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Growth: Five picked for film fellowship

By Boniface Mithika | Jan 23rd 2022 | 3 min read

The five writers who made it to the International Writers’ Lab during the IWL and Kenya Film Commission breakfast at the Sarova Stanley, Nairobi on January 17, 2022.  [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Five writers have been unveiled as fellows with the International Writer’s Lab. They were unveiled by Kenya Film Commission in conjunction with Venture Lift Africa, Blackhouse Foundation and PMF Media.

The ceremony saw the first batch, an all-female team of five fellows selected for the inaugural Kenya class to refine their scripts for film and television.

Voline Ogutu, Caroline Kemunto, Wanjiru Kairu, Grace Irungu and Damaris Irungu will undergo a 10-week intensive and extensive training.

The writer’s fellowship is a creative accelerator whose core mission is to support global emerging storytellers in the early stages of the development of compelling film, TV or digital native projects and help position participants on a path to launch those projects or otherwise propel their careers forward through increased awareness and preparedness.

Last year, the International Writer’s Lab embarked on training specifically focused on the film industry to drive skills, impact and interest among the scriptwriters.

“Scriptwriting plays a major role in filmmaking in creating the main concept of your video production in written form. It provides a predetermined look at what will be said and what scenes will be shot to match the overall message you’re trying to portray,” said Dr Wilmot Allen, Co-founder IWL.

Film is the key

Speaking in the ceremony, Kenya Film Commission CEO Timothy Owase said:“This program is not only proof of the opportunities in the value chain for film production are varied, but most important is that Kenyans can do it. It also demonstrates the enormous interest in job creations”

He added that “every video production has a purpose, but without scriptwriting, the purpose is likely to be missed, as this is what sets the basis of all videos and films. While the execution of these positions can make or break a production, without scriptwriting, there is no purpose or direction of what is being shot.”

He also assured the fellows that they have his total unwavering support as long as film is concerned.

“The process was important for us as writers. Mostly our stories get global recognition, but locally, nobody recognizes the effort. The opportunity presented to us gave me a different perspective and an opportunity to sharpen my skills and equip all of us to better our stories,” said Damaris Irungu, an International Emmy Award-winning writer.

They will travel to the US, where they have been invited to the Blackhouse Foundation events at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, as part of the final segment of the program.

They will have an opportunity to participate in programs, salons and networking that is hosted each year to learn how to navigate to the Hollywood ecosystem and expand their international network with creative executives, writers, agents and management companies.

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