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.

25 July 2008



Been wondering what's happening with Pay-TV in South Africa? The following article appears courtesy of The Media.

Nazley Omar examines what (if any) headway the new pay-TV operators, which were granted licences last year by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA), have made.

Sekgoela Sekgoela, ICASA manager for media and stakeholders liaison, has confirmed that On Digital Media (ODM) is the first new operator to have been issued with its broadcast licence. "WOW TV and Telkom Media will receive their licences within the next few weeks," he said.

ODM has moved its launch from the second quarter of this year to next year. Vino Govender, ODM director, says the delay is due to "the number of Pay-TV operators being issued with a licence".

The operator plans to launch about 50 channels, with intentions to grow. Subscribers will pay only for the channels they watch, and will be able to create their own bouquets at a cost of R149 to R349.

Govender could not provide details regarding content but said genres for channels will include: news and knowledge, movies, family and sport, kids, music and cultural programming.

He says he is aware that MultiChoice is aggressively purchasing content to cover the lower end of the market with cheaper offerings. "But there is plenty of content to be had. We are not targeting MultiChoice customers; our objective is to attract different LSM groups (6-9).

ODM has begun recruiting staff.

Telkom Media
The future of Telkom Media, a subsidiary of Telkom South Africa, is currently uncertain.

Telkom, which owns 66% of Telkom Media, recently announced its plans to sell its share in Telkom Media or part thereof. Despite reports in Business Day that Telkom is "considering a serious offer", Naas Fourie, chief of strategy at Telkom, says, "Telkom confirms that no new offer has been received".

Telkom Media spokesperson, Chris van Zyl, says it is not clear when Telkom Media's service will be launched, "the company that buys shares (in Telkom Media) will have an input as to when we launch, but we are currently working on taking it to the market. We are waiting for Telkom to indicate that we have a buyer.

"In the meantime Telkom is funding us with operational costs."

Van Zyl claims that there has been no exodus of staff during this time of uncertainty.

Walking on Water (WOW)
Walking on Water, a niche broadcaster aimed at providing pro-family, clean, valuable and "most importantly Christ-friendly television" plans to launch by "the end of the first quarter next year", says Luyanda Mangquku, co-founder of WOW.

When WOW applied for its broadcast licence, it planned to launch one pay-channel. Mangquku now says it plans to launch at least three channels, with "plans to later add more channels."

A subscription with WOW will cost R49 a month for the entry package and a premium package with additional channels will later be added to the bouquet.

When asked where the channel plans to purchase its content, Mangquka said they were negotiations with companies abroad and had a "huge commitment to support local production".

Sekgoela was uncertain as to whether e.sat will still be issued with a licence since it has opted to become a content provider. Its 24-hour news channel is being broadcast on MultiChoice's DStv platform.

The trouble with Pay-TV: Do the new Pay-TV operators stand a chance? Not likely if you consider the content market, Clare O’Neil of The Media argues.

When the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) granted five of the (initial) 18 hopefuls a subscription broadcasting licence in September 2007, it granted licences to operate in probably the most expensive and complex of all businesses in the television broadcasting arena.

Let's, for argument's sake, put aside the fact that pay-TV is pay-TV – where folk (in the LSM 6-9 bracket – the market the new operators are supposedly targeting) have to pay a monthly subscription fee of at least R150, plus the cost of a decoder and dish installation.

This has to happen against the backdrop of a global food and fuel crisis which has arrived in South Africa, the cost of which is driving up inflation and contributing towards interest rate hikes.

Let's also put aside the fact that the new operators have to build a platform in order to receive and transmit international channels direct-to-home (DTH) as well as buy in an encrypted subscriber management system. Added to that, they have to build facilities and install systems that are required to construct, schedule, compile and manage all the channel assets, rights clearances and play-out periods of the locally produced channels we have read quite a bit about. All of which is absolutely possible, but at a cost that would eventually find its way to those subscriber fees.

Which leaves us with the essence of pay-TV: content that drives and maintains subscriptions.

Subscription drivers

For the most part, sport and movies are the major subscription drivers. Series, documentary and news channels add value to the subscription and for families with kids, Cartoon Network and Disney Channel are winners.

