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.

23 September 2009

Welcome to the 4th Ethiopian International Film Festival (EIFF)!

The 4th Ethiopian International Film Festival (EIFF) will be held from 23-29 November 2009 at National Theatre, Addis Ababa City Hall, Italian Culture Institute and Imperial Hotel under the theme LOST AND FOUND.

A festival of world cinema with African films at its city!

The festival will continue its special focus on African cinema which is so rarely seen in Ethiopia, while making a point of actively seeking out the nascent East African film industry.

As is now quit customary the festival program will be divided into four primary sections:

African Panorama - A broad selection of historic and contemporary African films that provide a good context for understanding African cinema.

The Contemporary World Cinema-Showing work from many different countries and cultures

Cinema Landmarks – A selection of film will be chosen with particular relevance to the festival’s theme & related programs.

Documentary films week –Throughout the week Ethiopian and international made documentary films will be screened separately as a special focus in one of EIFF venues.

Highlights and Tributes- Which creates programs for this theme and honors particular individuals for their contributions.

DFA members have a special opportunity to enter their documentary films free of charge as the DFA has been asked to supply 10 documentaries from its members. Additionally, Pascal Schmitz from the DFA board will be travelling to Ethiopia on the 1st of October and can take any DVDs or other submission material with him and save DFA members the courier cost. You can contact him on 082 506 8312 to obtain details and his address

The submission form can be downloaded here and emailed to the festival director Yirga at

Submission deadline is the 5th of October 2009

22 September 2009

Eurodoc 2010


If you are looking for in-depth analysis of a specific documentary film project, testing its appeal and potential abroad, advice and follow-up on complex budgeting and financing, legal and practical, business aspects of co-productions,
If you are looking for strong contacts in the field of docs throughout Europe & beyond, enter your project for EURODOC 2010 & JOIN THE NETWORK !

EURODOC is a training programme specifically designed for co-producing creative documentaries at the international level.
Producing documentaries requires increasingly more funding which is difficult to find at national level whatever the size of the country. 
Today EURODOC is a strong & influent network, which gathers more than 525 professionals from 42 countries. It has become indispensable in enabling its members to cope with the rapid changes in the documentary sector.

Within a seven month period, 30 independent producers as well as Commissioning Executives from Europe and abroad*will have the opportunity to participate in a training cycle of 3 one-week sessions led by experienced tutors and experts who play an important part in the current audiovisual and documentary field.

In 2010, these 3 one-weeks sessions will be : 

SESSION 1 – Development / march 2010 – SLOVENIA

SESSION 2 – Budgetisation, Financing, & Packaging / june 2010 – ROMANIA

SESSION 3 – Meeting the Commissioning Editors / september 2010 – (Location to be confirmed)

*NEW : EURODOC opens up to the World

Since 2009, we set up EURODOC International to welcome non-European professionals to the EURODOC workshops.

For 2010, 5 producers from ‘third countries’ will be selected to follow EURODOC International 2010, thanks to the support of the preparatory action MEDIA International & The Jan Vrijman Fund.


For more information about EURODOC visit our website : 

Contact : Marie-Sophie Decout // Tel. +33 4 67 60 23 30 //


4 rue Astruc

34000 Montpellier

Tel : 33 (0) 4 67 60 23 30

Fax : 33 (0) 4 67 60 80 46

The EURODOC programme is supported by the MEDIA programme of the European Community, the Centre National de la Cinématographie, the Procirep (France) and the partners of the welcoming countries. The first session will be organized in Slovenia with the support of the Slovenian Film Fund. DocuMENTOR will bring together partners in order to welcome the second session of EURODOC 2010 in Timisoara. The location for the third session has to be confirmed.

Three Hunger Protesters Stop, Two Carry on


The hunger protest coalition announced today that three of the hunger protesters had started eating again at the beginning of this week, leaving two protesters still currently active on their water fasts in support of ethics, transparency, and partnership with the SABC in delivering local content to the public.

Gwen Britz (14 days), Aluta Mlisana (8 days), and Thabiso Mafane (14 days) all had to stop their fasts for different reasons. And all three plan to continue to support the action strongly, although while eating instead of fasting.

Mafane developed intolerable stomach cramps. On going to the doctor, he realized that the kidney operation he had three years ago made it impossible for his kidneys to keep up with the volume of water he had to drink to keep from getting dehydrated, more than five litres a day at that point.

