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.

22 May 2009


The TVIEC Protest Action Group is getting down to the logistics of the TV CRISIS MARCH. The proposed details are as follows:
•        Date: Thursday 4th June 2009
•        10.30: Gather at Atlas Studios for demo
•        12.00: March to SABC
•        13.00: Meet at SABC and march around building
•        13.45: Hand over memorandum 
In order to attain the necessary permits, we need to submit the names of marshals who will help keep some order at the protest action. Marshals will need to meet on the morning of the march for instructions and will and wear T-shirts indicating their marshal status. So, we are calling for volunteers from your companies. Please can we have names as a matter of urgency. No marshals, no demo.
Mo Faya!
The TVIEC Protest Action Group

Posted by Pascal

"My Town" Short Doc Competition Entry Forms Live

The DFA's "My Town" call for 3 minute short films is now open for entries. 

A call for entries can be seen at the blog here.

Entry form can be downloaded in Word format here and as a PDF here.

Entries must reach the DFA in Cape Town by 14h00 on the 12th of June.


The winning filmmaker will receive R15, 000 worth of equipment rental at any office of Media Film Service (excluding insurance which must be paid for by the filmmaker), a LaCie Hard Disk Triple Design by Neil Poulton 1Tb, courtesy of DDS and the Visual Impact Group and a R2, 500 cash prize from the Documentary Filmmakers’ Association.

The runner-up will receive a G Tech GDriveQ 500GB Hard Drive, courtesy of SyntechSA and the Visual Impact Group.

All filmmakers who enter a film will receive a year’s free membership to the Documentary Filmmakers Association (July 2009 – June 2010).

This competition is brought to you by the DFA and Encounters Film Festival, and prizes are sponsored by:

Posted by 

21 May 2009

FILM FEST: Harvest Moon now accepting entries

MUNCIE -- The third annual Harvest Moon Film Festival, which will take place Nov. 12-14 in Downtown Muncie, is now accepting film submissions.

The Harvest Moon Film Festival awards prizes in the areas of feature length, short film, documentary and student film. The top film receives a $3,000 grand prize and additional prizes are awarded in each category. Selected filmmakers will be spotlighted throughout the weekend.

Harvest Moon Film Festival is looking for documentaries, short films, feature length films and student films in any genre. Accepted films will be shown during the festival. Films can be submitted at through Withoutabox, an Amazon affiliate, or through a paper submission form located on the Web site. For submission guidelines, fees and additional information, go to the Web site. Selected films will be announced in September.

Film submissions can also be submitted in person to the Harvest Moon Film Festival office at Cornerstone Center for the Arts, 520 E. Main St.

Additional events the weekend of Nov. 12-14 will include numerous film screenings at multiple locations, the gala dinner and awards ceremony, education seminar, which presents an opportunity to learn about filmmaking through interaction with filmmakers and film professors, and filmmaker question-and-answer time with the community.

Keep an eye on for complete festival details.

For more information: Tompkins at 281-9503 ext. 23 or e-mail at rtompkins@

Posted by Pascal

Future of Encounters in jeopardy

This is very worrying for all documentary filmmakers. We need to show solidarity. If you can help in any way please do so.

Press Release

Thu, 20 May 2009

Encounters Documentary Festival in crisis

The future of South Africa’s premier documentary festival, Encounters Documentary Festival, hangs in the balance since its principal sponsor, the SABC, withdrew its financial support for the 2009 edition of the festival on Tuesday 19 May. This is due to the SABC's new austerity measures.

Encounters is now faced with the task of raising sufficient funds in the coming week if it is to take place as planned. The dates of the 2009 edition are 2 - 19 July in Cape Town. Encounters has already cancelled its Johannesburg festival event as the Gauteng Film Commission withdrew its financial support.

"We are appealing to individuals, government and the corporate sector to come forward to help save the festival. We now have one week to solve our funding crisis", says Festival Director Mandisa Zitha.

The festival, now in its 11th year, showcases South African and International talent and promotes the growth of the documentary industry. Encounters has screened hundreds of documentaries to an audience of over 80,000 people. It has commissioned over 40 documentaries and runs access programmes, out reach programmes, schools programmes, workshops, masterclasses and seminars.

Encounters is an important event on the annual film and festival calendar.

"We hope that we can still receive sufficient support to ensure a successful festival this year. We believe, if we can get through this current crisis we will be able to produce an even stronger 2010 edition" Zitha says.

Anyone who is able to provide financial support to the Festival is urged to contact:

Steven Markovitz
Telephone: 021 4654686
Mobile: 083 2611044

Posted by Pascal

20 May 2009

Press Release - TVIEC to demonstrate against SABC

Dear DFA Friend,

Further to the Stop Press in Screen Africa yesterday the TVIEC has sent out out the following press release this evening.