Music and lifestyle channels also have their appeal, particularly amongst younger members of the subscriber family. Typical pay-TV platforms such as MultiChoice (in the South Africa context) are multi-channel. There are hundreds of channels that are constructed and compiled for broadcast on pay-TV platforms around the world.

Discovery Channel, for example, probably "sits" on every single pay-TV platform around the globe, where the bulk of their revenue is generated through the rate the platform provider pays them per subscriber on a monthly basis. The stronger the channel brand, the more valuable that brand becomes to the platform provider, the higher the cost per subscriber (CPS) rate is for that particular channel. Operators without subscribers therefore have a tough time at the negotiation table when they are up against platform providers in a territory with close to 2-million subscribers.

This pushes up the CPS per channel even further as new operators try to muscle in, which is ultimately passed on to the subscriber every year. Having established that sport and movies are the major subscription drivers, SuperSport and M-Net certainly have all that content covered, as both companies compile for the DStv bouquet broadcast off the MultiChoice platform.

Most of the research I have seen illustrates that the M-Net-compiled channels (including the main M-Net general entertainment channel) and the SuperSport channels are the most popular amongst subscribers. And rightly so – between both M-Net and SuperSport, the DStv offering has the very best of global content offerings.

SuperSport has sown up all the rights to broadcast the major sporting events for years to come, including their spectacular Premier Soccer League (PSL) coup. Sport is typically the driver that "gets a subscriber in", so if the new pay operators don't have any live sport to speak of, what would they use to "get ‘em in"?

Let's look to movies and the ever-popular series. For starters, M-Net "owns" all the first pay-TV movie rights, which have a two-year window in South Africa, meaning other broadcasters don't have access to those premium blockbuster movies for two years.

The free-to-air channels, and SABC1, 2 and 3, buy those movies straight after the M-Net window closes, which begs the question: Why would people without DStv pay for movies they will eventually see for free on either or one of the SABC's channels? Between M-Net's main channel, M-Net Series, M-Net Action and Go, the pay-TV channel compiler has bought up all the premium series. In the earlier days (before the pay-TV wars), all the great M-Net series would premiere on M-Net's main channel and move to M-Net Series as a rerun.

The company acted swiftly at the 2007 LA Screenings, where series are screened and bought by broadcasters, just prior to the new licences being awarded. It literally bought the entire new product available from "LALA Land" to the globe's broadcasting fraternity.

Since M-Net has now bought so much new product, we not only see series premiered on the M-Net channel, but on their three other entertainment channels, Series, Action and Go, which has just made the M-Net product offering as a whole even more valuable to subscribers. This strategy, which includes M-Net's great billboard marketing, has certainly positioned the "series genre" as content that makes subscribers feel they would miss the service if they no longer had it.

The SABC also buys blockbuster series like "Desperate Housewives" and "Prison Break" after those shows have premiered on pay-TV, so again: Why would people without pay-TV pay for content they could access on free-to-air channels after the series have premiered on DStv?

Beyond the top channels on the DStv bouquet compiled by "brother" and "sister" companies SuperSport and M-Net, MultiChoice itself sources the very best of the global channel brands which adds "weight" and big brand status to the bouquet – namely Discovery, National Geographic, Cartoon Network, MTV, BBC Prime, BBC World, Sky News, CNN, Al Jazeera, etc.

And whilst these channels appear on pay platforms around the world, the uniqueness in this territory is that MultiChoice (barring a few news channels) has exclusive deals with the majority of these big channel brands.

They can afford to with nearly 2-million subscribers across the continent against new licensees with no subscribers at all. What is left of the big brand channels for the new operators? There are a few, but they certainly aren't heavyweight subscription drivers.

Not the answer

To add even more insult to injury, MultiChoice has worked very hard over the past year to either compile or acquire so-called library channels. In M-Net's case, the M-Net Stars channel, which M-Net has compiled and packaged, made up of movies from the major studio libraries, primarily from the '80s and '90s. And in MultiChoice's case, Sony Entertainment channel, which it has acquired, made up of both movie and series libraries from the studios.

Whilst there is plenty of library material available for broadcast buyers, M-Net and MultiChoice are ensuring that the new operators will have limited choice as and when they start compiling and/or acquiring. Library channels are certainly not subscription drivers; they merely add to the volume of channels across a bouquet. And for the most part an enormous amount of library content is bought by the free-to-air channels as well.

