Showmax to fund new filmmakers in Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa


A sceen grab of the Showmax website. The streaming service plans to fund 10 live action film pitches from first -time African filmmakers in Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa.

Photo credit: Showmax

With the rising demand of local African film and TV shows, streaming service Showmax has set out a budget to fund 10 live action film pitches from first-time African filmmakers in Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa.

Partnering with the Joburg Film Festival, Showmax says this latest development aims at finding new talent and unlocking the African film industry.

For those interested, the proposals must have a first draft screenplay and be set in contemporary Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria or South Africa, and will have a first-time director for the film. The director should be a resident or citizen in the respective countries.

All official languages in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa are allowed and the final films should be more than 40 minutes long.

“Showmax’s audience prefers local content, with seven of the ten most streamed titles in South Africa, eight of the top 10 titles in Kenya and Nigeria, and nine of the top 10 in Ghana last year being African,” Yolisa Phahle, CEO of Showmax, said in a statement.

“Making your first film is a key turning point in any director’s career. So this brief is another way we are trying to empower local filmmakers to tell their own stories for their own communities in their own languages. We’re looking for authentic stories that will resonate with our local audiences. Popular genres like romcoms, family dramas and thrillers are always welcome.”

Submissions are currently open on the Showmax website with entries closing on April 1, 2023.
The selected projects will be announced in the second half of 2023 and screened on Showmax in 50 countries across sub-Saharan Africa in 2024. 

Pitches should take the form of a video pitch in English, with the video being no more than five minutes long. This video pitch should include short bios of the writer, director and producer; a concise summary of the story, including the ending; an introduction to your lead characters; and a discussion of your chosen genre and stylistic approach, with visual references.

Budgets available per film will be decided on a case-by-case basis.

“Period films that require set construction; fantasy or sci-fi films that require extensive VFX; and action films that require mass destruction of expensive property are discouraged. Applicants are encouraged to limit the number of characters and sets as much as possible, while staying true to the vision of their films,” Ms Phahle adds.

If the proposal is successful, the applicant will be contacted for a pitch session. If this session is successful, the participants will proceed to a head of department pitch session. Successful pitches will then proceed to a development agreement.