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.

17 September 2010

Tri-Continental Mini-Conference, 2010

The 8th annual Tri Continental Film Festival together with the Goethe-Institut and the SABC present the Tri-Continental Mini-Conference, 2010. This year’s sessions will focus on industry development across the film industry’s value-chain – from pitching to distribution and exhibition. The mini -conference will be hosted at the Goethe-Institut, Johannesburg, on the 1, 2 and 3rd of October 2010.

119 Jan Smuts Avenue
Parkwood, Johannesburg 2193
011 442 3232



10 AM



Report back from the four Southern African documentary projects that were part of the residency and pitching at Louma 2010, led by the South African Louma participants
The questions “So what’s it about?” and “Why do you want to tell this story” are intrinsically connected and dreaded by many filmmakers. In this interactive session, the panel will share information and experience on how to approach defining your story in order to generate interest and attract finance.

About Louma:

Louma 2010 was a unique opportunity that brought together professionals involved African documentary film. In Saint‐Louis (Senegal), numerous directors, producers, potential funders, buyers, distributors and publishers gathered for a week‐long conference dedicated to documentary films and film projects.


2 PM


FILMS THAT ACT: What are the effects on the genre when social development is the priority?

Andy Spitz (We are No Where), Molly Blank (Where do I Stand) and Landon Van Soest (Good Fortune) interrogate the issues they confront when making films as a tool for social intervention.


10 AM



Panellists Darryl Els of independent cinema “The Bioscope”, Neil Brandt/Dan Jawitz of “Fireworx Marketing and Distribution” and Helen Kuun of the newly formed “Indigenous Films” discuss the fledgling independent distribution and exhibition sector in South Africa and the region.
The lack of a diverse and functional distribution sector has repercussions across the film value chain and significantly inhibits the building of a sustainable industry. The independent players, who’ve emerged to fill the gap, face both obstacles and opportunities.


2 PM



Enrico Chiesa - founder of an EU media sponsored VOD site for African film discusses the viability of online distribution.

About, a new VOD Platform, is funded by The ACP States and the UE to reinforce the African film sector. To help African rights-owners take hold of the digital distribution of their films, using VOD to extend their lifecycle and expand their reach to worldwide audiences. A non-exclusive platform, that also provides them with a set of business tools unprecedented on the market.”


10 AM



“Afrikaaps” director Dylan Valley and “Battle for Johannesburg” director Rehad Desai present excerpts from their films and discuss their different approaches to subjective representation. Moderated by Katerina Hedren.

Debates around the subjective presentation of “the real” have been inspired by the documentary form since its inception. The genre reflects these debates as the filmmaker’s perspective has become an intrinsic aspect of the narrative of many contemporary documentaries. Does a strong point of view necessitate a filmmaker putting themselves in the frame, or delivering a voice-over narration?


11 AM



Hilke Doering will present a brief overview of the renowned Oberhausen Experimental Film Festival, and invite young filmmakers to engage her about navigating the international festival and market circuit.

She will also be open to submissions of student/ young filmmakers work for festival consideration.


2 PM


A screening of Jyoti Mistry’s “Yoni” and “We Remember Differently”

Followed by a discussion led by Jyoti Mistry

What defines mainstream vs. experimental film? Is “traditional” cinema in the process of redefinition? Are the boundaries between experimental film and mainstream models becoming less defined?

Booking is essential for further information contact

Arya Lalloo –

Shooting People: Supporting Filmmakers

Hallo DFA Members!

