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.

14 January 2010

Call for entries forwarded form Encounters to the DFA

12th Thessaloniki Doc Market - Call for Entries

The 12th Thessaloniki International Documentary Festival-Images of the 21st Century will take place from March 12 - 21, 2010. One of the festival’s main features, in cooperation with the Greek National Television (ERT S.A.), and with the support of Media Program of the European Union, is the Thessaloniki International Doc Market, which is to be held from March 15th to 20th, 2010 in Thessaloniki, Greece.

The Doc Market includes a wide variety of recent produced documentaries, which represent all the new tendencies in this domain, and offers professionals involved in the programming and acquisitions sectors of the television and cinema industry an invaluable opportunity for trade related activities in this part of the world. The six days scheduled will be devoted to intensive screenings, participation in the festival activities and facilitation of meetings and negotiations.

30 private screenings booths will be operating for the use of participant buyers and other visitors wishing to preview documentaries. This year we are planning a major change since the Doc Market will be digitalized. Participants will be able to choose programs easily without the use of a DVD or VHS through the fast streaming secured close circuit server. Participants will have access to all festival related activities and public screenings. The Doc Market issues its own catalogue.

The Thessaloniki International Doc Market gives you the opportunity to present documentaries produced within the last 2 years (not previously submitted) with a nominal participation fee of 70 Euros (for up to 6 entries).

If you are interested in participating please fill in the attached Registration Form reply form here intended for the Market catalogue and return it to us before January 22nd (attention: Yianna Sarri, Thessaloniki International DocMarket, 9, Alexandras Avenue, 114 73 Athens, Greece, tel: 30 210 8706010, fax: 30 210 6448143, If you want to attend the Market, we will be glad to offer you Guest Accreditation.

Looking forward to your prompt reply,

Yours Sincerely,

Yianna Sarri,
Head of Doc Market

PLEASE NOTE:Thesalonki have agreed to waiver the participation fee for films entered by Encounters. If interessted than please send me 2 x DVD screeners and the completed form before 20th January to address below:

Nazeer Ahmed
Encounters South African International Documentary Festival
Physical Address:
1st Floor, 27 Caledon Street
Cape Town
8000 South Africa
Tel. No: +27 21 465 4686
Fax. No: +27 21 461 6964

CWU Gauteng Statement on SABC Board

As Communication Workers Union in Gauteng we’ve been consistent in supporting the newly appointed CEO Mr. Solly Mokoetle, as well as the newly appointed SABC board. Our support was based on the fact that there was no procedural flawed in the appointment and that the interim board has appointed a competent and suitable candidate and his track record in the industry speaks for its self. There are those who wanted to destabilise this progressive initiative by the interim board, for the agenda only known to them. We further commend the braveness demonstrate by the new board led by Dr. Ben Ngubane in distancing themselves from these faceless people, and reassuring the nation that the board is not divided over the appointment of the CEO.

We’re confident that Mr. Solly Mokoetle will take SABC to higher levels. We further applaud him on his commitment to work with all stake holders in rebuilding the broadcaster. We were pleased with his commitment to address all concerning issues raised by the Audit General Report, which is what we want to see happening.

To COPE and IFP they must take a back seat and allow the SABC Board and CEO to do the work, theirs is to focus on rebuilding their dying organisations.

Aubrey kaTshabalala
CWU [Gauteng] Deputy Chairperson 082 994 8196

13 January 2010

The Suitcase Journey

Our DFA member, Vassie Govender, has produced The Suitcase Journey. While researching the subject of Aids, he come across ample evidence of Aids denial within the Indian community, especially in the greater Durban area.

"This prompted him to embark on his journey to bring the full impact of this to the public through the film The Suitcase Journey." Click HERE to read the full article.

