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.

05 June 2009

Encounters Festival WILL take place

The DFA made a contribution using our membership funds to Encounters, we know you would have wanted us to do so. If you can afford your on contribution still, please do so.

Press Release: 

4th June 2009

11th Encounters South African International Documentary Festival 2009

The Encounters Documentary Festival will take place!! The Encounters team are pleased to announce that the Festival will go ahead as planned, despite the shortfall in funding, from 2 – 19 July at the Nu Metro cinemas, V&A Waterfront. The programme of 40 films includes 15 World Premières, 14 multiple international-award winning films, Q&A sessions with 21 guests and 3 Panel Discussions. In addition there will be two Master Classes. 

Encounters made a public plea for support when it was announced that the SABC would withdraw its support – and many individuals and organisations have since pledged both money and in-kind donations.

The festival’s new financial supporters include Pro Helvetia and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, Jan Vrijman Fund / IDFA, the Africa Centre and many individuals who have joined the ‘Friends of the Festival’ programme including Carrol Boyes, Mfundi Vundla, William Kentridge and others.

“We are grateful for the support shown by the industry, funders and the press. It has added relevance to what we do”, said Festival Director, Mandisa Zitha. 

Encounters is making a last appeal for members of the public to join the Friends of the Festival club. To join Encounters requests a donation of R 1000 or more by 18 June 2009.

In return Encounters will offer Friends Opening Night tickets to the screening of Rewind, directed by Liza Key. The film is about the creation of Philip Miller’s acclaimed cantata - Rewind: A Cantata for Voice, Tape and Testimony. Both Key and Miller will attend the screening. 
In addition Encounters will issue Friends 10 complimentary tickets for Festival screenings.
Friends will be acknowledged on the Encounters website, unless they wish to remain anonymous.

In November 2008 Encounters registered a non-profit Section 21 Company - the Encounters Training and Development Institute 2008/026397/08.

It is governed by a Board of Directors, who are:
- Kgomotso Matsunyane – Television Producer (TOM Pictures)
- - Dr Susan Levine – Anthropologist (UCT)
- - Advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza SC – Chairman, AVUSA and Barloworld Limited 
- - Professor Ciraj Rassool – Historian (UCT and UWC) 
- - Mandisa Zitha – Festival Director, Encounters
- - Nodi Murphy – Co-Founder, Encounters
- - Steven Markovitz – Co-Founder, Encounters

In line with the requirements for a Section 21, the Encounters Training and Development Institute is subject to an annual audit. 

The bank account details for all donations is:
Gardens Cape Town
Branch Code: 10 100 900
Account Name: Encounters Training & Development Institute
Acc No.: 1010 113518 (Current Account)

So that we may track donations, Friends are requested to send proof of deposit by email or fax to: 
021 461 69 64

Encounters will require an email address and telephone number in order to send Friends their Opening Night invitations and complimentary tickets.

Thank you in advance for your support. For any queries contact Irmgard Schreiber on

The Festival is sponsored and supported by the National Film and Video Foundation, Cape Film Commission, Jan Vrijman Fund/ IDFA, Pro Helvetia and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation SDC, Africa Centre, The Times, Nu Metro, Tempest, French Embassy, High Commission of Canada, British Council, Business Arts South Africa, Exclusive Books, Goodman Gallery and Cape Town TV.

11th Encounters South African International Documentary
2-19 July
V&A Waterfront Nu Metro, Cape Town

My Town Entries can be Dropped in Melville Johannesburg

Entries for the MY TOWN short doc competition can be dropped at Underdog's offices in Melville Johannesburg if you can't send them in time to Cape Town. 
Address is: 92, 3rd Ave, Melville (just off 7th Street).

The deadline for delivery in Johannesburg however is: 16h00 on Thursday the 11th of June 2009. 

This to allow us to send them all in one overnight courier for you to Cape Town.

SABC Protest Video Cape Town

Miki Redelinghuys - Co-Chair of the DFA and with Plexus Films Cape Town and other filmmakers worked all night to produce a short video of what the protest action in Cape Town was like yesterday.

Thanks to Miki Redelinghuys, Tim Wege, Karen Landsberg and Wendy Hardie for making this happen!

A similar video for Johannesburg is still in production and will follow as soon as it is ready.



I would like to thank all of you who made the demonstration today such a huge success. I look forward to the steering committee meeting on Monday to determine how to move forward. I urge all of us to keep the unity tight – no matter what anyone says – we are united and stronger as such. WE MUST TRUST EACH OTHER, even when there is doubt.

I want to say personally for me this demonstration and ongoing effort is as much about our industry fighting for fair trade and sustainable jobs and companies as it is about paying deep respect to the millions of South Africans who watch SABC every day. People like you and me who come home (if they are fortunate enough to have one) after a hard day working (or looking for work, learning, playing) and find comfort by watching the programmes that we all participate in creating. We educate, we inform, we entertain, we inspire, we create dialogue – most importantly we keep our emerging common South African identity and dream alive and fluid. Let us never forget that we have a great privilege and responsibility by the faith viewers place in us.

