Netflix kicked off its first 90-day Episodic Lab (EPL) and Development Executive Traineeship programmes (DET) in Africa on Sunday, June 13th. The initiative was set up in collaboration with a South Africa-based film-maker institution called the Realness Institute.
The content streaming and film production firm reported having received over 500 applications from various countries across the continent. This includes Nigeria, Kenya, Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe. Unfortunately, the long list was trimmed down to just twelve who were then selected to participate in both training sessions.
Among the lucky professionals to take part in the Episodic Lab was Mary Waireri alongside Andile Ngcizela, Dominique Jossie and Kudakwashe Maradzika from South Africa. Others were Ayoade Adeyanju and Kehinde Joseph from Nigeria.
The individuals taking part in the EPL program will receive about $2,000 (roughly KES 215,000) for monthly upkeep as they focus on the training that is running remotely till September 5th, 2021. Each writer will then be required to have an opportunity to present their idea to Netflix at the end of the lab. This is so that the firm can monitor the trainees’ series further developed for production.
On the other hand, the DET will have the other half of the group trained for more executive roles as they immerse themselves in the process of story development. They will also receive technical training by working with the EPL writers to develop concepts into quality production pieces.
The group includes Damaris Irungu Ochieng’ from Kenya, Mozambican Lara Sousa, Nigerian Ololade Okedare and Anneke Villet, Antionette Engel and Thandeka Zwana from South Africa.
The programme from Netflix is aimed at improving and strengthening quality storytelling in Africa as the streaming company looks to produce more original local content from African creative writers.
This is definitely a welcome move from the firm as it could a pool of writers not only create stories in Africa but also go further to represent their nations on a global scale.
But there is definitely a need for more productions from the continent to be made and posted on platforms like Netflix for the world to see and appreciate.
“Without the existence of our storytellers, our favourite Netflix stories wouldn’t be possible,” Alison Triegaardt, Netflix manager for Grow Creative in Africa, said. “Africa has an amazing pool of talent – both in front and behind the camera – hence Netflix is committed to investing in African stories and talent long-term.”