The DFA was established in 2007 to promote and protect the interests of doc filmmakers in South Africa. To contact the DFA, please use the contact form: here . The DFA website is at: Membership applications can be made through the website here.

24 October 2008




This weekend, a new documentary from PLEXUS FILMS premieres on SABC2. Once On A River is a 48 minute film that tells the story of the rural village of Hamburg in the Eastern Cape through the eyes of writer Zukiswa Pakama and filmmaker, Miki Redelinghuys, as they reflect on the inspirational people of this community on the banks of the Keiskamma River.

In July 2005, 140 women from Hamburg presented South Africa with the most complex altar piece ever produced on the continent. The 3 meter high multi-media artwork pays homage to their fight against Aids and celebrates the human capacity to overcome hardships:

The film opens with the unveiling of this massive altar piece in the Grahamstown Cathedral. If stone walls could vibrate, the church would quiver as the women raise their voices in exaltation. Eunice Mangwane leads them in traditional Xhosa church songs as she pounds her hymn book. Eunice is a big woman with a heart that can hold the world. Her voice thunders conviction as she sings: “You must never, never …give up!”

Once On A River tells the story of the people who made this altar piece as Eunice leads us from the public unveiling of this exceptional work back to her village where we meet the inspiring, often ecentric, people of Hamburg, who have taken it apon themeselves to fight HIV/Aids, poverty and unemployemnt in a creative and positive way.

Eunice works hand in hand with Dr Carol Baker-Hofmeyer, an enigmatic doctor and artist, who runs between the hospice, clinic and arts project, juggling cellphone calls, never completing a thought as she heads off to the next location.

Writer and story-teller Zukiswa Pakama was born and raised in Hamburg. Through her eyes we experience the very intimate story of a small town: “My name “Pakama” means "to stand up”, and that’s exactly what the people of my village have taught me to do.” By taking a positive stand against the challenge of HIV/AIDS, the people of Hamburg are invited to exhibit the altar piece at the World Aids Conference in Toronto in December 2005 where Eunice presents the work to an international audience including, among others, Richard Gere. After Toronto, the altar piece continues to travel the world, thereby spreading the story of these inspiring individuals and a determined village.

films to watch


This landmark concert film, currently premiering theatrically in the USA, follows three acclaimed comedians on stage and off as they lift the veil to reveal the humorous truth of what it's really like to be Muslim in America. Mo Amer, Azhar Usman, and Preacher Moss poke fun at themselves, their communities, government, human nature and the tricky predicament of living in post-9/11 America. Featuring music of rising indie scene artists, Allah Made Me Funny: Live in Concert is rollicking good fun and gives people of all cultural backgrounds an opportunity to laugh hard, drop their guard and open their minds.

Watch an 8 minute clip of the guys in action, below:

22 October 2008



On 9 October 2008 the DFA launched a regular documentary screening slot at the Labia Cinema in Orange Street, Cape Town. This has been due to a request from the DFA membership and is an initiative that we hope can be made sustainable by building a dedicated, enthusiastic doc audience.

We hope to bring you a great selection of local and international films on a daily basis. Films will screen in a variety of time slots for two weeks. We will also run special one-week programmes with debate and forums that respond to topical issues.

The DocLOVE initiative began with a screening of work by the FILMMAKERS’ AGAINST RACISM collective.

Regular screenings are R25, and R20 if you’re a DFA member (Membership cards to follow)

We’d like this initiative to grow … So tell your 10 best friends, your extended family and your 5000 virtual friends too!

Yours truly
(* Don Edkins, Theresa Meyer, Dylan Valley & Miki Redelinghuys – more volunteers welcome)



NomadakTX (NOMAD)
now screening at The Labia Cinema
17-30 October
14h45 & 20h30 daily

NOMADAK TX tells the story of two musicians moving. They travel with the Txalaparta, a unique musical instrument that is played by two people. They arrive in India, Lapland, the Sahara and Mongolia to fuse their music with that of remote nomadic people. They cross frozen wastelands and deserts, on horseback in the mountains of Mongolia, and by train in the west of India…They travel in search of sounds. And they find them in other nations, in other surroundings, in other cultures. In other people that, like them, they use the music to say to the rest of the world:

We are here, we are alive, we are who we are.