There has been some commentary about UGC channels (user-generated content) and local content. Quite simply, UGC is the domain of the internet and the next big trend in the digital economy, but it's not enough to drive subscribers to a pay-TV service; and as for local content, not enough is produced or could ever be produced to fill multi-channel bouquets compelling enough to get people to become subscribers.

My sense of the local content market and the viewers attracted to the product is that both the SABC and offer a good fare to people who don't have pay-TV. Given the facts about the content market, I do not believe there is room left in that space to create a compelling offer to attract a whole new subscriber base.

I do, however, believe there is room to "open up the market and create competition" in other ways., through its new satellite-TV sister company, e.sat, understood the dynamics of this market perfectly well when five operators were granted licences. It opted to create channels for an existing (and successful) pay-TV platform operator, starting with a 24-hour news channel. Good on e.sat for going this route. Since the news channel sits on a number of the DStv bouquets (premium and compact), I believe it may stimulate subscriber growth in the compact subscription market.

MultiChoice may stimulate the market further if it uses the "long tail" theory in its tiering structure. Essentially the "long tail" theory illustrates how endless choice is creating unlimited demand.

MultiChoice is in the process of tiering "downwards" as it tries to penetrate the market the new operators want. If ICASA really wanted to create more competition and open up the market, it should have issued MultiChoice with a licence along with all the conditions appropriate to a pay-TV operator and opened up the market by issuing more free-to-air (FTA) licences.

There is enough product after pay for more FTA single channels, people without pay-TV would have had more choice, advertisers would have had more opportunities and the local content industry would have had a real shot at upscaling their production capacity.

Clare O'Neil is a media and broadcasting consultant. She is a former general manager of SABC TV sales, was part of the team that set up, and is a former employee of M-Net and Oracle Airtime sales.

23 July 2008




Celebrating Difference

The organisers of the ALUTA FILM FESTIVAL, South Africa’s premier township cinema event, are calling for entries from South African and International filmmakers for 2009, the 7th edition of the festival. The festival is hosted annually in the vibrant township called Galeshewe near the city of Kimberley, South Africa.

Submissions should be from filmmakers who have produced films that embrace black experiences worldwide and/or experiences of marginalized communities from across the globe. Submissions are invited from filmmakers from all over the world with special emphasis on world cinema (films that explore history, social issues and highlight marginalized communities).

Friday 20 February – Saturday 28 February 2009

ALUTA FILM FESTIVAL accepts features, documentaries and short films in the genres/sub-genres of drama, action, thriller, comedy, animation and factual. Filmmakers must guarantee, should their film/video be selected, that permission from the rights holder is secured for a minimum of four screenings at the 7th annual Aluta Film Festival 2009.

Filmmakers are requested to submit DVD PAL screeners of their films and a brief filmmaker biography for viewing by our panel, upon viewing – all selected filmmakers will be forwarded the official application details as well as all festival regulations. Please note that no screeners will be returned.

Friday 31 October 2008 on/before 12h00

For additional information feel free to contact festival director at or All entries should be forwarded to the below mentioned address:

Motheo Seleke
Aluta Film Festival
18985 Guttenburg Pitse Street
John Mampe. Phase One
Galeshewe. Kimberley. 8300
South Africa



Cape Town-based DFA member Joanne Corrigall writes:

We are currently making a documentary on drinking culture in the Western Cape that adopts a provocative, tongue-in-cheek style drawing inspiration from films like Supersize Me and Bowling for Columbine. I am looking for a young filmmaker to assist with the following:
- cinematography
- script-writing
- research
- production

The post is ideally suited to someone with an interest in what makes people tick and a sense of humour is vital! Applicants should have completed trained in filmmaking. Experience is beneficial but not necessary. Fluency in Afrikaans or isiXhosa would be advantageous.

The position is available immediately until the end of February 2009. Interested applicants can contact me by email on or telephonically on 084 516 9162.



Filmmakers Against Racism (FAR) and the SABC invite you to a dialogue on the role and responsibility of the audio-visual medium in combating xenophobia. The discussion will include clips from the documentaries produced by FAR in response to the recent xenophobic violence, and will be facilitated by Mandla Langa and attended by all the filmmakers involved.

