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.

26 November 2010

SABC Set to Axe 13 Senior Managers

The SABC has targeted 13 senior managers for retrenchment. Read about it here.

State's U-turn on Digital Migration

To read the entire article click here.

23 November 2010

The Uprising of Hangberg Review

Long-running tensions between residents of Hangberg in Cape Town's Houtbay and city council authorities once again boiled over in September 2010, with police firing rubber bullets (some claim live ammunition as well) on residents, who responded (or initiated) with rocks and petrol bombs. Situated above the bay, Hangberg is a neighbourhood of mainly working-class ‘coloured’ people. Fishing is the area's primary economic activity, stretching back several generations in Houtbay.

The city’s story is that it had an agreement with the community, struck in 2008 with Helen Zille, then mayor of Cape Town, now premier of the Western Cape. Development was on the cards as long as there were no ‘new’ arrivals building temporary dwellings on and above a fire-break on the mountain. The city then discovered that there were a number of ‘illegal’ structures on the fire-break. At a meeting on 17 September 2010, Zille insisted that residents should take down those dwellings. She was heckled and left the meeting with the issue unresolved.

To read further, go here.

Mind Your Own Business with the CFC

Please click on the image to view the details.

Email by Wednesday 24th November.

22 November 2010

SOS welcomes Minister's Review of the PSB Bill

The SOS: Support Public Broadcasting Coalition

22 November 2010

The SOS Coalition welcomes the announcement made by the Minister of Communications, Mr Roy Padayachie to review the Public Service Broadcasting Bill. The Minister needs to be commended for his openness and responsiveness to communication stakeholder concerns articulated most recently at the Department of Communications oral hearings on the PSB Bill in Midrand last week.
The SOS Coalition would like the Minister to Review the Broadcasting White Paper, 1998 and as part of this:
  • Review the research done on the Bill particularly as regards the Bill's proposed funding models for public and community media. As a starting point the Coalition believes a detailed economic modelling exercise should be conducted to ascertain the actual costs of delivering quality, citizen-orientated programming in the public and community media sectors. These costs need to be considered in the light of the new, digital multi-channel environment. We commend the Minister for committing to this.
  • Review the Bill's governance proposals to ensure that there are clear lines of accountability and that the Minister is not given undue powers to intervene in terms of management issues at the SABC and in the community media sector.
  • Ensure that the broadcasting sector as a whole deepens the principles of the Constitution including most importantly the Constitution's commitment to socio-economic rights.
SOS believes that at the conclusion of the process the Department will need to look at the new Bills that need to be drafted and the Acts and regulations that need to be amended. What is critical going forward is that we have policy, legislative and regulatory alignment - in the public interest. It seems from the Minister's statements that the Department is committed to this important goal. Again we commend him for this.
Going forward, the SOS Coalition hopes that the Minister will launch a swift, inclusive, consultative policy review process. SOS promises to assist the Minister and Department in whatever way is possible. Collectively we need to create a broadcasting sector that is substantially strengthened to deliver quality, citizen-orientated programming and information for all.

For more information:
Kate Skinner – SOS Coordinator – (082) 926-6404
Patrick Craven – Spokesperson Cosatu – (082) 821-7456
Matankana Mothapo – Spokesperson Communications Workers Union – (082) 759-0900
Oupa Lebogo – General Secretary Creative Workers' Union – (084) 511-8763
Siphiwe Segodi – Coordinator Freedom of Expression Network – (072) 655-4177
William Bird – Director Media Monitoring Africa – (082) 887-1370
Faiza Abrahams Smith – Director Misa-SA – (076) 995-9513
Kgomotso Matsunyane and Feizel Mamdoo – Co-Chairs South African Screen Federation – (082) 901 - 2000
Ayesha Kajee – Executive Director Freedom of Expression Institute

Padayachie pulls plug on broadcasting bill

Communications minister Roy Padayachie has withdrawn the controversial Public Service Broadcasting Bill pending further consultation, and wants to consider new models for funding the SABC and community media.

Padayachie's decision follows complaints from concerned groups at public hearings held in Midrand last week.

The draft bill had called for, among other things, the scrapping of TV licences and for an amendment to the Income Tax Act that could have resulted in up to 1% of personal income tax being set aside for public broadcasting.