A follow-up release should appear in the next four days confirming the date for the event, but rumours are it will be around the 4th of June, so keep that date open!

Please forward the below to your industry contacts and friends. Please ALL come to this, if you are paid by SABC this month or not!

You can also find the original release in PDF format here.

PRESS RELEASE – 20.5.2009

TVIEC to demonstrate against SABC

The Television Industry Emergency Coalition (TVIEC) held a meeting in Johannesburg on 18 May at which it was decided to proceed with plans for a demonstration against the current management and administration of the SABC. 

The protest has been provoked by the public broadcaster’s non-payment of millions of Rand to independent producers and the subsequent retrenchments that are occurring throughout the industry. Estimates of approximately R38 million have been made but it is not possible to confirm this amount as the SABC has been unwilling to reveal the extent of the debt. This amount does not take into account money owed for Royalties and Repeat fees which artists, writers and producers have been struggling for years to receive payment for. 

The TVIEC is fighting FOR the SABC – for a transparent, fair and sustainable SABC, which upholds the values of a credible and responsible public broadcaster, respectful of the South African public and its key partner in content supply – the local production sector.

Whilst the demonstration calls have been sparked by the anger over non payment, the TVIEC is convinced that the real issues are much deeper and more significant: unfair terms of trade, unsustainable business relationships with the content creators, unfair rights ownership (IP) and a deep arrogance shown by the heavy handed management style the SABC displays to its most critical partner – the independent production sector. 

Budgets are lower than they were 7 years ago. Price fixing of fees for crew and cast as well as unsustainable production fees have left companies vulnerable and exhausted, while SABC management take home exorbitant salaries and performance bonuses (Some bonuses exceed an entire year’s production fee for a major daily soap) and enjoy first class air travel,  5 star hotel suites and lavish entertainment.

The industry has said NO MORE.

The demonstration is envisaged to take place in early June, Organisers are co-ordinating with the police, production companies and unions before the date is confirmed and will be calling on viewers and soap fans to support their demonstration. 

Organisers have stressed that the campaign will be run in a responsible way, calling for immediate response to the demands for payment, for inclusive participation in the turn around strategy and for interim management to be put in place to restore trust and integrity. 

The Coalition has met repeatedly during the past months with a high level group of SABC executives but has received neither credible feedback nor action on commitments made by the SABC at these meetings. Despite numerous attempts during the past week, the Coalition has received no response from the SABC. The Coalition is particularly dismayed that the CFO (Who is directly responsible for the fiscal management of the SABC - and thus the current non payment) has not bothered to meet with the Coalition.

The TVIEC  is simultaneously attempting to engage with the new Minister of Communications and other government stakeholders to facilitate urgent intervention and alleviation for the industry. The TVIEC is also researching legal options and the possibility of collectively withholding material from the SABC.

The president has called for a new dawn, we hope this applies to the SABC. 

We are ready to work with the Department of Communications and Government to make this a reality.

[539 words body only] 

SASFED SGM Minutes - Approved & Recording

The following was received today from SASFED. DFA is an active member of SASFED, and has three of its members and one of its board on the current SASFED board.

You may have received a copy of the minutes of our SASFED SGM on the 14th of May 2009 via E-Mail. This e-mail invited comment and corrections to the minutes by Monday the 18th of May. Only one correction was received and so today we are happy to publish and make public:

  1. The minutes of the SASFED SGM of Saturday the 9th of May 2009.
  2. A recorded version of the entire meeting as seperate MP3 audio files per "Agenda Item", kindly provided by Digby Young.
The "Agenda Items" of the meeting in Audio Format can herd at:

A reminder of the notice in the e-mail of the 18th of May that the upcoming SASFED AGM is scheduled for Saturday the 20th of June 2009, from 14h00 - 17h00 at the same venues as the SGM in Cape Town and Johannesburg. All are welcome to attend, but votes are restricted to the ONE elected representative from each industry organisation who is a full, approved member organisation. This group of representatives becomes known as "The Committee" and nominates (ASAP) those who will stand to be elected to a new board. While you are electing your industry organisations representative (The Committee)... why not also come up with names of nominees (up to 11). They should not all be from your organisation (in fact only one may be from your organisation), but rather people to trust to be on the board.

Looking forward to a new stronger, more united SASFED!

SOS Update: SABC financial crisis deepens, nominations for the SABC board, SOS research.

This received yesterday from the Save our SABC Campaign (edited by SASFED). 

As I am sure you have all seen the financial crisis at the SABC is deepening. There have been a flurry of articles over the weekend and also yesterday. 