This blog post has a clever title, which I hope has grabbed your attention. Please read the newsletter from Shooting People below:

Independent filmmakers network Shooting People is currently supporting MOFILM’s Rome Film Festival competition. They’re looking for filmmakers to create engaging ads for one (or more) of 7 brands. These need not be dry or dull - the opposite in fact. They want to see creative and unique approaches to the briefs. For your efforts you have the chance of picking up a lot of goodies, including $82,000 worth of cash prizes, a car, a trip to one of two eco-tourism resorts in Australia and India, 5 Kodak Zi8 Digital Video Cameras, 5 Nokia technology packs and round trip airfare for you and a guest to Rome plus 3 nights accommodation. In addition to this, any Shooting People member that enters automatically goes into a draw to win a high-def Canon 5D Mark II camera, regardless of whether you’re a medalist in any of the competitions. Not a member? Fear not. Shooting People is offering free trial memberships during the competition. Just follow this url to claim it

The PUMA Creative Catalyst Awards

Dear Friends,

We are delighted to announce the launch of a new international documentary development fund.
The PUMA.Creative Catalyst Awards are here to support the development of your documentary film idea and give you resources to shoot and edit your trailer.

With four open calls each year, there are 40 awards available of up to 5,000 Euros each.
Awards are open to emerging and established filmmakers working anywhere in the world.

For more information on how to apply please go to:
For more information on the BRITDOC/PUMA partnership please go to:

Please do share this with your documentary filmmaker networks!

With kind regards,

Beadie Finzi
Director, Channel 4 BRITDOC Foundation

16 September 2010

Sentech Threatens Switch-off

CASH-STRAPPED signal distributor Sentech threatens to switch off signals of community television and radio stations that owe it money if they don't pay by tomorrow.

Sentech is a state-owned company that distributes broadcast signals and is under the control of the Department of Communications.

Sentech spokesperson Nthabeleng Mokimiti said: "The company is facing hard times and is introducing various austerity measures to cope with the shortage of cash. Under these circumstances Sentech decided that it was unable to continue to support customers who ignore our plea for payment and who have made no effort to settle their debts."

The Sunday Times reported that Sentech was battling to collect R27 million owed to it by government departments and community radio stations.

It is also struggling to pay the R850,000 monthly rental on its head offices in Fourways, north of Johannesburg.

But Mokimiti would not divulge which governments departments, radio and TV stations owed Sentech.

Urgent NFVF Production Funding Announcement

At a meeting held on 2nd September 2010 on the occasion of the 3rd cycle meeting of the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) Council, NFVF management recommended funding across the usual range of programmes and projects the institution supports.

What was unusual at this sitting of Council was management's recommendation for the funding of 6 feature scripts in development, 7 feature films for production and 4 documentaries for production.

It is unprecedented in the history of the NFVF that 7 feature films and 4 documentaries that have previously been funded in development would be recommended for production in the same sitting of Council. This is a testament to the rigorous development process instituted by the NFVF over the past three years, with script editors assigned to every promising feature concept or project and a hands on development process for all documentaries.

Unfortunately, only 5 of these feature projects can be funded out of this year’s budget, with the remaining 2 having to be rolled over for reconsideration in the new financial year, commencing 1st April 2011. This means that while the NFVF will continue to accept new projects for production funding, these projects will only be considered for financing in the new financial year. All applications for narrative fiction production funding will be affected, including short films and feature films. A limited number of documentary applications for production may still be considered in the present financial year.

Funding support for development has not been affected.
This development clearly demonstrates the need for the National Film and Video Foundation to be allocated additional financial resources to fulfil its mandate of industry development and support. The NFVF regrets to bring this news to the industry already crippled by the ongoing funding crisis and already so deep into the year.

For media queries contact Naomi Mokhele.

15 September 2010


All logic dictates it should not have been possible to run an event of this size this year. Recession has bitten hard in to the budgets of our key supporters, namely the SABC and the Gauteng Film Commission, whom in turn have been forced to withdraw support for the festival. The demise of the public broadcaster, along with the growth of smaller less affluent channels, has resulted in a serious tightening of the screws on funding for documentary film, as well as fewer and fewer opportunities for the airing of pluralistic, diverse voices to mass audiences.

And all of this at a time when we need these voices more than ever. In a period where South Africans face the clawing back of social reforms and find themselves fighting to defend hard won democratic freedoms, the role of independent documentary film cannot be underestimated.

