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.

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.

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