Mafane says he felt disappointed to stop but understood he had no choice. “I felt great until the cramps started, and I really believe in what we are doing. In fact, before the cramps, I had never felt better in my life.”

Mafane adds he will be running the blog and Facebook groups dedicated to this action, to increase awareness virally and build up a broader base of audience outside the TV industry itself.

AFDA student Mlisana was forced to stop for family reasons. “I was entering two weeks of intense shooting at school,” she said. “Twelve plus hour days, no days off. My mom refused to let me continue not eating, and I am very close to my family. If she was so against it I could not fight her.”

Mlisana will continue to produce the documentary she has been working on about the protest, and the history of the SABC.

Britz declined to explain why she stopped, only saying she is building up strength to start again at the right time. “I'm not scared of these people,” was all she would state. “And I won't be bullied. And I want them to know that.”

Michael Lee, the producer who started the action with a 30 day water fast of his own, and has now eaten – carefully – for one week, says that while it was a difficult moment for the movement, they had all learned from the experience and this would strengthen the action going forward.

All three of them started their fasts before following the rules – as did I,” Lee admits. “That was irresponsible of us. We now understand that there are important procedures that anyone wanting to join in need to do first, up front.”

Lee says these procedures can now be found in full under the blog heading “JOIN US” (

Lee says, "People keep asking us what we want, why it is worth starving. And we keep saying, we're not starving, we're just taking a break from food to see what it's like, and to make a statement. The statement is in short the SABC belongs to the nation and the nation needs to be consulted."

Meanwhile two protesters continue. Production coordinator Zamambo Tshabalala is on day 11 today and has never felt better. “It's amazing,” she writes on the blog. “I just don't need food. People can't understand it, but it's like, I have all the energy, all the focus, and no food. My lips have gotten a little dry, so I'm upping the water.”

Keitumetse Qhali, also an AFDA student, and the director of the documentary Aluta is producing, is on day 9 now, and struggling a bit more, having trouble sleeping, feeling dizzy some mornings, and dealing with concerns from her mother, to whom she is very close. In her blog yesterday she writes: “I myself am starting to doubt if I can do the full 21days, but...this strike is about regaining what is rightfully ours...people need to wake up and realize what is happening.”

(083) 901 2000 (SASFED inquiries)

SOS : SABC names new board

The names of the new SABC Board are announced as:
David Niddrie(journalist) -nominated by SACP, opposition parties opposed this appointment
Barbara Masekela(former board member), opposition parties opposed this appointment
Clifford Motsepe(lawyer), ANC youth league rep, opposition parties opposed this appointment
Anthony Mello(Engineer), all voted in favour
Cedric Gina(Unionist), all voted in favour
Ben Ngubane(medical doctor), opposition parties opposed
Peter John Harris(law advisor), all voted in favour
Suzanne Vos(politician), all voted in favour
Pippa Green(journalist), all voted in favour
Felleng Sekha(IT law), all voted in favour
Clare Frances O’Neil(Consultant), all voted in favour
Desmond Golding(economist), opposition parties opposed
The IFP voted with the ANC. Rest of opposition said they’re disappointed that ANC would not negotiate, and stuck to their alliance party candidates. COPE, ID, and DA put on record, their objection to those they were against.

DFA Report Back on People To People Conference

The Documentary Filmmakers Association (DFA) was this year strongly represented at the 2nd People to People International Documentary Conference in Johannesburg. The Tri Continental Film Festival was responsible for putting together a highly stimulating and thought provoking event. Partner orginisations were Encounters South African International Documentary Festival and the Southern Africa Communications for Development (SACOD). The DFA want to acknowledge the Tri Continental Film Festival for putting together a challenging conference with a high level of engagement around current issues impacting on the industry. The conference highlighted the importance of debate and industry ownership of the documentary genre.

An important outcome of the conference was the industry declaration by People 2 People, the Television Industry Emergency Coalition, SASFED and DFA - presented by Rehad Desai – People To People / TVIEC / SASFED; Simon Wilkie – Southern African representative – Southern Africa Communications for Development (SACOD) / Namibia Rep; Harriet Gavshon – TVIEC / Independent Producers Organisation (IPO);Kate Skinner – Save our SABC: Reclaiming Our Public Broadcaster Coordinator; Marc Schwinges – SASFED / DFA and edited and endorsed by Ingrid Gavshon – DFA / SACOD; Khalid Shamis – SASFED / TPA / DFA and Eugene Paramoer. Thank you to all these individuals and orginisations for their time and input. The details of this document are on the DFA blog and can also be seen at

