Sony Pictures Television, EbonyLife Set African Writers Initiative Alo

Nigerian media conglomerate EbonyLife Media and Sony Pictures Television (SPT) have set Alo, an initiative offering a platform for writers of African heritage.

The word Alo is from the Yoruba language and translates as “once upon a time.”

The initiative will open Sept. 24 through Nov. 5, when writers can submit their television scripts and story documents, which will then be reviewed and shortlisted by a team consisting of executives from both EbonyLife and SPT.

Entrants can reside outside Africa but must be of African heritage, born in any of the continent’s fifty-four countries or have proven citizenship as a native of the country, or be first generation children. Submissions must pay homage to Africa’s cultures, diversity, heritage and people. Successful candidates will have the opportunity to enter into a series pilot development agreement with SPT and EbonyLife to create and write a pilot script. Once completed, the projects will be pitched to major international broadcasters.

For this round, the initiative is open to submissions from the U.S., Canada, the U.K. the European Union, Australia and New Zealand, besides Africa. Future submission periods could expand to further regions.

EbonyLife CEO Mo Abudu said: “The name of this initiative inspires me, as we chose a word which holds so much personal meaning for me. I am particularly thrilled about the writers’ initiative because it is in line with our continent-wide vision to harness and grow our creative economy. It is focused on global storytelling that is authentically African and that gives African writers access to the biggest international broadcasters in the world. It is a dream come true for me.”

EbonyLife has an existing first look deal with SPT for scripted TV projects.

Nina Lederman, EVP global scripted development for SPT, said: “We know from our many, many conversations developing this initiative with Mo and her team at EbonyLife that there are countless stories from across the African continent yet to be told. We hope that this provides a unique platform to writers of African heritage with a story they want to bring to the world.”

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