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.

30 June 2009

Invitation to Producers - Short Documentary Commissioned from Africa by Netherlands Broadcaster

Dear DFA Member, the following letter was received via a Dutch contact, and may be of interest to you.

It applies to African short documentary production, and is for commissioned short documentary pieces b a Netherlands Based broadcaster!

You can find the latest Guidelines for this program and submission here, and are encouraged to read them carefully.

The latest set of themes suggested by the TV Show can be seen below and here.

Note: DFA has not directly confirmed the legitimacy of this offer, and asks members to use common sense when dealing with any channel they have not dealt with before.


Dear Potential Correspondent,

Thank you for showing interest in participating in the Metropolis TV program. The weekly television show (25 minutes long) is scheduled to appear on NED3, one of three Dutch public channels. The target audience for Metropolis TV is 'youthful' between 17 and 50 years old. It’s a late night show.

We believe that the Metropolis TV program is a great opportunity to show our young television audience in The Netherlands some mini-documentaries about other cultures (and their subcultures). Every television broadcast will be built around a certain topic.
What’s our main interest? To give some insight in the everyday life of various people in the world. The Metropolis TV program wants to highlight the differences and similarities between countries and cultures, without being too academic, filmed from a documentary point of view. We’re not looking for perspectives and comments by so called specialists (scientists, sociologists, etcetera). Instead, we would like to focus on the ‘smaller stories’, the details that provide insight in the bigger issues. It’s all about citizens, their daily lives and their thoughts on bigger and smaller topics. All filmed in a documentary fashion, and always from a personal point of view. Each episode of the show will consist of 7-8 small documentaries from varies parts of the world, which will be 3-5 minutes each.
Style and pace
Because of length of the documentary (3 – 5 minutes) it is important to quickly embark upon the essence in all the shot’s and interviews. Humor and satire might be a tool to get the messages across to our youthful audience, but is by no means a necessity. The shape of a bottle of cola is known all around the world. But things that might be normal in your country and culture might stun a West-European audience. Bear in mind that the audience is Western European.


If you want to extend your work to making television mini documentaries and make some good money doing it:
We are in the continuing selection procedure to find African correspondents to cover themes (subjects) we offer them. The criteria we use are;
1. The storyline you send in on a theme (subject)
2. and we do want to see at least one example video that you have made before. Please enable us to see a short video you made either online or by post DHL or Fedex.
We have created a way for the video's to be sent via the YouSendIt upload service. With
YouSendIt you can send large files (max 2 GB) over the internet. Go to and upload your videos. Maximum file size is 2GB
so you probably have to compress your video item before sending it.
Alternatively you can use the YouSendIt Express standalone application for PC or Mac
( and obtain an account from us (send an
email to to upload your files and use as the
recipients address. This program has a feature which will prevent interruptions in file transfer and might save you some valuable time, especially on flaky connections.

Our fedexnumber is: Vpro metropolis 413623480
Our DHL account number is: 960958461

VPRO Metropolis
t.a.v. Alaye van Empel - Aderemi
Sumatralaan 49
1217 Gb Hilversum
The Netherlands

These are all the suggested themes (subjects) for the comming episodes. The sooner we get a nice short storyline on the theme, the sooner you might get the contract to make the story. Please do consider the style we are looking for expressed in the attached documents.

There is still a lot of room for new proposals, no contracts have been handed out yet. Plenty opportunity for you to get a contract. Be sure not just to give a report of the current situation in your country but let me know how you would want to cover the subject.

Please send me your storylines on these new topics as soonest.
Hoping for good, original and strong storylines

Having a baby
Here we look for stories that demonstrate what it means to have a child in your country. How important is it in your country to have children, how far do parents go to get children, do people have preference for a boy or a girl?
How many children should one have and what is the role of the man and the woman?

Against the system
In every country, there are some who don't want to be a part of society. They take the (deliberate) step to isolate themselves physically or mentally from the masses, the mainstream ideology or political arena. Artists, animal activists, lone thinkers, anarchists... people who want to build their own world and have very strong opinions about the way society functions. Can you find us a surprising non-conformist in your country?

Fathers and Sons
An episode in which we focus on the relationship between fathers and sons.
We're looking for personal stories of sons who have followed their fathers'
footsteps. And about sons who have gone in an entirely different direction than their fathers (a butchers son who's become a vegetarian spokesman, or son who's very right wing with a leftist father, etcetera etcetera). What is expected of a son in your community? How normal is it that a son follows his fathers footsteps? Do you know an interesting father and son story?

