Michael Omonua, Four Other African Screenwriters Score Realness Residency
The Realness African Screenwriters’ Residency has announced the selection of five talented individuals to participate in its seventh edition. Among the winners is Nigerian filmmaker Michael Omonua, who joins a group of exceptional screenwriters from across the continent.
The six-week residency, scheduled from July 14 to September 6 in South Africa, offers a unique opportunity for scriptwriters to receive mentorship and support in developing their feature film projects. By engaging with experienced story consultants and creative producers, the participants will refine their story concepts and transform them into compelling screenplays. Additionally, they will receive guidance on effective project pitching to industry partners, unlocking potential financing and production opportunities.
Omonua, known for his short film Rehearsal, which premiered at the 71st Berlinale and competed in various film festivals, expressed his excitement about the Realness Institute writer’s residency. “It’s a huge honour to be selected for the Realness Institute writer’s residency. I’ve always wanted to attend one with a project and felt the stars aligned because the timing was perfect for Galatians. I was invited to submit and was both relieved and excited when accepted. Coming off the back of ‘La Fabrique Cinema’, the project was in desperate need of script development.”
Speaking further with TNR, Omonua provided insights into his upcoming dark comedy feature film, Galatians, which serves as an expansion of his acclaimed short film. “Galatians is a satirical drama based on my short film Rehearsal (2021). It uses dark humour to explore the inner workings of a Nigerian miracle church and questions the morality of staged healings.”
Regarding the utilization of the residency, Omonua highlighted his intention to refine his storytelling skills and pitching strategies with the guidance of experienced mentors and fellow writers. “I had been working on a draft of the screenplay for 18 months and have struggled somewhat with it. I will use the residency to go back to the drawing board to get a better understanding of the story and its themes and what it is I’m trying to say. We’re in Stanford Hills Cape Town in the middle of Nature far removed from distractions. We have some great Script consultants and my fellow writers on the residency who we can lean on too when needed. I would also like to take the opportunity to thank the whole Realness team as it’s a great privilege to be here.”
The Realness African Screenwriters’ Residency, presented by the Realness Institute in partnership with the French Institute of South Africa, Institute Français Locarno Filmmaker’s Academy, Cocoon Productions, The CNC, and FAME Week Africa, continues to be highly regarded for its commitment to nurturing African filmmaking talent and promoting excellence in storytelling.