When we fight for better pay for a writer it is not just about them having a better car or home, it is about them having the time to not grab every writing job that might come up, but use their time to mould scenes and words that really capture a mood, view, reality. Or  when an actor is hired that he/she is not worrying that they will not have work again for months. When a director or producer develop a project that  they can give it the care and consideration it needs to make it the very best it can be. That crew do not have to work 16 hour days for ever reducing pay. And so on.

I really believe together we can change the future of our industry.


Desiree Markgraaff


Protest Pics Cape Town

A few pics from the Cape Town Protest!

Click pic for a higher QUALITY VERSION.

Media are free to use these pics. 

Image captions are file names.

All pics below are by Nicky Newman.

All pics below by Karen Landsberg.

Protest Pics JHB

A few pics from the Johannesburg Protest!


Media are free to use these pics. All pics by Underdog Productions.

Image captions are file names.

TVIEC MEMORANDUM as presented to SABC 04 Jan 09

The following Manifesto was just handed to the SABC simultaneously in Cape Town and Johannesburg at a mass action arranged by the TVIEC.

For a PDF Version of the Memorandum can be downloaded here.
For an MS Word version can be downloaded here.



The Television Industry Emergency Coalition which is made up of the IPO (Independent producer organisation), SASFED (South African Screen federation), TPA (The producers alliance), AC (The actors coalition), DFA (Documentary filmmakers association, CWUSA (Creative workers union) is calling for a transparent, fair, responsible and sustainable SABC that upholds the values of our democracy.

The independent production sector faces a crisis resulting from the SABC not fulfilling its existing contractual obligations. The SABC owes millions of rands to companies and individuals which has resulted in job losses, companies teetering on closing down and extreme financial insecurity. We believe the SABC has been disrespectful and reckless in its dealing with our industry.

We want an SABC that respectfully engages the South African public, and its key partner in content supply - the local production sector, which includes writers, directors, actors, technicians, musicians, producers and suppliers of equipment and services.

We are committed to building a sustainable and responsible production sector that is able to meet the demands and needs of our democracy and economy, and offer sustainable employment in line with the objectives of our government. 

Our sector has huge capacity for job creation and we are committed to growing and developing skills.

Our industry has paid a heavy price for the management and financial crisis at the SABC which has lead to company closures, retrenchments and job losses.

We have lost faith in the current board and executive management of the SABC.

We believe that the independence, integrity and sustainability of  the SABC has been severely damaged by both the current and previous SABC administration. 

Both the SABC and our sector need to be protected from further abuse and mismanagement.

This current crisis has been long in coming. It is deep and structural and must be addressed with urgency.

  • The current board and the Chairperson of the board to step down so as to pave the way for a new independent board which is legally constituted without political interference to be put in place. The current impasse has been extremely damaging to public broadcasting and the entire industry.
  • The commitment to a payment plan for outstanding debt to the independent production sector. In addition, we call for a transparent system in which the outstanding "contractual obligations" which have been held up by the SABC's own cumbersome bureaucracy are dealt with timeously.
  • The appointment of executive management who can provide skilled, effective and enlightened leadership of the organisation.
  • A structural overhaul of the SABC– with a broad review of policy and management. The appointment of two successive political boards has eroded the core functioning of the organisation and has distorted the management of it.
  • A complete review of the terms of trade with the independent production sector. The past 5 years has seen incrementally prejudicial contracts in which independent producers have been forced to take all the risks without any autonomy. Producers have been reduced to quasi-employees of the organisation yet with none of the security or benefits.
  • An end to the excessive bureaucracy that has left both the SABC and independent production sector crippled.
  • An immediate stop to the exploitative practices of the SABC with regards local content including price- fixing, micromanagement, editorial abuse by commissioning editors, and any form of blacklisting or bullying.
  • An end to the shameful practice of price-fixing on actors and presenter’s fees, and determining who may or may not work.
  • An end to the reluctant payment and non-payment of contractual repeat fees for actors, writers, musicians and producers.
  • An end to the dishonourable and unfair practice of the SABC claiming ownership of intellectual property rights. This practice has resulted in the independent production sector being unable to build sustainable stable trade. Writers, directors, actors and producers work a life time creating content and never owning a thing they create. Intellectual property should belong to its creators and not to a public corporation. This is real citizen empowerment.
  • An immediate suspension of the current SABC executive's powers to determine any reduction in local content or the fees associated therewith.  The independent industry is already on its knees and cannot bear the brunt of the SABC’s financial crisis.
  • An external review of SABC's compliance with ICASA regulations and license conditions. In addition, we are concerned that ICASA’s role as the regulator of the sector as a whole and as licensor of the SABC will be undermined unless ICASA urgently intervene in the crisis. And specifically that it should hold a public hearing before Council on the SABC’s performance in relation to its licence conditions including fidicuary duties, payment of suppliers, local content obligations, terms of trade, etc.
  • A real commitment to the process of commissioning programming in regions other than Johannesburg.
  • A public enquiry into the processes and procedures which have reduced the SABC to its current crisis. This enquiry should look into the ideal of public broadcasting and the reason for its failings. This would enable the public and government to ensure that this does not happen again. 
  • A mandatory provision for industry representation on the SABC board.
  • A renewed commitment to the ideals of public broadcasting and an independent, sustainable and enlightened public broadcaster which operates free from political interference and belongs to South Africa and all who live here.