Public Services Broadcasting Bill an Exercise in Maldevelopment

By: Jane Duncan, South African Civil Society Information Service (, 11 January 2009

Debates about the controversial Public Services Broadcasting Bill have focussed on proposed changes to the South African Broadcasting Corporation's (SABC) funding model, as well as attempts by the Department of Communications to exercise undue control over the SABC and the community media sector, ostensibly to ensure that the sector meets developmental state objectives. To this end, the Department requires the SABC to '[support] rural development, particularly in the areas of agriculture, job creation and [sic] economic-well being of people'.
These attempts at control are dangerous, as they may compromise the Corporation's editorial independence. Yet at the same time, a purely liberal response to the Bill - arguing for removal of powers of the Minister and the references to development - is inadequate, as it will not address clear deficiencies in South Africa's media system.

In order to develop an appropriate response to the Bill, some basic home truths about the nature of post-apartheid media transformation must be acknowledged. One of these is that the media offer few opportunities for issues affecting the poor and the marginalised to find their way into the public domain, which is a direct result of a reliance on commercial sources of funding.

Media development has balkanised along income lines. While claiming to be 'national' in scope, commercial news coverage is, all too often, driven by events in the wealthier metropolitan areas. Newsgathering may rely to an inappropriate extent on official sources, in the process failing to promote a diversity of viewpoints. Business news often dominates the schedule at the expense of labour news. Entertainment dominates the schedule, while 'uneconomic' genres - such as documentary and factual programming – are crowded out. English dominates at the expense of African languages, and political reporting tends to legitimise centrist politics, while marginalising politically extreme views. While the SABC is not as guilty as other media of these biases, they are nevertheless apparent in its offerings.

The media are meant to constitute an inclusive public sphere, providing common meeting points where problems affecting society as a whole can be debated, and then brought to the attention of those who can do something about them. But the lack of common viewing and listening spaces has negative implications for social stability, as it breeds a society that is unable to see itself.

Why, in a period of unparalleled media expansion, are there are significant numbers of people who clearly feel that the only way to make their voices heard is to take to the streets, block highways and burn down Councillor's houses? Many South Africans clearly do not feel that the media provide adequate platforms for expression of their frustrations.

The Bill makes some attempt to address these deficiencies in the media system, by shifting the SABC in a more non-commercial direction. To this extent, the proposed changes to the SABC's funding base are progressive, and should be supported. Also, proposals by organisations like the Democratic Alliance for a wholesale privatisation of the broadcaster should be rejected as retrogressive.

Yet, is it possible to retain the developmental focus in the Bill, without falling into the trap of state control of content? An alternative approach should recognise the importance of the sector meeting development objectives, but in a manner that creates spaces on the broadcaster for a clash of ideas around development.

The Bill's drafters have made a fundamental error in assuming that the state is the only custodian of development objectives; therefore, the realisation of these objectives necessitates greater state steering of the sector. It fails to recognise the capacity of poor people to be agents and drivers of change, and assumes that the poor and the state are in unison on the manner and pace of development.

This approach is wrong-headed, as it can lead to a singular definition of development being imposed. So programmes that support the government's definition of development are aired, while programmes that contest this definition may not see the light of day, as they do not promote the government's definition of social cohesion and the national interest. A broadcaster that falls prey so such censorship will increase social instability and promote maldevelopment, as it will fail to provide platforms for debate about the conditions for true development.

A state is generally considered developmental if its interventions in the economy are directed towards the country catching up with more developed countries industrially and technologically. The South African government has evolved its own definition from the East Asian model, involving manufacturing growth combined with authoritarian statist politics.

Globally and locally, the true development value of developmental states has been contested. This development model tends to rely on alliances between selected 'patriotic investors' and state technocrats, and is notoriously prone to rent seeking and corruption.

Patrick Bond has criticised the South African model for promoting maldevelopment, based on a combination of macroeconomic neo-liberalism and unsustainable megaproject development. He has cited infrastructure development around the 2010 World Cup, and the Coega port development project in Port Elizabeth as examples of projects that benefit local elites and multinationals - especially finance capital and construction firms - with scant benefits for the poor.

