Ghana’s National Film Authority (NFA) has partnered with the International Writers Lab (IWL) to promote the Ghana film industry to Hollywood studios and streaming services.
The IWL was established in 2021 to expand the possibilities for Hollywood production of stories written by African film and television writers, commencing 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 remained influential in African filmmaking. Despite its enormous commercial and financial potential, Ghana’s creative sector has long been a sleeping giant in Africa’s economic development and job creation.
Resources supporting excellent film and television writers have received less attention than other sectors of the Ghanaian economy when compared to Africa’s major entertainment centres, Nigeria and South Africa. The NFA aspires to alter this trend by expanding the global networks of brilliant African writers.
Ms. Juliet Asante, CEO of the NFA, sees the collaboration as “an opportunity that opens an important door for scriptwriters in Ghana.” Writers are the skeleton and backbone of the film business and associated disciplines. Any successful endeavor begins with a strong story. No amount of magic on set will be magical unless the story and script are well-told.
As a result, the National Film Authority of Ghana prioritizes craft development as a crucial pillar in Ghana’s goal 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.