Directed By: Raúl de la Fuente
EXEC PRODS: Igor Otxoa, Pablo Iraburu
PROD: Igor Otxoa
SCR: Raúl de la Fuente, Pablo Iraburu, Harkaitz Martinez, Igor
CAM/ED: Raúl de la Fuente
MUS: Oreka Tx, Harkaitz Martinez
[NOMAD] Nonfiction Features of 2007
Basque, 2006, 86 min, 35mm

Awards Include

2nd Place Top 20
of 20 years of IDFA

Best Music Documentary

Winner Audience Award

More about the film
Basque percussionists Igor Otxoa and Harkaitz Martinez de San Vicente are masters of the txalapatra, an ancient percussion instrument they are seen hewing out of wood in the film's opening moments. It's a big, splendid construction, whose resonance and articulation, combined with the percussionist's often dazzling virtuosity, are the reassuringly solid and tactile basis of Raúl de la Fuente’s world-spanning film, which manages to look as good as it sounds. Travelling through India, Lapland, Mongolia, Algeria and the Sahara the musicians and their crew are engaging, respectful and not above letting themselves look out of place or silly—setting up to play for a group of Lapland's Sami people outside of a church they are as amused as we are when the colourfully clad parishioners stroll indifferently past their impromptu concert. In each location the musicians not only interact with the people they meet, but with the landscape itself, building versions of their instruments out of the materials at hand--including ice and rock.

The sequence in which the team construct a txalapatra out of ice is simultaneously funny (the camera and mike keep getting in the way--its a crowded ice cave), suspenseful (it could all shatter at any second), and finally rather moving--when the spectral instrument is finally struck (with another piece of ice) it sounds exactly as it should--cold and clear but mellow, a victory over transience. Already outsiders in contemporary Spain, the players are clearly aware of the fragility of the world's "marginal" cultures, but rather than preach preservation they act it out, with ear and eye-filling results.

Visit the film’s website here


Many holes in the SABC plot
If the SABC were a listed company, its shareholders would have abandoned it long ago. A culture of wasteful expenditure, misappropriation of funds, theft and rocketing costs appears to have become entrenched — and the auditors had to issue a qualified report on the latest financials. In addition, the numbers came out in the annual report three months later than those of most companies with a March year-end.

By Matebello Motloung

Despite a revenue increase for the year to end-March 2008 of 9% to R4,7bn — barely above inflation — total expenses have shot up 14% to R4,6bn.

Most glaring is the 854% (R76,2m) increase in the impairment of rights for programming such as film and sports. This was due to programmes being purchased, but then not broadcast within the period required by contract. Yet SABC chief financial officer Robin Nicholson says no-one has been held directly accountable for this.

It indicates a serious lack of planning at the heart of what the SABC does. Nicholson is frank: “What is required of the SABC is to better manage its inventory.”

Most companies would regard a qualified report as a disgrace. The auditors couldn’t find evidence to substantiate costs of R1,5bn or the accumulated amortisation of R1,2bn relating to freelancers and sports programmes, to name just two areas.

Another worrying trend is the SABC’s high and increasing expenditure on consulting fees. During 2006/2007, these shot up 187% from R47m to R135m. This year, they rose by 68% to R226m.

Corridor talk at Auckland Park is that there are many employees who literally do nothing all day — which would explain the reliance on outside contractors. “Wasteful” expenditure stood at R40,6m, relating to “reckless” spending not accounted for.

Profits for the year to end-March 2008 fell by a huge 83% from R222m to an embarrassing R38,4m.

On the surface, the picture looks impressive — a profit of R314,6m before tax. But this is due to the inclusion of a R421m pension fund surplus, a one-off event. The total is brought down by a cost of R144,5m to fund post retirement medical aid revaluation and a R89,4m contribution to the pension fund.

With the absence of the handsome pension surplus, the picture for next year is set to look even more dire. Operating profit has already fallen 39% to R111,3m from R183m.

Theft and fraud are still a major problem at the SABC. It was swindled out of R2,5m, of which R177 000 has been written off. The good news is that this is substantially lower than the previous year’s R11m.

The corporation is facing litigation from, among others, the Public Investment Corporation, which is claiming R377m regarding a cancelled lease agreement; and a R140m suit from Trustco pertaining to a wireless agreement for a game show.

Suspended CEO Dali Mpofu’s failure last year to secure the cash-spinning Premier Soccer League broadcasting rights has resulted in a 9% drop in sponsorship revenue. That blunder has resulted in a decrease in live broadcast sports events. Last year sponsorship contributed to R568m in the SABC’s commercial income.

