Zimbabwean filmmaker Sue-Ellen Chitunya selected for Realness Institute’s Development Executive Traineeship in partnership with Netflix

Zimbabwean Filmmaker, Sue-Ellen Chitunya has been selected for the Realness Institute’s Development Executive Traineeship in partnership with Netflix.

The traineeship began on April 30 and will run for three months.

Chitunya  is a member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (Oscars), and a graduate of  Georgia State University and of the UCLA professional producing programme.

She has produced several shorts that have screened at festivals around the world. Her varied work experience includes marketing for Disney College Program, programming for various festivals; and has worked as a Post Production Coordinator on Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Endgame (2019) and Black Panther (2018) amongst others.

Chitunya is amongst the other 12 participants from five African countries.

The 12 participants will work towards refining their skills as episodic screenwriters and develop their story ideas.

At the end of the programme they will have the opportunity to pitch their stories to Netflix Content executives.

“In the DET Traineeship, participants will obtain a more profound comprehension of the process of story development and be guided through a holistic approach to supporting writers in their creative process. Working in teams to support the creative development of the Episodic Lab Participants’ projects, they will ultimately help them transfer their story concept into polished pitch decks to be able to pitch their projects to Netflix for a first look deal.

“This cohort will be mentored by Elias Ribeiro (Executive Director of Realness and Founder and Creative Producer at Urucu Media), Mehret Mandefro (Director of Development and Partnerships at Realness and Founder and Creative Producer at Truth Aid (USA) and A51 (Ethiopia)), Selina Ukwuoma (an independent Story Expert) and Thandeka Zwana (Development Executive at Indigenous Film Distribution. Twelve international guest speakers will present to the participants including Anna Winger, Showrunner of Unorthodox and Creator of Transatlantic, and Christopher Mack, Director, Grow Creative at Netflix. Content executives from Netflix will also engage with the participants in the 12-week programme,” reads a DET statemenT.

“Now in its third edition the Episodic Lab and DET Traineeship has not only empowered screenwriters and creative producers by gaining profound experience in the creative process but has also produced some exciting outcomes,” says Elias Ribeiro. “It is very rewarding to see that each year of the incubator has led to a green light for alumni Kudi Maradzika (South Africa) and Voline Ogutu (Kenya) whose projects are currently in different stages of development following their pitches.

“This year’s selection of writers and development trainees once again shows the caliber of talent we have in our African creatives,” says Thandeka Zwana. “We are thrilled to welcome them to the third iteration of the Episodic Lab and DET.”

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