Screenwriter and indie storyteller, Tumelo Tladi advanced to the finals to be among those considered for the upcoming 2021 Film Independent Episodic Lab for her historical fiction television script, Exile. The lab, which will run virtually this year, is set to take place at the end of August 2021, with the reveal of the chosen six 2021 fellows expected in the coming weeks.
Having been awarded a scholarship by the National Film and Video Foundation to study abroad, Tumelo was able to obtain a masters degree in Television Writing and Producing. The South African-born storyteller has since been immersed in the independent filmmaking space and found purpose in constantly seeking new and challenging ways to bring to light those stories she's felt oftentimes fade into the background. Exile, one such story, is set in 1970s South Africa and follows a young woman's journey as she fights for the liberation of her people.
Film Independent is well-known for advocating creative independence in storytelling and the community of artists they support embody diversity, innovation and uniqueness of vision. “As someone who’s been trying to get a firm footing in the indie film space, Film Independent’s reach as an organization that supports independent creatives is immeasurable, so it really is an incredible achievement just to make it as a finalist for one of their artist development initiatives. It's good to know that stories from outside the United States are being seen and heard,” says the writer.
While Tumelo’s work as screenwriter is garnering attention abroad, she also earns credits behind the scenes in unscripted storytelling. Recently, the 35-year-old was welcomed into the fold at Bunim/Murray Productions, which is based in Los Angeles, as an associate story producer on the world-renowned MTV competition series, The Challenge. Bunim/Murray Productions are recognized for being pioneers in the reality television space with their groundbreaking The Real World franchise.
Now in its 37th season, filming of The Challenge takes place on location in often remote parts of the world. In a move to appeal to a global audience, The Real World/Road Rules spin-off series has in recent years made a move to include an international reality cast from other reality television shows, and not just the Real World/Road Rules franchise alums.
Coming from South Africa, Tumelo’s role on the series brought a unique point of view to the storytelling process within the show’s story team, which also landed her the associate story producer role on The Challenge: All Stars, a spin-off of the show which has recently been renewed for a second season.
Reality series fans in the United States can catch the new season premiere of The Challenge: Spies, Lies and Allies on MTV on 11 August 2021, while The Challenge: All Stars is also available for streaming in the United States on Paramount Plus.