The Realness Institute, which hosts the annual Realness African Screenwriters’ Residency aimed at developing feature film projects, welcomes Ethiopian filmmaker Mehret Mandefro (of A51 Films) as its newest force on the team.
Mehret is an award-winning producer and writer whose credits include the Sundance and Berlinale Audience Award winner Difret, the New York Times Critic’s Pick Little White Lie, and Sweetness in the Belly starring Dakota Fanning and Yahya Abdul-Mateen which recently premiered at TIFF. She co-founded the independent media production company Truth Aid in New York and is currently based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia where she is a senior producer at A51 Films, an independent production company dedicated to nurturing new voices in Ethiopian cinema and building the local industry through talent training and production.
Mehret is currently the private sector liaison for Ethiopia Creates, a national effort led by Tourism Ethiopia to jumpstart the creative sector and is coming on as a co-founder of the Realness Institute to do the same for the film sector across sub-Saharan Africa. She is an alumnus of the Sundance Institute’s New Voices Lab, Film Forward, and American Film Showcase.
“Mehret comes to us with over a decade of experience in producing, broadcasting and social impact programming as well as public art advocacy,” says Elias Ribeiro who founded Realness in 2015. “Mehret and I met co-mentoring labs across Africa addressing a scarcity of producers who understand international financing and have access to international networks. We look forward to the growth of this relationship which will afford a strong presence of our Institute in East Africa.”
Submissions for the 5th edition of Realness African Screenwriters’ Residency and the very first Creative Producer Indaba close on 31 January 2020. Since Realness’ inception, 22 scriptwriters have enjoyed the programme which includes a six-month incubator, with a six-week residency at Nirox Foundation, followed by attendance at the annual Durban FilmMart where they are mentored and pitch their projects to film professionals.
Mehret adds: “Indaba will equip producers with the skills, mentorship, and much-needed access in order to get film projects developed and financed. We are particularly looking for promising leaders s who want to play a role in the creation of more financial instruments and better policies for films to be made on the continent”.
For more information or to submit go to https://www.realness.institute/