News Hunters
Every country has them: the star journalists, crime reporters, and others, hunting for news. In this episode, we want to find out what it's like to be a journalist in your country. And through following the reporter find out about the bigger stories and issues in your country. See for instance this contribution from correspondent Stef in Nicaragua on Calulo, the radio reporter who's hunting for car crash victims:
Calulo is an example of a very disturbing form of journalism, and we would like to see what sort of journalists your country has and if you can think of a character that would be interesting to follow around in his/her job. The main
thing: it has to be an interesting character, and we have to go out to where the stories are with him/her. No newsrooms, but out on the job, hunting for news.

Justice will be done
In this episode we look for different ways of doing justice. Each country has its own law system that prescibes which punishment one deserves for a certain violation of the law. Who decides upon this, how does the law system work and who enforces the law? Please tell us your stories that demonstrate how people in your country think about justice and punishment. (An example:
The 31-year-old Iranian is demanding the ancient punishment of "an eye for an eye," and, in accordance with Islamic law, she wants to blind the man who blinded her.
ml) Or send us stories on different kinds of punishment.

Catholics go to Lourdes, Muslims go on the hadj to Mecca, and Elvis-fans travel to Memphis, Tennessee. See for instance this contribution from
In this episode, we want to visit all different kinds of 'holy' places, with the people that visit them. Can you think of an interesting pilgrim and pilgrimage?
Surprise us!

Problem Quarters
Every city has its own worst quarters. Where crime is high, where most people don't want to live, where sometimes the police is afraid of going in at night. In the Netherlands a campaign was launched recently to clean up and improve the 40 worst neighborhoods. By building more expensive housing, by investing in the police force and subsidizing all kinds of small activities, such as a biking course for immigrants wives.
But of course, Hollands worst neighborhoods are paradise compared with some other parts of the world. We want to find out what life is like in the worst parts of your city. And how your city deals with difficult neighborhoods.
For instance, in Rio de Janeiro a wall was built right around one of the worst neighborhoods, so that the people there can't get out easily. In other slums, the army is sent in to 'solve' problems. How's this in your city and can you think of a personal angle to this story? How harsh or how soft is the approach towards these quarters and the people that live there?

The impact of tourism
In this episode, we want to find out what kind of tourism takes place in your country and how it affects the culture, environment, and social relations where tourism is big business. We'd like to receive proposals on different sides of this story:
- What's are some of the most unexpected / unknown forms of tourism in your country? (For instance, in Burkina Faso, every year Westerners travel there to fulfill their dream of shooting a lion)
- What's the dark side of tourism in your country? How does it affect the country? (and what kind of people would you propose to follow?)
- What's the upside of tourism in your country? Sometimes, tourism has a great effect on a country. We'd like to hear about that side too. (here too, please tell us what kind of people you'd want to follow)

Development Aid
Nowadays, development aid is a multibillion industry. Entire countries have become dependant on the money from other countries. We would like to hear about cases in your country, from either the giving side or the receiving end. Some stories that we are interested in at first sight (and please feed us with other options):
- How do people in Africa feel about Western volunteers?
- Do you know projects that are still active but have no effect at all? How?
- Do you know development projects that have a second intention, next to helping people? For instance spreading a faith? Or other ideas?
- If you live in a country that receives help, what kind of results has development aid had on your country?

Crookes and thieves (and how to fight them) From small time crooks to 'super gangstas', we're looking for stories about people who by stealing, cheating or dealing, break the law to make their money. What are their tricks, what's their view on life, who do they fear?
Also, if you have an interesting story to tell on how criminals are fought in your city let us know as we're considering to include both sides of the medal in this episode. Here's one example:

Women worldwide
In this episode we want to discover what it's like to be a woman in various cultures around the globe. We look for stories that show the position of women in your society. Women who have found a clever way to take advantage of their position as 'underdogs'; examples of women dominating men; or women that break with the local conventions of what women are supposed to do or think. Of course, feel free to suggest any story that you think involves an unexpected 'feminine' touch. An example from Iran:

Giving birth
Stories on all kinds of issues connected to birth: how and where do women give birth, what are the rituals connected to this, what is the role of men?
And is the birth of a new human being something special or business as usual, or is it celebrated extensively?
Dear regards,

Dear regards,

Alaye van Empel - Aderemi
Tel: 0031 35 6712688 / mob 0031 6439072

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