The discussion will take place as part of the Durban International Film Festival on Tuesday 29th of July.
Venue: Catalina Theatre, Durban
Time: 15:00 – 17:00



Why is there such a crisis at the SABC? The following presentation was made at a forum on civil society strategies to deal with the current crisis at the SABC. The forum was convened by the Open Society Foundation and attended by a range of civil society organisations and concerned individuals
Unpacking the crisis at the SABC. To read Jane Duncan’s presentation, click here




“Independent Television Service continues to reinvent television and give public television back to the public.” –Daily Variety

This production funding initiative is designed to showcase international documentaries with powerful global stories that inform, inspire and connect Americans to the world at large.

International Call provides production funds for independent producers who are non-U.S. citizens, helping them create documentaries for American television. Through the ITVS International Call, storytellers from other countries introduce U.S. audiences to their global neighbors, opening a window into unfamiliar lives, experiences and perspectives. In addition to production funding and support, ITVS International will premiere funded programs on U.S public and commercial television, engaging viewers and maximizing impact through national promotion and educational outreach campaigns. International Call is an initiative of the International Media Development Fund—a project created by ITVS in partnership with the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Ford Foundation and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

Deadline: February 6, 2009
To visit the ITVS site and read the producer's guidelines, click here



The Hubert Bals Fund gives financial support twice a year. Application deadlines are March 1 and August 1. All materials should arrive no later than 5 days after the deadline.

Applications should be in English or in French. Although the Fund has no rigid rules and each individual project will be judged on its own merits there are certainly limits to the field in which the Hubert Bals Fund operates.

The prime consideration of the panel that considers all the projects will be the artistic qualities of an application.
Country of development and of the production should be one of the developing countries.
The entry should be original, authentic and rooted in the culture of the applicant's country.
The project should contribute to the development of the local film industry and the local film-making skills.
For the Fund to participate in a project, there should be a strong possibility that the rest of the finance can be found. Therefore applicants approaching the Fund should have other interested partners in place.
The Fund is restricted to the support of feature films and creative, feature length documentary projects with theatrical potential. Shorts, documentaries and films specially made for television cannot be taken in consideration. Eventual support for documentaries can be given by the Jan Vrijman Fund of the International Documentary Festival Amsterdam (IDFA).

The Fund operates with 4 different categories:
1.Script and project development
2.Digital Productions
3.Post-production funding or final financing

To find out more, visit the Hubert Bals Fund.



This year, the Alter-Cine Foundation will award a grant of 10,000 Canadian dollars to a video or filmmaker to assist in the production of a documentary project. The grant is aimed at young video and filmmakers born and living in Africa, Asia or Latin America who want to direct a film in the language of their choice that respects the aims of the Foundation. To apply, the video/filmmaker must:

1. complete the Application Form in French, English or Spanish;

2. include a synopsis in French, English, or Spanish (max. 5 pages) that describes the content, characters, situations, theme as well as the treatment and style of the project;

3. send a VHS cassette or a DVD of a completed documentary work. If possible the cassette should be sub-titled or versioned in French, English or Spanish. If the work does not exist in any of these three languages, please send a written transcript of the dialogue and narration in one of the three languages.

4. include a production budget for the documentary, as well as a financing plan which includes the Foundation grant and other sources of proposed or assured financing;

5. present two support letters from partners, NGOs, groups or associations supporting the project.

Applications must be sent post paid to the Alter-Ciné Foundation. Only applications received before August 15th of each year will be accepted. Candidates will be advised of the decisions of the Selection Committee before December 31 of each year.

The grant will be divided in two parts:

- the first payment of 6,000 Canadian dollars after the project is selected.

- the final payment of 4,000 Canadian dollars on reception of a Betacam and a VHS tape of the completed documentary.

To apply to the Alter-Ciné Foundation, click here.

Sundance and Skoll Foundation Fund Documentaries About Social Entrepreneurs: DEADLINE AUGUST 15th


The Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program and the Skoll Foundation have partnered in a three-year initiative to explore how independent feature-length documentary film can advance knowledge about social entrepreneurship.

The Stories of Change Fund will consider independent feature-length documentary projects in all categories of development, production and post-production. Completed films are not eligible. Film projects must be completed by 2010. Grant awards will be made on a case-by-case basis and may range up to $150,000US per film.

This is a one-time only RFP.

