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AFRICAN HERITAGE WRITERS’ OPPORTUNITY

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MBABANE - Another great opportunity has availed itself.

EbonyLife and Sony Pictures Television(SPT) have officially announced a brand new platform called ÀLÓ for writers. The programme will offer a unique opportunity for writers of African heritage. The word ÀLÓ is from the Yoruba language and translates as ‘once upon a time’. Just like the words that have opened countless stories for hundreds of years, this is the beginning of an exciting journey to discover the best authentic African story ideas that will inspire and resonate with viewers across the globe. The ÀLÓ Initiative website will open for fixed periods beginning tomorrow.

Writers can submit their television scripts and story documents, which will then be reviewed and shortlisted by the ÀLÓ team which is comprised of creative executives from both EbonyLife and SPT. Speaking to Mo Abudu, Chief Executive Officer(CEO), of EbonyLife Media, she said entrants may be from countries out of Africa but must be of African heritage, born in any of the continent’s 54 countries or have proven citizenship as a native of the country, or be first generation children. She went on to add that the initiative is open to professionals, freelancers as well as up-and-coming writers, and there are no limitations to the story ideas or scripts.

Story

Any theme or story is welcome, but submissions must pay homage to Africa’s unique cultures, diversity, heritage and people. Successful candidates will have the opportunity to enter into a series pilot development agreement with SPT and EbonyLife under the ÀLÓ initiative to create and write a pilot script. Once completed, the projects will be pitched to major international broadcasters for their consideration.  “I am really excited about our growing partnership with Sony Pictures Television; from our deal for three scripted series, to our first-look agreement, and now the ÀLÓ Writers’ Initiative. “The name of this initiative inspires me, as we chose a word that holds so much personal meaning for me. I am particularly thrilled about the writers’ initiative because it is in line with our continent-wide vision to harness and grow our creative economy.

“It is focused on global storytelling that is authentically African and that gives African writers access to the biggest international broadcasters in the world.  It is a dream come true for me,” Abudu said. Nina Lederman, EVP Global Scripted Development for Sony Pictures Television, said “The ÀLÓ initiative is born out of SPT and EbonyLife’s shared passion for great storytelling. We know from our many, many conversations developing this initiative with Mo and her team at EbonyLife that there are countless stories from across the African continent yet to be told. We hope that this provides a unique platform to writers of African heritage with a story they want to bring to the world.”

The ÀLÓ Initiative will first open for submissions between September 24 and November 5 2021, with a further six-week period to be confirmed at a later date. Internationally, the initiative it is open to submissions from the US, Canada, the UK and EU, Australia and New Zealand, and Africa. It hopes to expand to include further regions for future submission periods. Full terms and conditions and eligibility criteria can be found on the ÀLÓ Initiative website here https://www.alowritersinitiative.com
The Eswatini National Council of Arts and Culture (ENCAC) Chief Executive Officer Stanley Dlamini applauded the brains behind the idea. He said the platform was a great opportunity for locals to show off their talents and export their craft.

Opportunity

“This opportunity can elevate the sector. The entertainment industry has the potential of improving the economical scale of the country just like other countries. Creatives should jump on this moving boat,” he said. Similo Sihlongonyane from Iphilakimi Films expressed his excitement and shared that the opportunity came at a right time. He said Eswatini has potential and stories that are ready to be shared. “This is a great initiative, I also like the fact that they are looking for original content which we have. Eswatini is a home of true talent, our colourful culture has so many bright untold stories,” he said. Phephile Mdluli who is an independent script writer concurred with Sihlonganyane and encouraged other script writers to utilize the opportunity presented.

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