The standard government line is that mega-events such as 2010 will generate benefits that will have long-term positive impacts on host cities, yet their true development benefits have become a sore point in many host countries.

The 'crowding in' of investments around soccer stadiums have in many cases led to the 'crowding out' of investments in more distant areas. Jobs that are created may be temporary, causal and low paid. Huge investments have been made in facilities that are barely used afterwards.

When global sporting events come to town, they have also led to gentrification, as well as forced removals. Anti-loitering laws have been used to 'cleanse' the streets of beggars and the homeless.
Many host countries have encouraged media boosterism of mega-events, and disparaged critical questioning as anti-patriotic. Yet some journalists have decided to look beyond the hype and ask the really critical questions about the development benefits of mega-events. Will the SABC have the independence to do the same?

Not if the Bill is promulgated into law, as the institutional arrangements it proposes will not encourage independent journalism on South Africa's development model. In fact the Bill will probably heighten the SABC's culture of editorial timidity, where anything considered too hot to handle is shelved. The broadcaster has consistently misread a commitment to development journalism to mean pro-government journalism: an unfortunate tendency that will probably intensify if the Bill is promulgated.

The Department of Communications has stated that increased Executive oversight of the SABC is confined to financial matters only. A close reading of the Bill does not support this argument, as there are clauses that implicate the independence of the SABC's content, either directly or indirectly.

For instance, the Bill entrenches the existing arrangement where the Minister appoints the Group Chief Executive Officer, who is also the editor-in-Chief. This means that the Minister has indirect control over the SABC's most controversial content-related decisions.

What if "Special Assignment" discovers corruption in the tendering process in a 2010 project: an expose that could embarrass the local organisers in the eyes of the international community? The programme may suffer the same fate as the one on political satire, and not find its way onto the airwaves.

The Bill also states that the Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA) must develop criteria for the allocation of public broadcasting services funding for approval by the Minister in consultation with the Minister of Finance. This clause is inappropriate, as it opens the door for the Minister (or the MDDA for that matter) to weed out 'desirable' from 'undesirable' content. The broadcaster may also self-censor out of fear of not receiving its full allocation of funds.

To the extent that the Bill recognises the need for the broadcasting system to develop a pro-poor character, it must be supported. But what the Bill's drafters fail to recognise is that freedom of thought is an indispensible condition of development, as development imposed from above is no development at all.

Prof. Jane Duncan is Highway Africa Chair of Media and Information Society, School of Journalism and Media Studies at Rhodes University.

Please attribute The South African Civil Society Information Service ( as the source of this article.


11 January 2010

DFA Board Meeting – December 14 2009

Time: 14h00 – 17h00


Marc Schwinges (MS)
Pascal Schmitz (PS)
Lauren Groenewald (LG)
Ingrid Gavshon (IG)

Theresa Meyer (TM)
Matome Senyolo (MS)


Dylan Valley (DV)
Khalid Shamis (KS)
Llewellyn Roderick (LR)
Ayanda Mncwabo (AM)

Venue: Underdog Productions, 3rd Avenue, Melville with Skype Link to Cape Town at Plexus Films, 6 Vine Road, Gardens


1) Welcome and follow up on action items
2) Review of previous minutes/action points/updates
3) PIJIP copyright workshop feedback (MS)
4) SASFED Bill of Rights meeting tomorrow – 5 minutes
5) BFN issue (MS/PS) – 10 minutes
6) National Lottery Call for sponsorship proposal – 10 minutes
7) Heather’s letter of support for training fund application – 5 minutes
8) Callsheet possible monthly column for DFA – 5 minutes
9) Board members lack of commitment – 15 minutes
10) Other business
11) Next meeting date and time : 18 January 2010

Job Wanted

27-year old PRODUCTION MANAGER looking for work in the documentary sector. Also has experience in camerawork and editing. Great people skills, responsible and passionate for the documentary field. Production Manager on documentary series Shoreline for Homebrew Films since June 2008. Please email for a full CV.