Grants will be awarded based on the following criteria:

All films must highlight and /or include a contemporary social entrepreneur, their organization and a focus on the issues in which the entrepreneurs are seeking a systemic and positive change.

All films must be feature length (over 65 minutes).

All films must be independently produced, with creative control held by the producing/directing team.

Films must display directorial vision/aesthetic and have the potential for theatrical release.

Sundance Documentary Film Program is part of the non-profit Sundance Institute. Dedicated to the discovery and support of artists, grants will be awarded to independent documentary film projects selected from the applicants. Sundance Institute reserves the right to solicit proposals. Please note that Sundance Institute seeks no licensing rights in the documentary film projects we support. Details of the contract will be presented to projects that are finalists.

This will be a competitive fund please make sure the project is appropriate to the guidelines. Questions can be directed to


If you think your film meets the above criteria, please go here to apply.

Filmmakers will be notified no later than December 1st if their submission has reached the final selection.


Q: What is a social entrepreneur?

A: Although the definition of a social entrepreneur can vary, the focus of this initiative is on individuals with significant innovations that have the potential to address the critical challenges of our time. We seek to expand the public's understanding of social entrepreneurs, their approach to social change, and the outcomes of their work. Excellent examples of people who have been awarded recognition for their work as social entrepreneurs can be found at, and

Definition of Social Entrepreneurship: A Social Entrepreneur is specifically defined as a change agent for society. Social Entrepreneurs pioneer innovative, effective, sustainable approaches to benefit humanity by meeting the needs of the marginalized, the disadvantaged and the disenfranchised. Social entrepreneurs are the wellspring of a better future.

Social Entrepreneurs are:

Ambitious: They tackle major social issues, from increasing the college enrollment rate of low-income students to fighting poverty in developing countries. They operate in all kinds of organizations: innovative non-profits, social purpose ventures such as for-profit community development banks and hybrid organizations that mix elements of nonprofit and for-profit.

Mission driven: Generating social value - not wealth - is the central criterion of a successful social entrepreneur. Promoting systemic social change is the real objective.

Strategic: Like business entrepreneurs, social entrepreneurs see and act upon what others miss -- opportunities to improve systems, create solutions and invent new approaches that create social value.

Resourceful: Because social entrepreneurs operate within a social context rather than the business world, they have limited access to capital and traditional market support systems. As a result, social entrepreneurs must be exceptionally skilled at mustering and mobilizing human, financial and political resources.

Results-Oriented: Ultimately, social entrepreneurs are driven to proven measurable returns. These results transform existing realities, open up new pathways for the marginalized and disadvantaged and unlock society's potential to affect social change.

Today, social entrepreneurs are working in many countries to create avenues for independence and opportunity for those who otherwise would be locked into lives without hope. Whether they are working on a local or international scale, social entrepreneurs share a commitment to pioneering innovation that reshape society and benefit humanity. Quite simply, they are solution-minded pragmatists who are not afraid to tackle some of the world's biggest problems.

To learn more about Social Entrepreneurs go to:

Q: Do I have to work with a social entrepreneur who has been supported by the Skoll Foundation?

A: No, the Film Fund will consider documentary proposals about people and organizations that meet the definition of 'social entrepreneur' as described above. The field is still evolving, and each proposal will be evaluated according to this definition. The Film Fund will also consider films about Skoll-supported social entrepreneurs but it is not a requirement. It is strongly suggested that applicants familiarize themselves with the Skoll Foundation web site (, the online community for social entrepreneurs at and the field of social entrepreneurship.

Q: Does the project have to be US-based?

A: Applications can be based anywhere in the world. Preference will be given to works projects that have experienced teams who have made long-form documentaries.

Q: Can these projects be news or television shows?

A: Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program supports artists making independently produced cinematic documentaries. This is not a television or news program fund, though television versions of Sundance-supported films are common as part of a larger co-production package.

Q: Do I have to work with a broadcaster?

A: Projects can work with any co-producing entity or broadcaster as long as the editorial control is held by the project's director. Sundance Documentary Film Program projects have worked with broadcasters globally, including CBC, PBS, A+E, HBO, Channel 4, BBC, Arte, and many more. We encourage projects that have some financing in place, or that have a likelihood of bringing additional funders on board.

Q: Is there any other support that comes with the funding?

