutely independent storytelling community. The organization supports independent, transformative stories to be written, screened and shared in order to shift behavior and catalyze action.