The Sediba Programme was devised in 2005 as a direct result of the NFVF being inundated with script proposals in which the writers were able to articulate interesting ideas, but were insufficiently equipped to realize as scripts. Instead of simply rejecting these ideas, the NFVF carefully evaluated the potential of the writers to succeed if provided with training in the fundamental principles of story. When writers are selected for this training, a number of other additional factors were taken into account, e.g. they would have had to be engaged in the industry for some time in some capacity, should have had some training, preferably tertiary training at a film institution, and/or a very good idea for a story. In rare cases, newcomers with passion, commitment and a great idea may also be eligible. This programme is divided into:
1. Sediba Spark Narrative Fiction Scriptwriting Programme
This programme began in 2007 and is conducted one weekend a month over five months, devoted specifically to the development of feature film writing & script editing talent. The course involves teaching and student led seminars which deal with the foundational principles of story telling for the big screen including premise, logline, character arcs, mythic structure- main plot and sub-plots, stakes, dialogue, subtext, world of story and genre. Teaching combines published texts as well as audio-visual material. The aim is that at the end of the training candidates would have understood the above concepts and be able to apply these to the first act of their screenplay which is the final submission for the programme from the writers. The academic level is pitched at university honours level, year 4.
The highest achievers in each cycle are then selected for the Masters Programme.
2. Sediba Spark for Documentaries Programme
As a direct result of the positive feedback about Spark for Narrative Fiction and being inundated with great ideas for documentaries, the NFVF launched Spark for Documentaries in April 2008. The programme is designed to enable candidates to understand how to conceptualise a story with a clear premise and logline, how to research their story and identify principal characters and then to write a proposal that would interest a funder or broadcaster. In addition, the candidates are expected to develop their scripts from this thoroughly worked out proposal to a standard that would attract development and production financing.
3. The Sediba Masters Programme
This program was devised in tandem with the Spark programme as the next stage in the development of the candidates who achieved the highest standards in the Spark Narrative Fiction Programme. This programme is pitched between 4th year university honours and masters level. Learning and development takes place one weekend per month over eight months combining a much wider reading and viewing list, student led seminars, tutorials and one on one script development sessions. The aim is for the candidates to deepen their knowledge beyond the foundational principles acquired in Spark and to develop their individual concepts to 2nd draft script stage.
Candidates have to be preferably indigenous language speakers, have a tertiary education in literature, journalism, publishing, advertising or film and demonstrate a passionate interest in literature, theatre and stories for the big and small screen.
4. Sediba Advanced International Financing Programme for Producers
Over the past nine years the Foundation has provided Production Funding to local Producers for the financing of feature films, shorts and documentaries. One of the gaps we discovered during this time is that many of the producers lack adequate experience and knowledge to source international financing through co-production partnerships or other permutations. This has resulted in many projects failing to raise sufficient funds to go into production and eventually collapsing or going into production with insufficient funds to make films of the highest quality.
Drawing on the success of the NFVF Sediba Training and Development Programme, aimed at writers and script editors, the Foundation developed the Sediba Advanced International Financing Programme, aimed at providing focused training to experienced Producers in international financing, packaging and distribution.
This annual programme runs over an eight-month period and is comprised of project-based workshops with specific deliverables to be worked on between each session. The course will be run by practitioners in international film finance from the UK and will include specialist guests at each workshop who are highly respected professionals in their respective expertise.
Producers will be required to have a completed script around which to build a financing model, which will be packaged with and tested in the international marketplace. Participants will also be required to work on a timeline to advance their projects. The final deliverables for each Producer will be a detailed business plan outlining their objectives and how they intend achieving them.
On the basis of their respective development, the two top achievers on the programme are selected to attend the Film London Production Finance Market in October where they have an opportunity to pitch their projects to potential international financiers, sales agents, and distributors.
In addition to this exciting new initiative by the NFVF the Course Leaders have agreed to structure a mentorship programme to mentor two South African producers to ensure that the requisite training skills transfer occurs. It is intended that upon successful completion of this mentorship programme, these producers will be equipped to deliver the programme in the country, thus making this kind of training more accessible & cost effective for the industry.