The National Film Authority (NFA) 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 September 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. The Storyboard Collective is also a partner of the program.
Ghana’s film industry has continued to play a significant role in African filmmaking, however, more can be done in the film ecosystem to boost economic development and create jobs.
The National Film Authority with its vision to assist writers to sharpen their skills and meet international best practice aligns its goal with the International Writers’ Lab. Anchored on this project, this partnership with IWL will open avenues for scriptwriters in Ghana to build their capacity and be exposed to global opportunities. More resources are needed to support outstanding film and television writers in Ghana. The IWL seeks to help in this direction by broadening the global networks of talented African writers.
The CEO of the NFA, Ms. Juliet Yaa Asantewa Asante, views the partnership as “an avenue to help us to strengthen the infrastructure the NFA is building for filmmakers in Ghana. Film is built on stories and these stories must be written and told in a creative way. We need creative writers to tell the Ghanaian and African stories and IWL will build the capacity of our writers to do that”
Up to five fellows will be selected for the Ghana cohort to refine their scripts for film. The fellows will be experienced writers with local and international credits and emerging changemakers in the African and global creative ecosystems.
Pauline Fischer, Founder of PMF Media Group and visionary for the program, hopes that the “Fellows will emerge from the Lab with enhanced skills and networks to successfully navigate Hollywood and build their brands as writers 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 also demonstrates another sustainable approach for diaspora engagement with Africa.
“The diaspora including African Americans working collaboratively with the deep creative talent in Africa can catalyze a renaissance of cultural production, new agency in narrative creation and shared prosperity.”
The IWL intends to expand its programming to include animation and gaming across the continent in the coming year.