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.

16 May 2009

TV Emergency Coalition -URGENT meeting re SABC payment crisis (this Monday 4pm) & possible industry demonstration (this Thursday!)

The coalition task group URGENTLY requests you attend a meeting regards the SABC Payment Crisis at ATLAS studios at 4PM on MONDAY 18th May. DFA would like to suggest Cape Town set up a similar meeting simultaneously and communicate with JHB on their feelings.
There has been an overwhelming request by members of the emergency coalition to hold a demonstration to seek urgent government intervention regards the ongoing financial crisis at the SABC.
The assurance given to the industry on the 12th of April by SABC that they can meet their financial obligations has not been forthcoming and many production companies have now found themselves laying off people and seriously considering closing down. The SABC has stopped responding to the coalition and individual requests for an update. It has come to the coalition’s attention that there is close to R 40 million outstanding payments – they have not been able to confirm this with the SABC who are not responding.
The date proposed for the demonstration is Thursday  21st May. It is very important that the broader industry discuss process, protocol and procedure so that we are focused and have a common agreed aim, message and desired outcome.

The coalition task group

DFA Short Doc Competition - My Town - Call for Entries

Call for 3 minute mini-documentary


The town we come from/live in shapes who we are. We occupy its space, it occupies us. In this short 3 minute documentary competition, filmmakers, aspirant filmmakers, artists and students are invited to make a short 3 minute documentary titled “My Town”. You can interpret this brief any way you like – revisit your birthplace, explore your suburb or township and tell your story.

The 8 best films will be chosen by a selection panel appointed by the Documentary Filmmakers Association (DFA). These 8 films will screen at the Waterfront Nu Metro cinema as part of the Encounters documentary festival (as pre- main feature shorts). The 11th Encounters South African International Documentary Festival will be held in Cape Town from the 2nd to the 19th July 2009.  One film will be selected as an overall winner by a panel of judges comprising of film as well as arts and broadcast practitioners. The winner will be announced at a function during the Encounters Documentary Festival in Cape Town.

Prizes still to be announced, so watch this SPACE! 

Films will be produced at own expense. The films produced remain the property of the filmmakers. The DFA will endeavor to negotiate broadcast and festival screenings with the filmmakers’ permission. Selected Filmmakers will benefit from on-screen credits and general media exposure through the project. All filmmakers who enter a film will receive a year’s free membership to the Documentary Filmmakers Association (July 2009 – June 2010). 

Delivery and Deadline:
Deliver 3 x copies of your film on DVD (DVD’s must be high quality and viewable on home dvd players)

Films must be delivered by 14:00 on 12 June 2009

Deliver to: 
7 Glynnville Terrace
Gardens, Cape Town, 8001
For Attention: THERESA MEYER

All films delivered must be accompanied with a signed MY TOWN competition entry form, which will be available for downloaded from our website. Entry form can be downloaded in Word format here and as a PDF here.

For more information, please mail Miki Redelinghuys on

5 days skills development course - Distribution & Marketing for Industry Professionals

Bigfish and GFC presents a 5 days skills development course funded by GFC on:

Distribution & Marketing for Industry Professionals

19-25 June and facilitated by Dan Jawitz.

See a flyer and details here.

Statement regarding Transnet freight restrictions on filming

The following release was received yesterday with regard to filing of trains and on railway tracks nationally. Gauteng based applications should go via the GFO -


15 May 2009

Transnet Freight Rail confirms restrictions on filming

Transnet Freight Rail has confirmed that it has placed restrictions on all filming on its railway tracks due to safety reasons. The filming of trains will only be allowed if they don’t adversely interfere with the company’s day to day operations. Please take note that Transnet Freight Rail is not responsible for train stations as the company does not operate passenger services. Such requests have to be forwarded to the relevant passenger operating services.

These restrictions are applicable country wide.

The Gauteng Film Commission requests that all Transnet Freight Rail and Metrorail filming applications applicable for Gauteng are submitted via the GFC offices in order to ensure an efficient application process.

For assistance with all permit applications please contact Seitiso Mogoshane on +27 (0)11 833 0409 or +27 (0) 83 608 4324 or via email

For more information, please contact:
Jacques Stoltz, Senior Marketing Manager: Gauteng Film Commission on +27 (0) 11 833 0409 or +27 (0) 83 455 9688 or        
Issued on behalf of the GFC by Kagiso TV & Communications
Contact: Edward Mahlasela ( on
 +27 (0) 11 544 1900 or +27 (0)73 465 5001


SOS Coalition: The new Cabinet / Minister of Communications

As you are probably all aware the new Minister of Communications is General Siphiwe Nyanda, ex-head of the South African National Defence Force. The Deputy Minister of Communications is Dina Pule. She was an MEC in Mpumalanga. She held the Agriculture and the Culture, Sport and Recreation portfolios.
SOS (Save our SABC - Kate Skinner) will be setting up meetings with the new Minister and Deputy Minister as soon as possible. Kate will keep us updated on that. Also, apparently we will know in the next days who the head of the Communications Portfolio Committee is. Will also keep you updated on that.
You can read the official statement of the 10th of May by President Jacob Zuma on the Appointment of the New Cabinet here.

You can also read a fascinating story on ITWEB entitled: Ministers who impact on the ICT sector here

Submissions - ICASA's Digital Terrestrial Television Regulations

Dear DFA Member, we thought it would be of your interest to have access to the following final submissions if you wish to review them. The fiollowing were submitted to ICASA by the respective bodies, and made available to us by SOS on the 7th of May 2009.