Mpofu was first suspended in May for alleged incompetence, mismanagement of funds, and putting the SABC at risk of going into the red.

Among other charges are: making payments of R145m between April 2006 and March 2007 without contracts, and signing an unauthorised R330m contract with Siemens.

Mpofu successfully contested his suspension in June, only to be suspended again the same month. He has yet to appear before a disciplinary hearing.

And because parliament cannot fire a board member, he still attends board meetings.

For the second consecutive year, the SABC’s poor financial performance is not mirrored in Mpofu’s salary, which has increased by 19,7% to R4,5m. He received a bonus of R2,1m during the year, 47,3% higher than last year’s R1,4m - despite his suspension in May.

The SABC’s funding model continues to be a nightmare. The broadcaster is heavily reliant on advertising revenue, a historical reality it would like to change. It believes reducing its dependence on commercial revenue would give it more freedom to attend to its public service mandate.

Whether it is capable of this is another issue. It will need substantial government funding to strike a balance. But the corporation’s pleas for increased government grants have fallen on deaf ears.

Government subsidy accounts for only 2% (R75m) of the SABC’s revenue, a drop in the ocean compared with the R3,6bn income the group receives from commercial streams. State funding for 2007/2008 fell by 10,7% from R84m.

During the year under review, the SABC spent R152m in direct collection activities — including hiring debt collectors — to gather R822m (up 8%) in television licence revenue. TV licences make up 17% of the group’s income.

The SABC’s funding model and the challenges this presents will be discussed at a funding conference scheduled for November 3 and 4.

Attendees will include government, labour and SABC management.

The meeting will also discuss additional funding to enable the SABC to switch to digital broadcasting next year. The broadcaster received R132m from the department of communications to invest in technology assets, down R5m from the previous year.

“The challenges facing the SABC are significant and will place the funding mechanism of the SABC under pressure,” Nicholson warns. “The SABC will not be able to commit further resources to digital terrestrial television until the funding challenges have been addressed.”

Another issue the SABC will have to deal with in the next financial year is the increased human-resource cost to the organisation. This is partly due to attempts to retain skilled staff, especially now with new TV players on the horizon. Nicholson says the level of cost growth “is problematic. Any major cost management strategy will have to address the continued increase in head-count costs.”

It is imperative that the SABC, which has also been plagued by internal politics and low staff morale, gets its house in order if it’s to avoid going into the red. The market in which it operates is changing drastically.

There’s the threat of new pay-TV operators, which will most certainly steal audiences and therefore advertising as well, so the advertising pie which has sustained the SABC so far is set to shrink.

Courtesy of FMTech

Some folks at the SABC are sitting uncomfortably as this interview, broadcast 21.10.08, suggests.


THE FORUM is Europe's largest gathering of filmmakers, television commissioning editors and independent documentary producers. The aim of the FORUM is to stimulate co-financing and co-production of new documentaries by enabling producers to pitch their project concepts to the assembled commissioning editors and other professionals, and to follow up through individual meetings.


DON EDKINS of Day Zero (pictured above) has had his documentary project Sunrise, Sunset selected for The Forum. This is the only South African project at this particular event.



The European Film Academy annually honours an outstanding achievement in European documentary filmmaking with the Prix ARTE. The Academy has announced that the 2008 Prix ARTE award goes to the film René by Helena Trestikova from Czech Republic.



This raw authentic documentary film tells the story of René whose life was being captured on camera since he was seventeen. The camera followed his hopeless journey between prison and brief periods outside the prison walls. In 2008 the film comes to an end, leaving the now 37-year-old René as a sick man who still gets in trouble with the law and who is also the author of two published books. Director Helena Třeštíková records René's personal developments against the backdrop of significant political transformations taking place in Central Europe.

René's story begins in prison under socialist posters, continues through the so-called Velvet Revolution of 1989 and gets a seemingly happy conclusion with the amnesty decree issued by President Václav Havel. Yet René soon heads back to prison and also celebrated our EU accession from behind the bars. During the years spent in prison - sentenced mainly for theft - René had his whole body covered in tattoos, escaped from prison only to be soon recaptured, burgled the director's home, was involved in a couple of romantic relationships, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis as well as a high IQ. René displays his outlook on life by flashing his "Fuck off People" tattoo on his neck.

