Showmax Launches Open Commissioning Brief for 10 Live Action Films in Partnership with Joburg Film Festival

On the opening day of the Joburg Film Festival, Showmax, the African streaming service, released an open commissioning brief aimed at discovering new talent and fostering growth in the African film industry. In partnership with the Joburg Film Festival, Showmax is calling for pitches for a slate of ten live-action films set in contemporary Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria or South Africa.

Boxing Day

The African streamer has won the South African Film and Television Awards’ (SAFTAs) Made-for-TV Movie Award for two years in a row, first with Loving Thokoza and then with Boxing Day, the first two feature films from Mandla N. In addition, another Showmax film, Kelsey Egan’s debut feature, Glasshouse, was the most awarded feature film overall at the SAFTAs last year, with five Golden Horns.

The brief requires that each proposal must have a first draft screenplay and be directed by a first-time filmmaker who is a resident or citizen in one of the four countries. All official languages from Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa are welcome and the final films should be at least 40 minutes in length, in line with the South African Film and Television Awards’ (SAFTAs) Best Made-for-TV Movie Award category.

According to Yolisa Phahle, CEO of Showmax and Connected Video at MultiChoice, “Showmax’s audience prefers local content,” with the majority of the top streamed titles in the countries being African. “This brief is another way we are trying to empower local filmmakers to tell their own stories for their own communities in their own language,” she says. The company is searching for “authentic stories that will resonate with local audiences,” and popular genres such as romantic comedies, family dramas, and thrillers are welcomed.


To participate, filmmakers should submit a video pitch of no more than five minutes in English, which should include short bios of the writer, director and producer, a summary of the story, an introduction to the lead characters, and a discussion of the chosen genre and stylistic approach, accompanied by visual references. Submissions are open now on and close on April 1, 2023. The selected projects will be announced later in the year and will be screened on Showmax in 50 sub-Saharan African countries in 2024.

For those who are interested in pitching a Showmax Original series or documentary, Showmax follows a stringent workflow process and further information is available on the company’s website or take a look below:

What should my video pitch cover? 

• Short bios of your writer, director and producer

• Who are you?

• Where are you from?

• What projects have you done?

• Why are you passionate about this project and uniquely qualified to make it? 

This is a mini-CV and this is your time to humbly brag about yourself, so don’t hold back. Kindly refrain from attaching key crew and cast if they’re not legally committed to the project, but please do let us know what other confirmed new talent you are opening doors for on your film. 

• Strong logline & premise  

• Record yourself and give a short but concise summary of your story, including the ending, in no more than 3m. 

• Make this as intriguing and entertaining as possible. Think about every single word you use. 

• What does your character want? What are they struggling with and how do they overcome it? Include the binaries and contradicting themes and resolutions.

• Where is this set and how does the setting shape the story? 

• Genre 

• What is the genre of your film and how will you address the unique requirements of this specific genre?

• Characters 

• Introduce the characters and why they are relatable.

• Explain the overall beats to give an understanding of where the story and characters start, their emotional journeys, and where they end up.

• Include relevant plot points.

• Look & feel 

• Talk about how you are going to make this production.

• What tone and texture are you going for? 

• What are your visual and stylistic goals?

• Use visual references to help your proposal.

Rather than a film, I’d like to pitch a Showmax Original series or documentary. What do I do next? 

Showmax follows a stringent workflow process when it comes to both solicited and unsolicited pitches, which must be adhered to. MultiChoice has centralised its content creation across the business so creatives and producers must:

Submit a proposal via the submissions portal. Here is the link –

If the proposal is successful, you will be contacted for a pitch session.

If the pitch session is successful, we proceed to a head of department pitch session.

If the head of department pitch session is successful, we proceed to a development agreement.

Showmax’s open commissioning brief in partnership with the Joburg Film Festival offers a unique opportunity for African filmmakers to showcase their talents and tell their own stories on a global platform. The brief is a step towards empowering local filmmakers and promoting diversity and inclusivity in the film industry.

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