EbonyLife and Sony Pictures Television (SPT) have announced ÀLÓ, a brand-new writers initiative offering a unique platform for writers of African heritage.
The word “ÀLÓ” is from the Yoruba language and translates as ‘once upon a time’. Just like with those words which have opened countless stories for hundreds of years, the initiative aims to discover the best authentic African story ideas which will inspire and resonate with viewers across the globe.
The ÀLÓ Initiative website will open for fixed periods beginning this Friday (September 24, 2021) when writers can submit their television scripts and story documents, which will then be reviewed and shortlisted by the ÀLÓ team which is comprised of creative executives from both EbonyLife and SPT.
Entrants can reside outside Africa but must be of African heritage, born in any of the continent’s 54 countries or have proven citizenship as a native of the country, or be first generation children. The initiative is open to professionals, freelancers as well as up-and-coming writers, and there are no limitations to the story ideas or scripts. Any theme or story is welcome, but submissions must pay homage to Africa’s unique cultures, diversity, heritage and people.
Successful candidates will have the opportunity to enter into a series pilot development agreement with SPT and EbonyLife under the ÀLÓ Initiative to create and write a pilot script. Once completed, the projects will be pitched to major international broadcasters for their consideration.
Mo Abudu, the CEO, EbonyLife Media, says: “I am really excited about our growing partnership with Sony Pictures Television; from our deal for three scripted series, to our first-look agreement, and now the ÀLÓ Writers’ Initiative. 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.”
Nina Lederman, the Executive VP, Global Scripted Development for Sony Pictures Television, says: “The ÀLÓ initiative is born out of SPT and EbonyLife’s shared passion for great storytelling. 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.”
The ÀLÓ Initiative will first open for submissions between September 24 and November 5, 2021, with a further six-week period to be confirmed at a later date. Internationally, the initiative it is open to submissions from the US, Canada, the UK and EU, Australia and New Zealand, and Africa. It hopes to expand to include further regions for future submission periods.
Full terms and conditions and eligibility criteria can be found on the ÀLÓ Initiative website.
EbonyLife Media, headed by CEO Mo Abudu, is Nigeria’s premium media conglomerate comprising EbonyLife TV, EbonyLife Films, EbonyLife Studios, EbonyLife Creative Academy and EbonyLife Place (a luxury entertainment resort). EbonyLife Media believes in creating original and inspiring content that showcases a pioneering and progressive Africa. The content is strongly rooted in Africa and connected to a global audience, through a shared identity and common values. EbonyLife Media’s vision is to be the most influential storyteller of a new Africa.
Sony Pictures Television (SPT) is one of the television industry’s leading content providers, producing, distributing and carrying programming worldwide in every genre and for every platform. In addition to managing one of the industry’s largest libraries of award-winning feature films, TV shows and formats, SPT operates a portfolio of wholly-owned and joint-venture production companies across the US, Europe, Latin America, and Asia Pacific, as well as linear and digital channels globally. SPT is a Sony Pictures Entertainment Company, a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Sony Group.