(Despite the lack of subtitles and graininess, the clip below gives a sense of the film)

Have you supplied, licensed, researched, or used ARCHIVE MATERIAL in any type of production premiered in 2008? Then it is time for you to enter your film for the FOCAL International Awards 2009. To qualify, a work must have been broadcast, screened or published, for the first time, between 1st January 2008 - 31st December 2008.

Deadline is December 1st 2008

To read about the awards and how to go about submitting your work, go here.



The European Documentary Network (EDN) Financing Guide will be an essential tool for documentary professionals working with international co-productions. It provides information needed to navigate the evolving landscape of documentary production. A landscape where new approaches to funding and distribution becomes increasingly important.

Sections in The EDN Financing Guide includes:

Distributors: profiles and contact info on leading international documentary distributors and sales agents
VoD: profiles and contact info on Video on Demand (VoD) platforms selling documentaries
Funds: information on funds and public support aimed at international documentary development, production and distribution
European Broadcasters: detailed profiles of +100 European broadcasters acquiring documentaries; this includes contact details on relevant commissioning editors and buyers
International Broadcasters: information on major non-European broadcasters buying and co-producing documentaries including contact info on relevant commissioning editors and buyers.

The EDN Financing Guide will be available from 15 December 2008.

To order your copy, contact the editor:
Cecilie Bolvinkel
Phone: +45 3313 1122



The Brasscheck TV collective in San Francisco scours the internet for alternative sources of news that offer a challenging perspective on "mainstream reporting". Subscription is free and each day one receives email links to new videos on-line.

Some of Brasscheck's gems have included videos starring Greg Palast, the investigative journalist who has done great work uncovering evidence of voter fraud in the USA (below).

Steal Back Your Vote! from Greg Palast on Vimeo

Brasscheck also unearths entertaining and relevant reports such as these by Al Jazeera English. In 2007 Max Keiser predicted the financial collapse that has rocked the world this September and October. See below:

Money Geyser

Max Keiser travels to Iceland to explore the global asset bubble and examines the carry trade, a financial instrument that central bankers and politicians around the world are increasingly blaming for global asset bubbles.

Asset bubbles, they say, are more likely to burst the bigger they get. Keiser travels to Iceland to demonstrate how this remarkable trade can enable a nation of less than 300,000 to buy up tens of billions of dollars in British assets.


Al Jazeera English has proven to be a satellite channel and web content provider with an editorial stance that counters the Occidental perspectives of BBC, CNN, SKY, Fox and the like. As reported in Bloomberg: "Everybody loves Al Jazeera. Even though we’ve bombed them (in Baghdad and before that in Kabul), we love them."

Watch AlJazeera English documentary content on YouTube here.
Or access the channel's site directly here

This week, Al Jazeera's reportage strand WE THE PEOPLE takes a look at poverty in the USA.



In this hotly contested US presidential campaign one issue has been largely overlooked: poverty.

One in eight Americans - that is 37 million people - live below the official poverty line. That means these families are often homeless, hungry and have no health insurance.

Over the last three decades the rich have gotten richer and the distance between the 'haves and have nots' has widened.

In many Western countries up to 10 per cent of children live in poverty. That percentage is double in the US and the numbers are growing.

What is worse, American children born into poverty have little chance of moving up and out.
We the People travels to Oakland, California, where a lack of opportunities, little investment in education and the legacy of the drug epidemic of the 1980s have created a cycle of poverty.



The Filmmakers Guide to South Africa, in collaboration with the National Film and Video Foundation, has launched , an online visual directory of South Africa’s finest animators, directors, DOPs, food stylists, photographers, scenic artists, storyboard artists and visual effects artists. Creatives are invited to register with the site, where they will be able to upload a visual portfolio of their work.

Taryn Fowler, head of sales for The Filmmakers Guide to South Af rica, says, “We expect the website to grow into a definite creative resource for broadcasters, agen cies and production com panies looking for creative talent. We also suspect that creatives will use it as a source of inspiration and as a way of benchmarking their work against the best in their categories.”

For more info, visit the site here.


Beyond 2010

This year's Film Indaba, hosted by the Gauteng Film Commission, brings together key role-players to explore and discuss a vibrant and sustainable local film industry.
Date: Wednesday, 12 November 2008
Time: 08:30 for 09:00 Registration
09:00 - 17:00 Indaba
Venue: Sandton Convention Centre, Maude Street Sandton, South Africa

The 2010 FIFA World Cup SA™ offers opportunities for showcasing the province and its locations, and is already having an impact on the technological and infrastructural asset base. From locations to crew to equipment providers and content programming, the event offers potential benefits to the Gauteng industry.

