Showmax has announced its intention to invest in 10 films from first time African filmmakers from Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa.

This new development was announced on the opening day of the Joburg Film Festival. The streaming service also released an open commissioning brief to the African film industry calling for pitches for a slate of 10 live action films.

The new initiative, in partnership with the Joburg Film Festival, is aimed at finding new talent and opening up the industry. The proposals must have a first draft screenplay and be set in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria or South Africa. A first-time director must be attached to the project and must be a  resident or citizen of those countries. All official Ghanaian, Kenyan, Nigerian and South African languages are welcome and the final films should be more than 40 minutes, in line with the SAFTAs Best Made-for-TV Movie Award category.

“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,” says Yolisa Phahle, CEO of Showmax and Connected Video at MultiChoice. “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.”

How to apply

1. Submissions are now open at

2. Entries close on April 1, 2023. The selected projects will be announced in the second half of 2023 and screened on Showmax in 50 countries in Africa in 2024.

3. Pitches should take the form of a video pitch in English of no more than five minutes. The 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
  • A discussion of the chosen genre and stylistic approach, with visual references.