The Mail and Guardian is claiming that the problems lie with Snuki Zikalala's international news empire i.e. Snuki incurred huge costs by setting up news bureaux all over the world to gather news and to comment on international issues from an African perspective. The problem was that material was broadcast on an obscure satellite platform and never had an audience beyond a few thousand. No advertisers were prepared to touch the channel and so there were huge costs and no revenue. 

Jocelyn Newmarch's article in the Weekender points to a number of problems including the fact that the SABC had to give back substantial money to advertisers because they hadn't scheduled the programmes correctly and advertisers were correctly insisting on particular slots. In a follow-up article yesterday in Business Day she points to problems including the SABC's masssive consulting fees, bloated management structures and its buying of inappropriate programming eventually never screened. She points out that in fact advertising revenues have not dipped over the last few months, in fact they have risen overall in comparison to last year. The SABC has been using this as a major excuse for its deficit. She claims that the losses are due to managerial incompetence.

In the meantime independent producers have not been paid. They are owed approximately R35m (Note from SASFED: Latest figures appear larger).Also, staff salary increases have not been paid. These were negotiated as part of a three year agreement. Bemawu is considering taking the SABC to court. CWU is considering taking the SABC to the CCMA. In the meantime the independent producers have been meeting to discuss their options. They met yesterday late afternoon. They will also be meeting with the Department of Communications today. I will keep you updated on all developments. It seems major demonstrations are now be on the cards.

Please see below for some web addresses of relevant articles:

In terms of our discussions around nominations for the Board(removed comment to SOS group).The plan is to hold a working group meeting on either the 25th or 26th of May next week to nail this down. We will keep you all updated. In the meantime I hope you are all strongly encouraging excellent, experienced people to apply for the SABC GCEO position. The deadline for applications is the end of this month. 

Further, SOS is now embarking on its research programme to further strengthen its Civil Society Discussion Paper on the SABC. 

(Additional content removed).

Kate Skinner

Campaign Coordinator - Save our SABC

Remix Culture: Fair Use Is Your Friend - A new video from the AU's Center for Social Media

Dear DFA Friend,

You may recall the work of the American University work with the Documentary Filmmakers Association of South Africa and the Black Filmmakers Network of a few months back. This is an ongoing project the collective teams are forging ahead on towards a "Code of Best Practices" document for our industry in terms of Intellectual Property Usage. 

You may also be aware of the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Online Video (part of the collection of such Codes at last winter. They have now put together a video about the Code. Google provided funds to their partner, Tony Falzone's Fair Use Project at Stanford Law School, and the Center for Social Media provided the creative and professional package and made the film. It's up on YouTube and variety of other sites. It's a great video and we hope to one day do one like it here for our industry!

American University’s Center for Social Media and AU’s Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property, in collaboration with Stanford Law School’s Fair Use Project, are launching a new video explaining how online video creators can make remixes, mashups, and other common online video genres with the knowledge that they are staying within copyright law.

The video, titled Remix Culture: Fair Use Is Your Friend, explains the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Online Video, a first of its kind document—coordinated by AU professors Pat Aufderheide and Peter Jaszi—outlining what constitutes fair use in online video. The code was released July 2008.

“This video lets people know about the code, an essential creative tool, in the natural language of online video. The code protects this emerging zone from censorship and self-censorship,” said Aufderheide, director of the Center for Social Media and a professor in AU’s School of Communication. “Creators, online video providers, and copyright holders will be able to know when copying is stealing and when it’s legal.”

Like the code, the video identifies six kinds of unlicensed uses of copyrighted material that may be considered fair, under certain limitations. They are:

• Commenting or critiquing of copyrighted material

• Use for illustration or example

• Incidental or accidental capture of copyrighted material

• Memorializing or rescuing of an experience or event

• Use to launch a discussion

• Recombining to make a new work, such as a mashup or a remix, whose elements depend on relationships between existing works

For instance, a blogger’s critique of mainstream news is commentary. The fat cat sitting on the couch watching television is an example of incidental capture of copyrighted material. Many variations on the popular online video “Dramatic Chipmunk” may be considered fair use because they recombine existing work to create new meaning. “The fair use doctrine is every bit as relevant in the digital domain as it has been for almost two centuries in the print environment,” said Jaszi, founder of the Program for Information Justice and Intellectual Property and a professor of law in AU’s Washington College of Law. “Here we see again the strong connection between the fair use principle in copyright and the guarantee of freedom of speech in the Constitution.”

Remix Culture: Fair Use Is Your Friend is a collaborative project of the Center for Social Media—a center of AU’s School of Communication—and the Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property—a program of AU’s Washington College of Law—along with Stanford Law School’s Fair Use Project. It was funded by Google.