SOS's submission on Digital Terrestrial Television Regulations
Media Monitoring Africa's submission on Digital Terrestrial Television Regulations
The Independent Producers Organisation's submission on Digital Terrestrial Television Regulations
Cape TV's submission on Digital Terrestrial Television Regulation.

DFA and SASFED did not make a direct submission on the final round of submissions to ICASA on this but largeley support our partners positions.

Media Statement - 28 April 2009 - SABC Announces sweeping changes to ensure stability

The following media statement was put out on the 28th of April 2009 by the SABC. It's interesting to note there have already been updates to this. It seems the SABC's press releases change faster than we can get them to you!

Johannesburg, 28 April 2009- The SABC Board today announced that the contract of the Head of News and Current Affairs, Dr Snuki Zikalala, will not be renewed when it expires at the end of the month. This decision follows a special board meeting held in Johannesburg on Saturday.

Kanyi Mkonza, Chairperson of the SABC Board, who announced several changes to bring about stability to the organisation, said "The Board acknowledges the leadership and vision provided by Dr Zikalala in establishing SABC News as an international brand. He surfed through difficult waters and yet remained committed to building SABC News. He was the overall leader of our news team during the last two election periods. His sterling contribution has, once again, been given a stamp of approval by Media Monitoring Africa which hailed our election coverage for its fair and balanced reporting."

The Board, however, felt that it was time to hand over the baton to someone who can bring fresh ideas to the broadcaster. Veteran journalist, Mr. Phil Molefe, will act as Head of News and Current Affairs with effect from 1 May 2009 whilst the board embarks on a thorough search for Dr Zikalala' s replacement. The Board will appoint someone with relevant skill and expertise to take our complex news operation forward.

Some of the changes within the news division include the closure of, at least, three news bureaus. These are Jamaica, Kinshasa and reducing the US bureaus to two. "We are encouraged by the decision to reduce the bureaus; however, we continue to urge management to take effective steps to increase efficiencies across the entire news-value chain, including the regions and the remaining foreign operations" Mr. Bheki Khumalo, Chairperson of the News Committee said.

The Board also decided to review the appointment of the COO and accordingly referred the matter back to the Acting Minister of Communications, Dr Manto Tshabalala-Msimang. This is done in order to ensure that the Minister applies her mind to the original recommendation of the previous board. The Board believes that this will assist in finalizing the appointment of the COO for the SABC - a position that has been vacant since 2007. In the meantime, the Board will continue its search for a suitable candidate for the Group Chief Executive Officer with the advert extended till end of May.

In order to continue with the process of improving efficiencies within the corporation, the Board has taken a decision to reduce the committees of the board to six. These will be able to accommodate all business units and activities of the organization. These committees include the legislated content committees such as: Public Broadcasting Services and News; Public Commercial Services; Audit and Risk; Finance, Investment and Procurement; Governance, Nominations and Remuneration as well as Group Executive Committee (at an operational level). The Board also established the Ad Hoc Committee on the FIFA 2010 World Cup. This will be buttressed by an additional committee to give more focus to the Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) issues.

The Board remains concerned about the state of finances of the corporation. It will work around the clock to ensure that the Turnaround Strategy announced a few weeks ago bears some fruit. Accordingly, the board received a briefing from the CFO, Mr. Rob Nicholson, about the state of finances of the organisation. "We continue to monitor this on an ongoing basis with a view to returning the organisation to a healthy financial position," Ms. Mkonza said.

The Board took exception and condemned unreservedly the actions of some SABC members who unjustifiably leak information about the organisation to the media. The Sunday Independent, in particular, has become a convenient outlet for these elements, though it is fully within its rights to publish what it wishes, within the law.

We have requested internal audit to conduct a thorough investigation and even to refer these misdemeanors on the part of SABC members to relevant law enforcement authorities. These leaks, indulged in recklessly and often feeding false material, damage the reputation of individuals as well as that of the SABC. The leaks run counter to the collegiate and collective spirit of an organisation such as the SABC, and endanger stability.

It should be noted that the Board is determined to bring fundamental stability to the organisation. "The Board believes that the bold steps we have announced today marks the initial steps of the long and arduous journey towards establishing a stable public broadcaster of the highest quality to serve our country's hard earned democracy", Mkonza concluded.


Issued By: Group Communications on behalf of the Board of the SABC

Support the Call for a Comprehensive National Broadband Strategy for South Africa

The following information was received from SANGONeT on the 20th of April 09 to inform us about a very significant initiative and request our further support in this regard. DFA Board Member Pascal attended the first meeting of this initiative as reported on it here.

The South African National Broadband Forum is an initiative of four organisations (Association for Progressive Communications, SANGONeT, Shuttleworth Foundation and South Africa Connect) which share the goal of cheaper and affordable Internet access for South Africa.

The Forum invites everyone who believes that affordable broadband access is a national priority to express their support for the development and implementation of a comprehensive National Broadband Strategy for South Africa. A draft framework has been developed with input from multiple stakeholders at a workshop held on 24 March 2009 (see DFA report here) in Johannesburg. We believe that this framework can serve as a basis for building consensus on a comprehensive national broadband strategy.

We will present the framework to the new government elected on 22 April 2009 and propose that it be used as a basis for building consensus between all stakeholders on a comprehensive national broadband strategy for South Africa.

Please read and endorse the full framework at -

I would also like to request that you encourage other civil society organisations and development stakeholders in your networks to endorse the framework.

Your support would be much appreciated.

Best wishes

David Barnard
Executive Director
Southern African NGO Network (SANGONeT)