Yet, what will the local film and TV industries look like in 2010 and beyond? Are we on track to building a sustainable local film industry - an industry in which independent filmmaking thrives? Are we adequately prepared for the many challenges ahead such as a lack of resources and limited access to markets?

The GFC Film Indaba 2008 will bring together audio-visual industry representatives, media, community, government officials, politicians, business and funders / financiers in constructive dialogue and celebration, aimed at propelling the Gauteng audio-visual industry. Beyond 2010!

To secure your attendance, please email your details to Carla at: or fax 011 549 8525

You may also register on-line here.

Registration closes by 7 November 2008




The organisers of ENCOUNTERS, the annual South African International Documentary Festival, are calling for entries from South African and International filmmakers for 2009 the 11th edition of the festival.

ENCOUNTERS will show a selection of documentary films from around the world, with a particular focus on South African work. Filmmakers must guarantee, should their film be selected, that permission from the rights holder is secured for a minimum of six screenings at this Festival.

The deadline for submissions is 26th February 2009

The entry form can be obtained from the Encounters website and must be submitted with the DVD PAL screener.

Encounters is the only South African distributor dedicated to distributing documentaries to the South African public. Encounters promote and sell films to television, through DVDs and in cinemas.
For additional information feel free to contact Nazeer Ahmed at:
Tel:  +27 21 465 4686 
Fax: +27 21 461 6964

19 September 2008



The Apollo Film Festival

Victoria West is a small dorp with not a mountain nor snow in sight. Blink and you might miss it and the small herd of sheep, lazily chomping the sparse vegetation on the never-ending road to Kimberley. There is nothing physical that prompts a comparison between this quiet village in the semi-desert of the Karoo and the bustling ski resort in Utah, USA. But without their respective film festivals, no one would have heard of either of these small little cultural gems.

At Sundance, they celebrate American independent films. At Apollo, they celebrate South Africa’s very latest fillums. For both Festivals a deep and abiding love of film and a dedication to exploring the profound visions of indie filmmakers has placed them firmly on the must-attend list of each country’s film-watching community. Nowhere else in South Africa can you literally immerse yourself in the delights and heartbreaks of the silver screen for an entire, uninterrupted long weekend.

Our very own Sundance is taking place in Victoria West at and around the beautiful Apollo Theatre (one of the country’s last remaining Art Deco cinemas still in use) from the 2nd to the 5th October 2008. This year, the annual celebration of South African cinema worships 9 features, 14 documentaries and 24 short films.

As an unfettered reflection of South Africa’s reality, the award-winning features in this year’s line-up reflect the contrasts of the South African experience – from the life-altering addiction of the slots in Confessions of a Gambler to being transformed from teen nerd to rugby hero in Bakgat. The downfall and ultimate redemption of one of the nation’s most respected figures is explored in Hansie, while the mean, gansta-packed streets of Hillbrow echoes throughout Jerusalema. In the period romantic drama, Land of Thirst, the timeless influence of the Karoo weaves its magic, whilst technological savvy and stunning artistry mix in South Africa’s first stop-frame animation feature, Tengers.

Opening the festival on Thursday, 2nd October is Triomf, the new offering from Michael Raeburn and, some would say, his tour de force. Set in 1994, five days after South Africa’s first democratic election, he introduces the world to the highly dysfunctional Benade family who live in the poor white suburb that was built on the ruins of the legendary Sophiatown. Unavoidably dark, but also very funny, Triomf relentlessly pursues the tensions and finds the subsequent humour in our collective past. Triomf is based on the award-winning novel (M-Net Prize, CAN Prize, Noma Prize) of the same name by Marlene van Niekerk.

Detailing the past and present is the irrepressible lens of the documentary filmmaker. Confronting all manner of universal issues, that include the imprint of war, the dream of marriage, and the separate pursuits of meaning, identity, fear, happiness, spirituality and yes, even sports, this year’s catalogue of documentaries catapults us into lives of the individual. Deep in the Karoo, we explore a love of lions in Daniel and our Cats, cement our identity in Inanda, My Heritage, and define the moment with a game of football on Robben Island in More Than Just a Game and examine the lasting psychological damage of the border war in Betrayed.