Perhaps this explains why 2010 has seen some urgent filmmaking in South Africa by a generation of talented filmmakers who have responded to the demise of traditional funding models with an array of independent films that are refreshing in their poignancy and desperately in search of serious platforms. It’s one thing getting these films made, and another ensuring they are seen by as many people as possible. This is the role of festivals such as Tri-Continental, with its aim of showcasing beautifully crafted and meaningful films to mass audiences, while hosting forums for debate and film education. This way we keep open the channels of communication between audiences for film, civil society, the media and the state.

Films from South Africa include Andy Spitz’s We Are Nowhere, an uncomfortable reminder that not enough has been done to address the causes of xenophobia and that the spark that lit the original flame still burns brightly; Arya Lalloo’s Citizen X, an unflinching portrait of civil unrest in the New South Africa, recently crowned the most unequal society in the world; David Forbe’s The Cradock Four, set in 1985, details one of Apartheid’s murkiest and most controversial assassinations; Odette Geldenhuys’ Here Be Dragons, tells the story of George Bizos, the man renowned for saving Nelson Mandela from the gallows, for the inquest into the death of Steve Biko and for more human rights cases than any other lawyer in South Africa; Rehad Desai’s The Battle for Johannesburg, captures the changing face of Johannesburg while raising urgent questions about social investment, enduring poverty and alienated communities that refuse to live together.

The current tight economic environment has meant some tough decisions on the scope of the festival - a rolling back of outreach screenings, where films are taken to specific and hard to reach audiences. Thus the focus this year is one of getting audiences to cinemas to watch our films, films that shine a spotlight on a troubled world, and to take part in a series of debates hosted by our partners. In the fight against poverty, for human security and freedom, the effects of climate change can no longer be ignored. This year we team up with Greenpeace with a selection of films that highlight the inter-relationship between development, the environment and the survival of humanity itself.

Dirty Oil is a much anticipated feature documentary from Academy Award-Nominated director Leslie Iwerks and goes deep behind-the-scenes into the strip-mined world of Northern Alberta, Canada, where vast and toxic oil sands supply the US with the majority of its oil. The story is told through the eyes of scientists, Big-Oil officials, politicians, doctors, environmentalists and the aboriginal citizens directly affected by the largest industrial project on the planet today. Dirty Oil uncovers the emotional and irreversible toll this "Black goldrush" is taking on our planet.

Sweet Crude is a journey of multilayered revelation and ever-deepening questions. Beginning with a small group of peaceful, intelligent protestors taking a stand against the devastating effects of the operations of foreign oil corporations in the region. Their protest slowly morphs into something more violent and militant as lives and the environment are increasingly put at risk for profit. The film is a fascinating and urgent story about power gone corrupt, industry destroying without care for the consequences, the people left to deal with it all and a region on the verge of war.

The festival teams up with Human Rights Watch with a Kenyan/USA documentary, Good Fortune, that details the politics of international aid as it effects the lives to two Kenyan’s, one in Nairobi, the other in the rural countryside. This gripping film shows how massive international efforts to alleviate poverty in Africa can undermine the very communities they aim to benefit.

A series of screenings this year will be dedicated to the fundamental democratic right of Freedom of Expression. These films include, An Independent Mind, a feature-length documentary that details increasing attacks on this cornerstone of democracy and the underpinning of any ‘free’ society; and American Radical, featuring American academic Norman Finkelstein, son of holocaust survivors and an ardent critic of Israel and US Mid-East policy, a deeply polarizing figure whose struggles arise from core questions about freedom, identity and nationhood.

This year the festival partners the Goethe-Institut in hosting a series of workshops, aimed at filmmakers but open to the public.