A: The DFP offer creative as well as financial support. Funded projects will have a range of opportunities to take part on Labs, rough cut screenings, referrals, consultations, etc.

Q: Do Sundance DFP supported films automatically get into the Sundance Film Festival?

A: No, SFF is programmed independently and all DFP films must apply to the Festival individually. The DFP tracks our projects at SFF and advises on documentary activities and programming.

To learn more about the Sundance Documentary Film Program go to:

20 July 2008


Thank you to all DFA members who participated in the Annual General Meeting.

The new board members for 2008 / 2009 are as follows:

Miki Redelinghuys (Co-Chair CT)
Tula Dlamini (Co-Chair JHB)
Bongo Morala (Deputy Chair CT)
Marc Schwinges (Treasurer JHB)
Dylan Vally (Youth Portfolio CT)
Rassool Snyman (Regional Portfolio – Building National Membership KZN)
Pascal Schmitz (Project Co-Ordinator JHB)
Kali van der Merwe (Project Co-Ordinator CT)
Theresa Meyer (Co-Secretary CT)
Catherine Muller (Co-Secretary JHB)
Khalid Shamis (DFA and TPA liaison JHB)

We would like to express our grateful thanks to Natalie Stange, Michael Lee and Carien Wandrag for their commitment, energy and time while serving on the 2007/2008 board.

Some of the projects we'd like to pursue this year are:

- A co-production pitching forum for documentaries.
- Securing competitive production insurance rates for members.
- Seeking legal counsel at competitive rates for our members.
- Continuing to engage with industry bodies such as SASFED on behalf of our membership.




29th Durban International Film Festival
23 July to 3 August 2008

Cinema in all its diversity will once again be celebrated at the 29 th Durban International Film Festival which runs from 23 July to 3 August. Featuring more than 200 films from more than 95 countries, spread over more than 300 screenings at 26 venues across the city, the festival will bring together established masters of cinema and innovative new talents from around the world. Alongside the presentation of the some of the year's finest films, the festival will run an extensive workshop and seminar programme giving the regions aspirant filmmakers an opportunity to learn from and be inspired by some of cinema's greats.
Opening the festival is the African Premiere of Ralph Ziman's Jerusalema, a gritty gangster thriller set on the harsh streets of Johannesburg . The festival will close with Mike Leigh's uplifting new comedy, Happy-Go-Lucky .

The festival will offer an exciting journey into the world of contemporary cinema with a range of feature films, documentaries and short films that will not only entertain, but enlighten and inspire.

Festival director Peter Rorvik explains: “ The Durban International Film Festival opens a window on the world, provides access to many different cultures and provides a space in which the cinematic art form transcends national boundaries. The recent tragic events in South Africa give cause to highlight what has long been a central idea of the Durban International Film Festival: to create understanding and acceptance of different cultures through the medium of film. A special programme of films focuses on the issue of xenophobia, and some of its attendant roots such as racism, migration and poverty.”

Under the banner Love Film, Hate Xenophobia, the festival will present films such as Darrell James Roodt's Zimbabwe, which looks at the arduous journey a young woman makes from Zimbabwe to South Africa; Penny Woolcock's Exodus which imagines a near-future England in which foreigners are incarcerated in a ghetto; the moving Canadian film Family Motel about Somalian refugees; Victims of Our Richness, which dissects the exploitation and brutality experienced by desperate Malian migrants; and a selection of specially commissioned films under the banner Filmmakers Against Racism made specifically about the xenophobic attacks.

For the festival programme and further info, click here



Cape Town: Freelance Producer and /or Production Manager needed

Long form TV experience in reality, talk and docs a bonus but not necessary. Good with creative. Good with detail and the numbers. Understands the business. Diversity and empowerment are important, but this does not exclude anyone from getting in touch.

If this is you, please contact:Dominic Wilhelm at Thread Media Group


Sheffield Doc/Fest's MeetMarket


Doc /Fest Sheffield now accepts project submissions for their MeetMarket which takes place 7-8 November. The MeetMarket is based on pre-scheduled match-made one-on-one meetings, where documentary makers pitch their newest projects to UK and international buyers, executive producers, commissioning editors and distributors. 

Buyers view online one-minute pitch teasers of documentary ideas, along with one-page treatments, in advance of Doc/Fest. From this, they select which projects they would like to discuss in one-to-one meetings at MeetMarket. 