The directors and producers attending the festival to participate in the Q&A’s after the screenings include; Junaid Ahmed of More Than Just a Game, Frans Cronje of Hansie, Rina Jooste of Betrayed, Tendeka Matatu of Jerusalema, Asivhanzi ‘Asi’ Mathaba of Walk like A Man, Tiny Mungwe of Akekho Ugogo, Meg Rickards of Land of Thirst, Michael J. Rix of Tengers and Dylan Valley of Hip Hopera.

This year the enviable task of watching and judging all this talent falls on Tonight Senior film writer Theresa Smith, world renowned filmmaker Khalo Matabane, and award winning director/producer Bridget Pickering. The Apollo Film Festival is sponsored by the National Film and Video Foundation and implemented by the Encounters Documentary Film Festival, with the support of Apollo Theatre, Durban International Film Festival, Northern Cape Tourism, and the Tourism Enterprise Programme.

Get there by hook or by shepherd’s crook. However you do get there, it will be a long weekend worth the distance travelled in body, mind and soul.

Reggie Zamuxolo Khanzi
Festival Director
Cell: 082 583 4709

Mandisa Zitha
Tel: (021) 465 4686

Apollo Festival Hotline: 082 858 2015



After almost a month of cinema screenings across 4 cities, the 6th Annual Tri Continental Film Festival successfully concluded in Durban on the 11th of September 2008. This year’s festival reached new heights and continued to grow audiences for compelling cinema from the global South focussing on pressing human rights issues. Worthy of particular mention this year were the screenings of 9 short films completed over a two month period in the run up the festival’s opening in the mid-August, under the banner, Filmmakers Against Racism, (web and blog) commissioned by the Human Rights Media Trust examining the appalling xenophobic attacks that marred the South African landscape in May this year. These short films explored the motivation and social context behind these attacks, the lives of foreign nationals in the aftermath of these attacks, particularly under extremely harsh conditions in temporary refugee camps, the challenges of reintegration, and the inadequate response of public officials.

Each year the Tri Continental Film Festival runs an audience award for recognition of the festival’s outstanding film, outstanding South African film and outstanding short film. We wish to announce that 2008 Tri Continental Film Festival audience award for best film goes to Mick Davie’s The Choir. Filmed over 6 years, this inspirational documentary follows the life of young fellow Jabulani Shabangu as he joins the Leeukop prison choir thus beginning his journey towards self-redemption and eventual release from prison. Along this journey, the film introduces other inspirational personalities notably, Coleman Mgododlo, the choir master whose love and leadership to the juvenile offenders, not only leads these young men to victory in the annual inter-prison choir competition but teaches them invaluable life lessons for survival beyond South Africa’s prison walls. Controversial and emotionally charged, Davie’s The Choir was embraced by South African audiences and is a worthy winner on this year’s audience award for outstanding film.

In the category best South African film, the audience award this year goes to Tapologo, a South African and Spanish co-production directed by Gabriela & Sally Gutierrez Dewar which explores the impact of South Africa’s mining boom on the labour camps that support the industry and the often brutal realities facing woman in these communities. Freedom Park squatter camp, situated in the Northwest province, accommodates a migrant workforce that mines the world’s single largest source of platinum, and the women in the community service the needs of the male miners as a means of basic survival. A group of HIV-infected former sex-workers have created a network called Tapologo, and have learnt to be home based care-workers transforming degradation into solidarity and hope. This rare film provides a humanising and honest lens to the courageous work of community activists working under desperate conditions.

In the category of best short film, audiences chose Okepne Ojang, Kyle O’Donoghue and Miki Redlinghuys’ humorous and compelling Congo My Foot. Created as part of the Filmmakers Against Racism series, this 24 minute piece tells the story of Tino La Musica, a Congolese band based in Cape Town that is displaced and evicted from their homes at the time of the xenophobic attacks this past May. As narrated by Ojang, an immigrant to South Africa from Cameroon, the film shows the trauma facing foreign nations as they seek to piece their lives together and find future direction in the fall out of the xenophobic attacks. Tino La Musica’s uplifting rhythms and ultimate reunion provide an inspiration backdrop to the ethnic tensions that continue to simmer throughout the nation.

The festival wishes to thank all the filmmakers and particularly South African audiences for their tremendous support over the past month of screenings. We would also like to take this opportunity to thank all of our cooperating partners. The Human Rights Media Trust, Lawyers for Human Rights, SACOD, The Mail and Guardian, Cinema Nouveau Screened by Fish Eagle, Breakthrough, Out of Frame, Out in Africa Gay and Lesbian Film Festival and Encounters SA International Documentary Festival.