From Africa:
Afrikaner Afrikaan
Forest of Crocodiles
Driving with Fanon
Mugabe and the White African
White As Blood
A Place Without People
The Hillside Crowd
War Child
On The Other Side of Life
Surfing Soweto
Garbage Dreams
A Small Town Called Descent
Where Do I Stand?
Forgotten Gold
Comrade Goldberg
Soweto sneezed…and then we caught the Fever

From Asia and the Middle East:
Gaza on Air
Nero’s Guests
The Red Chapel
Cowboys in India

From Latin America:
Our Disappeared
Beyond Ipanema


Cinema Nouveau Rosebank (Johannesburg) 01 - 10 October
Ster Kinekor Maponya Mall (Johannesburg) 01 - 03 October
Cinema Nouveau V&A Waterfront (Cape Town) 26 – 31 October
The Bioscope Independent Cinema, Fox Street, Johannesburg 03 – 10 October
Cinema Nouveau Brooklyn Mall (Pretoria) 08 - 14 October
Cinema Nouveau Gateway (Durban) 15 - 21 October

Tickets may be booked either through Ticketline on 082 16789 or online - either on your WAP-enabled cell phone or PC via ; or, book in Ster-Kinekor cinemas at the self service terminals (SSTs) or Box Offices.

13 September 2010

Pule Diphare's latest Documentary

The Tonight Pretoria ran an article on DFA member Pule Diphare's latest Documentary Film "Sister in Wonderland".

Click here to read the article.



The 19th Annual Festival To Take Place February 16-21, 2011 in Los Angeles

Los Angeles, CA -September 8, 2011 -The Pan African Film Festival (PAFF), America's largest and most prestigious Black film festival, is now accepting submissions for their 19th annual event taking place February 16-21, 2011 in Los Angeles. PAFF is accepting submissions of independent features, shorts; narratives and documentary films made by or about people of African descent. Applications and complete instructions are available on the PAFF website at or by calling (310) 337-4737.The regular submission deadline is October 31, 2010.

Eligibility: PAFF is currently accepting applications for films and videos made by and/or about people of African descent. (filmmaker needn't be of African descent.) Films preferably should depict positive and realistic images and can be of any genre ---- drama, comedy, horror, adventure, animation, romance, science fiction, experimental, etc. PAFF accepts features and shorts; narratives and documentaries. We will accept submissions of works in progress; however, films and videos must be completed no later than December 31, 2010.


The PAFF competition categories are: Best Narrative Feature, Best Documentary (short or feature length), Best Narrative Short, Programmer's Award, Director's First Feature, Festival Award and Audience Favorite. Films in competition must be copyrighted no earlier than 2009. With the exception of Audience Favorite, all films are judged by Industry Professionals.

Submission Fees and Deadlines:

The deadline for regular submissions is October 31, 2010. The submission fee for submissions post dated as of October 31 is $45 for feature films and $30 for shorts. Late submissions will be accepted between November 1 - December 1, 2010. Fees for late submissions are $75 for features and $55 for shorts.

Application and Submission Procedures:

A signed and fully completed application with publicity materials (preferably an EPK) must be submitted with a DVD (NTSC or PAL).

Applications and instructions are available for download at or by calling (310) 337-4737.

Mail submissions to: The Pan African Film and Arts Festival, 6820 La Tijera Blvd. Suite #200, Los Angeles, CA 90045

Selection results will be available beginning December 31, 2010.

About the Pan African Film and Arts Festival

Established in 1992, The Pan African Film Festival (PAFF) is a non-profit corporation dedicated to the promotion of cultural and racial tolerance and understanding through the exhibition of film, art and creative expression. It is PAFF's goal to present and showcase the broad spectrum of Black creative works, particularly those that reinforce positive images and help to destroy negative stereotypes. We believe film and art can lead to better understanding and foster communication between peoples of diverse cultures, races, and lifestyles, while at the same time, serve as a vehicle to initiate dialogue on the important issues of our times. Each year, PAFF presents:
  • Over one hundred twenty-five (125) quality films from the United States, Africa, the Caribbean, South America, Europe, the South Pacific and Canada, all showcasing the diversity and complexity of people of African descent.
  • One of America's largest fine art shows featuring prominent and emerging black artists and fine crafts people.
  • Local, national and international poets, musicians and storytellers.

An Interview with Werner Herzog

This is an interview with documentary and drama filmmaker Werner Herzog. It is always interesting to hear what he has to say.