Online project submissions are now open. Projects can be any stage of development and applicants can be from any geographic location. Interactive and cross-platform projects are also very welcome. 

Apply by filling in the online form and uploading a one-minute pitch trailer before FRIDAY 12TH SEPTEMBER 2008.

For more information on applying:

E-mail: or 
visit the website here

films to watch
Fiat Empire


Watch this documentary film to find out how fiat money put out by the Federal Reserve System may be driving oil prices into the stratosphere. Find out why some feel the Fed's practices are a violation of the U.S. Constitution and others feel it's simply "a bunch of organized crooks." Discover why experts agree the Fed is a banking cartel that benefits mainly bankers and their corporate clients as well as a Congress that would rather increase the National Debt to $9.3 trillion than raise taxes. Find out how the corporate media facilitates the partnership between the Fed and Congress and why it fails to disclose what's going on. Lastly, find out how the Federal Reserve Member Banks are owned and controlled by an elite group of insiders

To read more about the documentary, go here.

Part 1 of 6

Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars


The film tells the remarkable and uplifting story of a group of six Sierra Leonean musicians who came together to form a band while living as refugees in the Republic of Guinea. A brutal civil war (1991-2002) forced them from their homes in Sierra Leone. Many of their family and friends were murdered in the violence, leaving them with physical and emotional scars that may never heal. Despite the unimaginable horrors of civil war, they were saved through their music. Through music they find a place of refuge, a sense of purpose and a source of power. The film follows the band over the course of three years as they make the difficult decision to return to their war-torn country and realize their dream of recording an album of their original music.

If clip does not load, please hit refresh on your web browser. It should then re-load.

To read more about this documentary, visit the film's official site.

A Finished Life: How Do You Say Good-Bye?


A Finished Life: The Goodbye & No Regrets Tour is a feature length documentary about Gregg Gour, a 48-year-old gay man with AIDS, who, when given six months to live, takes the road trip of his life.

Gregg had been HIV positive for 24 years and during that time the side effects of the medications made him increasingly sicker than the virus itself. In the last several years he felt that his quality of life had diminished considerably, so he chose to go off his meds and no longer fight death.

After giving away all of his belongings, Gregg buys an RV and travels across the United States with his dog, Cody, saying goodbye to family and friends who have to come to terms with Gregg's decision: That rather than suffer a long, painful death, he will end his own life before allowing the progressing illness to take away his independence.

A Finished Life: The Goodbye & No Regrets Tour is a loving and powerful portrait of Gregg's journey, which is at turns heartbreaking and surprisingly upbeat. The filmmakers were given access to his most personal moments and the result is an open and unflinching chronicle of a man's decision to live the final chapter of his life his way.

Read more about this documentary here.

hot tips

Copyright and Fair Use


Documentary filmmakers have created, through their professional associations, a clear, easy to understand statement of fair and reasonable approaches to fair use. Fair Use is the right, in some circumstances, to quote copyrighted material without asking permission or paying for it. It is a crucial feature of copyright law. In fact, it is what keeps copyright from being censorship. You can invoke fair use when the value to the public of what you are saying outweighs the cost to the private owner of the copyright.

Click here to download this useful handbook, written by veteran filmmakers to help other filmmakers understand some instances where using copyrighted material without clearance is considered fair use.


Submit Your Films To Sundance Film Festival


Sundance festival will take place from the 15th - 25th January 2009. All films must be entered online via the festival website or withoutabox.

Deadlines are as follows:

Early submission deadline:
U.S. & international short films - Monday, August 18th, 2008 - $35 entry fee
U.S. & international feature films & documentaries - Monday, August 18th, 2008 - $45 entry fee

Official submission deadline:
U.S. & international short films - Friday, September 5th, 2008 - $50 entry fee
U.S. & international feature films & documentaries - Monday, September 8th, 2008 - $75 entry fee

Late submission deadline:
U.S. & international short films - Friday, September 19th, 2008 - $75 entry fee
U.S. & international feature films & documentaries - Monday, September 22nd, 2008 - $100 entry fee

Please note that the above dates are not postmark deadlines-- they are the dates by which your film must be received in the festival office.

To find out more, visit the Sundance website here