Netflix has selected 12 participants for the Episodic Lab & Development Executive Traineeship in 2022.


Netflix – the world’s largest streaming entertainment – in collaboration with The Realness Institute is proud to announce the twelve candidates selected for the 2022 Episodic Lab (EPL) and Development Executive Traineeship after a rigorous selection process (DET).

During the incubation period, each of the twelve participants (six per program) will receive a monthly stipend of USD 2 000. This will help them pay their bills as they work on their concept and professional development. Hussein Kurji with Bushcamp (Kenya), Khanyo Mjamba with Byline (South Africa), Mlilo Mpondo with Bayeti-Visitors (South Africa), Neo Sibiya with Ukushona Kwelanga (The Setting of The Sun) (South Africa), Sandra Madu with From Lagos with Love (Nigeria), and Voline Ogutu with Dilemma (Nigeria) were among the selected applicants for the (Kenya).

“Anxious and excited. It’s not every day an opportunity, specifically to showcase African talent, comes around. The Lab will strip our writing bare, and we’ll all be better for it. Bring it!” said Hussein Kurji.

The selected applicants were chosen from a pool of 200 submissions received during an open call that ended on January 21, 2022. EPL and DET began on May 1 and will end on July 31, 2022, with in-person sessions in Gauteng, South Africa, during the final week of the program.

The selected screenwriters will spend three months in a virtual lab with Realness Institute Creative Producers, where they will work on creating their original story ideas in any genre. Story Consultants Selina Ukwuoma and Thandeka Zwana, as well as Elias Ribeiro and Mehret Mandefro. The lab members will have the opportunity to present their incubated stories to Netflix executives after this level of mentorship.

“The Realness/Netflix Episodic Lab selection is a huge step forward in my screenwriting career. I’m absolutely ecstatic to be a part of this gifted group of African professionals and see this program as an accelerator for us towards the pinnacle of the authentic, fearless show running. I’m so chuffed!” remarked Khanyo Mjamba.

Babalwa Baartman (South Africa), Khosie Dali (South Africa), Mona Ombogo (Kenya), Neiloe Whitehead (South Africa), Omotunde Akiode (Nigeria), Pedro Duarte Soulé are among the selected participants for the Development Executive Traineeship (DET) (Cabo Verde).

Working with creative producers and story experts, these selected individuals will obtain a better grasp of the story development process. DET participants will work in groups to help the Episodic Lab participants create and craft their projects, as well as put their ideas into pitch decks. The Episodic Lab and DET programs take a vertical and horizontal learning approach, with writing rooms serving as a co-creating collaborative space.

While there is no assurance that any project will be pursued by Netflix, it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for participants to develop their stories and abilities with the help of worldwide professionals, including Netflix executives.

The Realness Institute is a non-profit organization whose mission is to encourage Africans to communicate their stories in a way that is unapologetically African.

“So wow! Realness Institute and Netflix! There are those moments when you know your life is about to change exponentially. This is one of them. I’m ecstatic to take this journey with fellow writers and become more… More stories, more truth, more boundaries. Just more!” said Mona Ombogo.