Showmax in search of Kenyan original telenovela

Yasmeen Saiedi

Actress Yasmeen Saiedi has starred in a number of local productions, famous of them being the telenovela 'Maria'.

Photo credit: Pool | Nation Media Group

Are you a Kenyan, filmmaker with an original production?

Just a month after announcing a slate of four new Originals in Kenya in 2022, Showmax is now seeking concepts for two new original titles.

The first project being commissioned is Showmax’s first-ever original telenovela in Kenya, an exciting, timely and unique romantic telenovela targeting middle-income families.

In only a few years, telenovelas have become one of the most popular genres among viewers in Kenya with productions like Selina, Maria, Zora, Pete, Kina, and, most recently, Salem.

According to Denise Mwende, Showmax Content Specialist in East Africa, people need something to look forward to that will give them a brief break from their daily routine but also something current that they can chat to other people about. In her view, Telenovelas offer a sustained way of doing this.

“And if the success of the local MultiChoice telenovelas is anything to go by, then this is a tested and proven model,” Mwende notes.

Showmax is also seeking exciting movie proposals with a refreshing, creative take on the genres of mystery, thriller or crime. The English and Swahili feature film should be 90 minutes in duration and have a strong commercial edge.

With these two proposals, Showmax is looking for creativity, top-notch shooting and post-production quality and edginess.

“We're looking for people who are critical thinkers and able to evaluate their own work and structures,” she says. “We also want a team that is keen on collaboration, even if it means looking for talent beyond their own pool to create a master-piece.” She adds.

This comes as Showmax continues to grow its ties with Kenyan creatives and filmmakers, working with different production companies, a decision that Denise says opens up the industry to more players.

“Showmax is dedicated to providing more opportunities for new and existing creatives to prove themselves, to create a diverse and rich local content slate, and to also increase our contribution in the creative economy in Kenya.

“In return, we hope that Kenyan audiences will appreciate the time and investment put into these productions.”

This year, Showmax has been is working with production companies like Insignia Productions which produced the Single Kiasi mini-series, Yare Productions responsible for Igiza which will launch Monday next week, Kibanda Pictures for County 49 which is to come in the second half of the year and CJ3 Entertainment for Pepeta, the football centered crime drama that will launch later in the year.

The film streaming platform says the commissioning of these originals is part of its continuous initiative to grow the film and TV industry by developing talent in front of, and behind the camera, and propel the launch of local and international careers.

“All these production companies are new vendors to the company but we've been able to create successful working relationships through hard work and constant analysis,”

“Additionally, the commonality across these vendors is their spirit for collaboration and understanding that, beyond creating a great show, subscriber acquisition and retention is crucial. They all have phenomenal ideas about marketing and sustained audience engagement.” Mwende went on.

Any complete scripts will only be requested from shortlisted filmmakers. Showmax will have the final editorial and creative control over all aspects of the commissioned movie. Receipt of proposals will be acknowledged by email notification. Only shortlisted applications will be invited for pitches. Showmax selection process will take roughly 12 weeks.

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