EbonyLife, SPT name ÀLÓ initiative winner

By Content Nigeria reporter
January 27, 2023


Sony Pictures Television and Nigerian content company EbonyLife have announced drama Exiles as the winner of their joint writers’ initiative ÀLÓ, which they will develop into a series.

Mary Waireri

Exiles comes from Nairobi-born, London-bred screenwriter Mary Waireri and follows a Kenyan-born British doctor who returns to the country she fled as a young girl to find her twin brother has gone missing while investigating a government cover-up.

Waireri originally wrote Exiles as a feature-length project while completing the screenwriting certificate at the UK’s National Film & Television School. The screenplay went on to win the FilmarketHub 2020 Screenwriting competition and was shortlisted for the 2020 BBC Scriptworks & Thousand Films Screenwriting competition.

Waireri is an alum of the inaugural Realness Institute and Netflix Africa Episodic Lab, where she developed a Swahili folk horror concept and has also worked on treatment commissions for StudioCanal UK, bringing to life secret untold histories and extraordinary true stories.

She was recently selected for the Royal Court Theatre playwriting workshop for early-career playwrights.

Waireri will now work with Sony Pictures Television’s global scripted development team and EbonyLife to develop Exiles and take the series to market.

She said: “As a lover of thriller, horror and sci-fi, I’m interested in exploring the many dimensions of the African diaspora and diaspora experiences through a grounded genre lens. I’m excited to work with the teams at Sony Pictures Television and EbonyLife to bring Exiles to life.”

EbonyLife and Sony Pictures Television launched the ÀLÓ writers’ initiative in 2021 to provide a platform for writers of African heritage and discover authentic African story ideas for viewers across the globe.

Entrants could 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 word ÀLÓ is from the Yoruba language and translates as ‘once upon a time.’