"I am convinced much more can yet be gained by engaging in further work before a bill is presented to cabinet," Padayachie says. "I have thus decided to withdraw the current draft Public Service Broadcasting Bill."

He says in redrafting the bill the department of communications must consider the "developmental and democratic goals of the republic". For these to be best served, "it is imperative that our broadcasting policy is at the cutting edge of our digital age".

Also, broadcasting policy requires "wholehearted and energetic mobilisation of state, industry and societal role players".

Specifically, Padayachie wants a review of legislation and regulations to ensure "policy and legislative alignment and consistency". And he wants a review of "research done of funding options for the SABC and community radio" and an "economic modelling exercise" to "begin to look at SABC and community media costs and projected costs of digital migration in the sector".

The minister's decision to pull the plug on the draft bill comes in the wake of heavy criticism from broadcasting lobby groups.

Last week, the Centre for Constitutional Rights said drafters of the bill had misconstrued the public broadcaster's function and its role in the dissemination of knowledge.

The bill, which was released for public comment last October, aims to repeal the Broadcasting Act of 1999, to align the broadcasting system with the country's development goals.

M-Net and MultiChoice joined other concerned parties in calling for the draft bill to focus only on the crisis-stricken SABC.

The companies said the national broadcaster was in need of relief, and that issues in the draft legislation had to be narrowed down.

Karen Willenberg, director of regulatory affairs at M-Net, said the Electronic Communications Act was the key statute dealing with the licensing and regulation of the electronic communications sector.

"In its focus and purpose, the bill must find its place alongside existing legislation. It should only be dealing with issues of public broadcasting which require regulations over and above what is provided for in the Electronic Communications Act."

M-Net and Multichoice also highlighted the need for a strong financial model at the SABC.

Last week, Padayachie said he would fast-track the finalisation of the bill to deal with poor corporate governance and funding problems at the state broadcaster.

However, a civil society coalition said the bill contained fundamental flaws that could not be rectified by speeding up its finalisation.

Among other things, the bill intends to give the minister what some have called "far-fetched" powers, like authority over the SABC's finances and power to issue directives to its board.

In terms of the current Broadcasting Act, the minister is unable to interfere in the present crisis at the SABC and has no role in the appointment of executive members of the board.

The new bill called for the scrapping of TV licences and for 1% of South Africans' personal income tax be set aside for public broadcasting.

MultiChoice said the proposed one percent income tax funding was huge.

It proposed a public production levy of R250 to be collected by Sars during the tax submission period.
However, broadcaster said an alternative to funding should not further burden the public and that there should be appropriation from parliament.

The SABC currently has a mixed funding model. Figures from the 2009 financial year show that 64,3% of its revenue came from advertising, 18,2% from TV licences and 2,2% from government grants.

MultiChoice said because the SABC was a public broadcaster, it was there for the public good.

"It must be funded from state revenue, like education and health," said regulatory affairs manager Aynon Doyle.
Rhodes University's journalism professor Guy Berger said the SABC was competing with other stations instead of focusing on its core business, being a public broadcaster.

Staff reporter, TechCentral, with Sapa

Increased Government Funding on the Cards

Please click on the image to be able to read the article, or visit the Screen Africa page.

21 November 2010

Filmtopia's Sunday Morning Movie Blog

Amazon has not started Amazon studios as a means for independent filmmakers to distribute their films. This is an extract of Filmtopia's take on the venture:

I did actually have a fun list of things I wanted to write about this week.

I wanted to write about using short stories to develop multi-protagonist plots and also how they can be used to flesh out sub-plots (but I've given you enough clues in that sentence, for you to work it out for yourself). I also wanted to write about the ways in which Amazon missed a real opportunity to change independent movie making for the better, with their launch of Amazon Studios. How, by grossly misunderstanding social networking and taking a punitive approach to optioning, they are probably going to fail. (No experienced film-maker or screenwriter is ever going to give Amazon a free eighteen month option on their project). What a shame.

Instead of these interesting avenues of discussion, this week I need to talk about a more important subject.

It's a fairly simple idea, that our community seems somehow to have forgotten...

Until the results come in, it's impossible to tell the difference between foolishness, optimism and wisdom.

Read the rest here.