The entire PEOPLE TO PEOPLE CONFERENCE programmme can also be viewed on

DFA members also contributed to master classes and panel discussions: Co-Chair Ingrid Gavshon and Treasurer Marc Schwinges engaged with executives of Creative Industries at the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) about finding finance for Documentary with specific focus on incentives provided by the Department. Cape Town Co-Chair Lauren Groenewald and DFA Youth Portfolio member, Dylan Valley joined a panel on global commercialization questioning if factual content has been boxed into prescriptive formats. Ingrid Gavshon, Jacky Lourens and Marc Schwinges also participated in a panel on the opportunities and challenges for Producers today. Director Mark Kaplan was part of a master class Ghosts of the Past: Documenting Memory referencing clips from his film Highgate Hotel Massacre. Other valuable inputs were given during the panel discussions and interactive sessions.

The DFA thanks the CAPE FILM COMMISSION for making it possible for the DFA to have representation from CAPE TOWN by sponsoring four flights.

Kyle O’ Donaghue from Four Corners Media was part of the DFA Cape Town delegation and has put together a response to his experience of the conference.

Reinvigorating belief in making films

As an independent filmmaker the current financial and SABC situation can leave one feeling a little disheartened at times and pursuing the kind of work which pays the bills. The problem in my case has been that this type of work then becomes a dominating force and you wake up to wonder if you always just made NGO corporates? Making compelling independent films seems to be a thing of the past in my career at this stage, even though it is what I have always aspired to do professionally.

I went to People to People more just to get away from the mind numbing visuals of scripted voice over and talking heads which flash before my eyes on a daily basis in the edit suite. I thought it would be good to catch up with a few familiar faces and perhaps go to a master class or two. I was pleasantly surprised that it turned out to be way more dynamic than I could ever have hoped for. Engaging panel discussions challenging traditional distribution patterns and threats to documentary as a format as well as the ever present thread of the SABC crisis and how it might be tackled. What became increasingly clear to me was that it was more than a conference. It was the gathering of a group of people who are fighting for survival. There was a strong sense of solidarity running through all the sessions and very much a feeling of "thanks goodness I am not alone in my struggles as an independent filmmaker."

One interaction which stands out strongly for me was in a session on "Threats to Freedom for Documentary" in which a young filmmaker very passionately said that he was making his first film, that it would be huge and potentially shake things up, but that he had no money for it and no support. There was a murmur through the room and few comments of "but, you're not alone - that is why we have all come together. Come and speak to me in the tea break." I was struck at that point how easy it is to lose the path as a documentary filmmaker and what kind of passion I felt when I was making my first films. It is too easy to become cynical about the SABC or worry about funding and distribution channels when filmmaking is really about just that - making films. I have three cameras and an edit suite and find myself twiddling my thumbs between jobs wondering when the next great documentary idea will strike me down and inspire me to make another film. What a shame.

If I gained anything from People to People its this - I am not alone, making films has financial risk but we need to be cognisant of those risks and make informed decisions about committing to making a given film. At my core I am a story teller and stories don't tell themselves - we tell them. A mid-year resolution... I will start shooting a new film before the year is out.

Many thanks to the organisers for a truly inspirational reminder of why I became a documentary filmmaker in the first place.

Kyle O'Donoghue
DFA Member Cape Town
Four Corners Media


18 September 2009

The” Save our SABC” Coalition overall welcomes the final SABC Board shortlist. This time round the process included significantly more public participation and was more transparent than previous Board selection processes. Parliament heeded our calls for:
More time as regards the nomination process
Increased publicity around the nomination process including the use of public service announcements on SABC radio
The publishing of CVs of candidates shortlisted for interviews
Ultimately, we believe, this has led to a Board that combines skills, competencies and experience appropriate to the governance of an important public institution and is fairly representation of different social interests in our society.
Going forward we hope that this public nomination and selection process will ensure that the Board feels more accountable to the general public than previous Boards have and that ultimately this translates into a more efficiently and effectively run institution that produces excellent citizen-orientated programming for all South Africans.
This promises to be a starting point for a new era in genuine public service broadcasting.

For more information:
Tawana Kupe – Dean Faculty of Humanities - (078) 459-6041
William Bird – Director Media Monitoring Africa - (082) 887-1370
Kgomotso Matsunyane – Chair South African Screen Federation –(082) 886-7463
Kate Skinner – Coordinator Save our SABC Coalition – (082) 926-6404