Finally, the festival would not have been possible without the support and partnership of the National Film and Video Foundation, SABC, Gauteng Film Office, Timberland, MNET, The Swedish Embassy, The Italian Cultural Institute, The Mexican Embassy and Spectrum Visual Networks.



Free screening of 'My Name is Joe' tonight at The Labia Theatre, Cape Town

Tonight there will be a free screening of Steven Ellis's 43 minute documentary My Name Is Joe (recently shown at the Durban Film Festival) 6:30 pm at the Labia Theater, Cape Town (68 Orange Street).

Jose is a hardworking, determined and affable young Congolese man. Fleeing home to preserve his security and perhaps his life, his travels lead him through various jobs: illegal diamond-mining, car-guarding, security and bar-work. In this cheery and engaging film, he talks us through his adventures as a refugee, showing the hard side of life in the beautiful city of Cape Town, and the resiliency of the human spirit.

15 September 2008


The Johannesburg DFA met with Ike Bertels about The Netherlands-based Docs Online initiative. Docs Online is a web-based video library providing Video On Demand content. It allows you to view preview clips on-line as well as down-load complete films for a subscription fee.

The site is advantageous for the following reasons:
*Docs Online will, at their own risk, arrange to courier video material on tape to and from SA.
*Docs Online will digitize the material and create the divex codec for displaying your film on their website.
*Docs Online will arrange for a central location in SA to which you may send your DVD preview screeners. The screeners will be watched and if the film is desirable, Docs Online will get in touch.
*Should your film be selected it is a non-exclusive deal. In other words, you may submit the same film to other on-line distributors and VOD portals.
*You will receive a log-in code and will be able to monitor your profits as people pay to download your film.
*You will receive 50% payment while Docs Online gets the other 50%.
*Docs Online will take it upon themselves to clear any music or archive material used in your film for on-line distribution on their site (a major plus given how onerous archive clearances can be!).
*The site is based in The Netherlands and while it is somewhat slow to up-load when viewing from SA the site reports high access in Europe.

The problems:
*At the moment, Docs Online will on pay money in Euros into a PayPal account. But the problem is that you can't get that money as cash out of your PayPal account and into your SA bank account. At the moment, SA foreign exchange control prevents this. So, this means that you would receive the money into your PayPal account and would then have to spend it on-line with another PayPal vendor.
*In order to submit a film to Docs Online you have to own the copyright. Given that many local filmmakers create work for the SABC this becomes tricky.

The way forward:
*In The Netherlands, Dutch filmmakers lobbied the public broadcaster and won the rights to distribute their work through on-line portals. The DFA would like to motivate that we do the same with regard to the SABC.


The British Documentary Film Guild has some useful standard contracts for you to download and adapt. Click here.

Standard release form: A standard, non-payment, release form for use with documentary subjects
Confidentiality Agreement: For times when you're dealing with sensitive information
Freelance Agreement: From director to composer, it's useful to keep everything in writing when money's involved
Location Agreement: You'll need this when filming on any private property not belonging to you
Sales Agent Agreement: This could be one of the most of important bits of paperwork you sign
Music Recording Licence: For the use of copyrighted music in your film


eco tube


Ecotube is a video sharing website specialising in content which advocates environmentalism. The website features user-submitted videos to raise awareness of environmental and political issues, to give tips on how to live an eco-friendly lifestyle and review eco-friendly products. The content consists of documentaries, animations and short films made by independent film makers.

The site is looking for documentaries, animations and any type of film on the themes of sustainable living, eco-activism, green politics or anything which will appeal their audience. Visit the site at here and see the range of videos already online, and upload films directly to the site.




Documentary Films Competition “Image of the World”

The competition is organized in collaboration with Discovery Networks Europe and aims to recognize documentary film as a creative interpretation of the reality. Putting an emphasis on the visual and aesthetic aspects of the work, the organizers evaluate the best achievements in the field of cinematography, awarding the authors of photography of the competitive documentary films. Only short and medium length documentary films between 20 and 60 minutes, constituting a self-contained whole, produced after the 1st of January 2006, can be submitted to the selection. However, shorter or longer films may be accepted for non-competitive special screenings.
Deadline: 5th of October 2008.
Please refer to the website for details here. The Director of the Festival invites recognised documentary film creators and other representatives of art and culture to constitute an international Jury.