In closing:

We the TVIEC are committed to building a vibrant and productive independent production sector.

We commit our support to President Zuma’s call to the nation to continue working to create a united cohesive society out of our fragmented past. To continue promoting unity in diversity and to develop a shared value system based on the spirit of community solidarity and a caring society. 

We are committed to become active citizens in the renewal of our country and within our sector to work together, to help where we can to speed up its economic growth and sustainability and to create decent work and sustainable livelihoods for all in our industry.

The TVIEC thanks the following organsations for their ongoing support.

Communication Workers Union
Young Communist League of South Africa
SOS (Save or SABC)

SAFTAS call for Entry Open

Dear DFA member,
In case you don't know yet that the 4th South African Film and Television Awards (SAFTA's) call for entries are now open. There are is more coverage for Documentary than before. For more click here.

01 June 2009

TVIEC Protest March - Cape Town & Johannesburg - All the info in one place.

Date: Thursday 4th June 2009
  • 10.30: Joburg - Gather at Atlas Studios in Milpark for rally
  • 12.00: Cape Town - Gather in park in front of SABC building, 209 Beach rd Seapoint
  • 12.00: Joburg - March to SABC
  • 13.00: Joburg and Cape Town - march and picket at SABC
  • 13.45: Joburg - Hand over memorandum



The TVIEC is fighting FOR the SABC – for a transparent, fair and sustainable SABC that 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 manifested in the heavy handed management style the SABC displays.

Budgets are lower than they were seven years ago. Price fixing of fees for crew and cast and unsustainable production fees have left companies vulnerable and exhausted, while SABC management take home exorbitant fees 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! A protest date has now been set for 4 June 2009. A TVIEC protest committee is coordinating participation by a broad spectrum of production companies, filmmakers, industry organisations, unions, friends of the industry, soapie stars, actors, technicians and musicians. There is a call for the public to be involved

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 entire television industry is reeling because of the SABC’s monetary and management crisis – writers, producers, actors, crew and all related service providers. The TVIEC is taking action in the form of a protest march in Johannesburg and Cape Town. In order for us to make a significant impact, we will be calling on the general public as well as high profile individuals to join the protest – especially the actors, presenters and musicians who star in our productions. The public relate to the crisis particularly when they see that their favourite stars and shows are affected and impacted by the manner in which the SABC is handling the situation.

What can you do to make the protest a success?

Spread the word. Forward this mail to everyone you know who might want to join in the protest.
Dress in red. Turn up at the protest wearing red to signify the red tape that is strangling our industry.
Make bright, loud, witty banners and placards. Some of the slogans we are putting out there include: We Can’t Survive On Air; Save Our Shows; South Africa Is Watching You; Pay Up: It’s The Right Thing To Do; Roll Tape, Not Red Tape; Programs, Not Perks etcetera. Use your imagination and wit and tell the SABC what you think. You can also visit the DFA blog and download posters designed for the march here.
4. Go to Facebook and search for TV Crisis. You will find our event there. Invite everyone you know to the event. (
Send an SMS. We will be calling on South Africa to send an SMS that tells the SABC what people think of the current crisis. We will collate these comments and deliver them to the powers that be as well as the media. The number to send to: 31970. Your SMS must start with the word TV. SMS’s are charged at 50 cents.
Contribute to logistics. We are still asking for people to volunteer to serve as marshals at the protest. We are also still in need of loud hailers and of luminous bibs for marshals to wear. If you know of any suppliers who can donate these things for the protest, get in touch with them.


The action will be a peaceful protest and will be controlled by marshals. It is important to stress that we are adopting a positive tone. 
The TVIEC is fighting FOR the SABC – for a transparent, fair and sustainable SABC that 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, their casts and crews.

This letter is written on behalf of the TVIEC (Television Industry Emergency Coalition) which consists of: IPO (Independent Producers Organisation), SASFED (South African Screen Federation), TPA (The Producers Alliance), DFA (Documentary Filmmakers Association), WGSA (Writers Guild of South Africa) as well as the CWU (Creative Workers Union). 

Industry March - Unofficial Posters & Banners

Dear DFA Member,

In time for your preparations for the March, we have pleasure in providing some HIGH QUALITY A2 Artwork... you can just print these out as you wish and you have a READY TO GO poster or banner for the protests... now how is that for service? These are unofficial posters for you to use, most are courtesy of Underdog Productions.

Right click an image below, and go "Save Link As" to save a high quality Print Ready PDF of that poster.


SASFED and the DFA do not necessary endorse any of the slogans presented here.

TVIEC has held back the four best poster designs! We hope they will release them to use soon.

Also, SASFED has its own 3METER banner already made up for the Johannesburg demonstration. DFA members are encouraged to join us holding the banner!