* ‘Time to make screenwriters stars in Nollywood’
By Ozoro Opute
CREATIVE writers in the art of screenwriting and prose fiction are in for a good time, as Nollywood Screenwriting Contest 2022, organised by Aforevo, and Quramo Writers’ Prize 2022 are set to engage the scribling community in two contests. They both have N1,000,000 each for their respective star prize winners.
The Lawrence Onuzulike-led Nollywood Screenwriting Contest 2022, in partnership with Aforevo, is calling for submission of ”the first 20 scenes from your (screen) script” as part of the criteria for the contest. Submission ends on February 23, 2022 while winners will be announced on March 4, 2022. Screenwriters are advised to visit www.nollywoodscreenwritingcontest.com or submit scripts to firstname.lastname@example.org which must include the names, telephone, and email addresses. Participation is free and open to all Nigerians.
Prize jury for Nollywood Screenwriting Contest 2022 includes Clarion Chukwura, Segun Arinze, Victor Ohai and Yinka Ogun. While the best screen writer will walk away with N1,000,000, two runners-up will receive N500,000 and N300,000 respectively, plus over 100 consolation prizes of Aforevo t-shirts and face caps. Beyond the N1,000,000 prize money for the star prize winner, the winning script ”will be made into a blockbuster Nollywood movie (and the writer) will be given a one-year scriptwriting contract with Aforevo”.
The organiser, Onuzulike, in a telephone chat said he has been in Nollywood for some 25 years, and felt challenged to hold the contest, so as to raise the profile of screen writers and to place them where they truly belong, as important components of the film industry deserving of stardom like their counterparts.
”This is something I’ve been wanting to do since,” Onuzulike, who said he just returned after taking a break from the industry, told our reporter, ”I’ve been in Nollywood 25 years. Most of the attention goes to actors, producers and directors and not much for writers. So, I want to shed light on the important roles writers play in Nollywood. So many of them are so talented but they end up wasting away, because there is no encouragement for them. There’s desperation among many of them. Sometimes, they call to tell me, ‘just produce my script, don’t even pay me’; they can carry about a script about for months or even years with no one noticing. It shouldn’t be so. We need to encourage writers without whom there is no film or Nollywood.”
Onuzulike said the total package for the project is a tidy N10m that includes production of the winning script, adding, ”the winning script will be shot into a blockbuster movie. When we see good scripts, even if they don’t win, we will buy and produce them. So, this is a good time for screen writers to pitch in and have their voices heard. We want to make screen writers stars that they truly are!”
Nollywood Screenwriting Contest 2022 is endorsed by the major bodies in Nollywood that include Directors Guild of Nigeria (DGN), Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN), Association of Movie Producers (AMP) and Screen Writers Guild of Nigeria (SWGN).
Also, Quramo Writers’ Prize 2022 has called for entries for its 2022 edition of the prose fiction prize based on finished manuscript. Entry invitation started on February 1 and runs till April 30, 2022 . The prize jury is yet to be decided, according to the organisers, Quramo Writers’ Festival. The winning prize money is ₦1Million plus a publishing deal for the winning manuscript. For the shortlist prize (number not indicated), there will be ‘Manuscript Feedback, Publishing Deal Consideration, and Creative Writing Workshop’. The longlist prize (number not indicated), a Creative Writing Masterclass awaits those in this category.
Completed manuscript with a minimum of 30,000 words plus one-page synopsis of full-length novels for adults or young adults are required criteria. Quramo Writers’ Prize is open to all unpublished African writers. However, self-published or independently published are also not eligible.
According to organisers of the prize and executive director, Mrs. Gbemi Shasore, the prize was ”Created in 2017 as an avenue for fresh writers to showcase their manuscripts to the global literary community, and contribute their works to the canonization of Africa literature, the Quramo Writers’ Prize celebrates unpublished writers who are working every day to hone their craft and record our continent’s original stories.
”The prize aims to encourage and stimulate a new community of talented writers, providing an opportunity for otherwise unexposed talent to achieve publishing recognition and encouragement.
”In its sixth year, the prize, which was first won by Samuel Monye (‘Give Us Each Day’), has gone on to produce amazing writers with equally brilliant debut novels across the continent. Monye’s ‘Give Us Each Day’ was longlisted for the NLNG-sponsored The Nigeria Prize for Literature 2021. Last year, Akintomiwa Akinnimi Oluwaseun won the winner, with his manuscript ‘Looking Glass Bullet’, which is currently under development to be published and released in early fall 2022.
”We are inviting unpublished African writers to submit a proze fiction manuscript, with a minimum word count of 30,000. An ‘African writer’ is taken to mean someone who is a national of an African country, with a parent who is African by birth or nationality. The Prize is awarded to a prose fiction manuscript by an African writer published in English, whether they reside in Africa or elsewhere. Each entry must be an original, unpublished work.”
Proze fiction writers are advised to make submissions through the official Quramo website, and must follow all the submission guidelines. The winner of the Quramo Writers’ Prize will receive a cash remuneration of one million naira (N1,000,000) and a development publishing deal.