A short film by Kali van der Merwe (10min)

W-hole is a journey into the hidden - the secret - the unexposed - the taboo. This film explores a very vulnerable, hidden and soft spot of the anatomy – the arsehole. The focus is on the male anus as a way to investigate male constructs around intimacy, shame, identity, sexuality and the ownership society creates around the body. Go see it if you dare...

Now showing at

Gay and Lesbian Film Festival 2008

CAPE TOWN - Nu Metro V&A Waterfront
Sunday 14 September - 8.15 pm
Thursday 18 September - 9 pm

Screening before and together with 'The Quest for the Missing Piece'
- a man in search of his foreskin - Israel (52 min)
Ticket prices R25
To book visit: or call 086 11 00 220


Jesus & the Giant

Studio 2
WSOA Film & TV Division
Wednesday 17th September 2008
5pm filmmaker in attendance

An experimental film set in Johannesburg.

Jesus is a special woman. Her eyes are windows on the world. She has powers she herself doesn’t understand but ultimately she is a warrior for peace. Then one day her friend Mary arrives at her doorstep, beaten. Jesus has to choose whether to continue to nurse Mary or take revenge on the deadly Giant.

Written by Aryan Kaganof and directed by Akin Omotoso
12 minutes / 2007

films to watch


USA, 2008, 88 mins

Like his father before him, Lance Larson is a treasure hunter. His current prospects are two World War II veterans who buried treasure after the war, one in Austria and the other in the Philippines. Despite the tremendous odds that stand against him, Larson is determined to find the elusive riches.

Darius Marder's haunting debut documentary parallels the epic search for loot with disarmingly powerful resurrections of the past. Prompted by Larson's curiosity, each veteran is gradually forced to face ghosts that have been locked away for 60 years. As their former lives materialize, they join together in an obsessive quest for closure, hoping to transform the present by resolving the past. Marder deftly keeps the metaphors as buried as the treasure while intimately charting the trio as they feed one another's delusions. The end of the rainbow reveals a depiction of humanity that is both philosophically profound and spiritually heart-wrenching.

03 September 2008


Sea Point public pool: photo courtesy of Nick Marais Reyneke


This week, SEA POINT DAYS, a feature-length documentary film by Emmy award-winning South African filmmaker and DFA member Francois Verster, will have its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival starting on 4th September. 

The documentary, produced by Lucinda Englehart and Neil Brandt of Luna Films, looks at life at Cape Town’s Sea Point promenade and at its municipal pools. SEA POINT DAYS not only celebrates this unusual and beautiful space, but also paints a deeply reflective picture of old white South Africa in transition and the frictions of a society in flux.

The film marks a stylistic departure for Verster, whose previous films include THE MOTHERS’ HOUSE, A LION’S TRAIL and WHEN THE WAR IS OVER. He describes it as his most personal film so far: “The film aims from a very personal perspective to give shape to some of the emotional contradictions of being South African at this point. Rather than working from a character or a number of characters’ point of view, it tries to integrate social, physical and perhaps spiritual elements within the area in different ways.” 

SEA POINT DAYS was funded by ITVS International, the Jan Vrijman Fund, the Visons Sud Est, the National Film and Video Foundation and Spier Films. The film has already been invited to other high profile festivals.

For further information please contact Neil Brandt ( or Lucinda Englehart (

Screening dates and times at the Toronto International Film Festival are;
Press and Industry Screenings: 

Thurs 4th Sept – Varsity 7 – 7pm
Tues 9th Sept – AMC 9 – 8.30pm

Public Screenings:
Sat 6th Sept – AMC 2 – 3.45pm (World Premiere)
Mon 8th Sept – Varsity VIP3 –2.30pm
Fri 12th Sept – Varsity 7 – 5.30pm



The National Film and Video Foundation has produced a co-production guidelines document. Please engage and give your feedback.

The purpose of this document is to give guidance on:

- Co-production treaty requirements
- The application process for an advance
- To set down an appeal process for projects that do not comply with treaty requirements. The advance and final ruling application forms have also been updated.

Once comments have been received, producers must take note of the new application forms that will be available on the NFVF's website.

The NFVF invites feedback from the local industry on their co-production guidelines document. Comments should be sent to Aifheli Dzebu before Friday 26 September 2008 at the following email address:

To download the guidelines document in PDF format go here


A reminder that the SABC will be announcing their factual genre briefs in Durban as part of the Tri Continental Film Festival:

Thursday 11th September 2008
13h00 for 13h30
Catalina (TheatreBIZ)
33 Vause Road