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: www.docfilmsa.com Membership applications can be made through the website here.

04 January 2011

World Congress of Science and Factual Producing

DFA Board Member, Simon Taylor, attended the World Congress of Science and Factual Producing in December 2010. Please read his report below:

Simon Taylor's (Periphery Films) report from The World Congress of Science and Factual Producing www.wcsfp.com

I was the fortunate recipient of an emerging markets producer bursary to attend The World Congress of Science and Factual Producing. The bursary was funded by the Congress in an effort to engage with markets outside of Europe, North America and Australia. The Congress is an annual meeting of broadcasters, sales companies, producers and festival organizers. It provides a platform for meetings and discussions about projects that can broadly be defined as scientific factual programming. There are a number of large presentations and smaller discussion groups on all aspects of the business of factual programming. There are no screenings, there is no festival and it is not really a market place but more of a meeting environment to connect and engage rather than do hard pitching and sales.

It is an environment where I found open and honest discussions between broadcasters and producers about what is possible, what is viable and how we might work together to provide better factual programming in the future. As an environment to gather information about the state of factual programming internationally, understand trends and develop a network to work through it was invaluable. One discussion was called "is factual f…..ed" and I was very impressed with the candid nature top broadcasters and producers engaged in honest discussion of what is required in terms of new business models and marketing structures to enable factual programming to survive into an ever uncertain future of the genre.

Small sessions and work groups enabled broadcasters and sales companies to introduce themselves and answer questions in a relatively informal environment (where pitching is literally not allowed) giving producers a chance to see how best they can engage with that particular company.

The most useful aspect of the Congress for me was informal one on one meetings with other delegates, especially distributors and sales companies who can usefully represent my projects and films in the international market place.

I would recommend the WCSFP to producers who have experienced the international market place and international festivals and are looking for a deeper engagement with the business of broadcast documentary. A general understanding of the business environment around international documentary financial structuring is essential to making sense of the Congress. It is not a place to discuss art house documentary form or engage in debate about the politics and sociology of documentary film. For me having got my hands dirty the last few years with very low budget documentary projects it was the perfect opportunity to engage with prospective partners who I can do business with to raise the budget level of my films and engage with the international market from an increasingly empowered position.

On a personal level I found great inspiration and on a business level I found a number of people to work with to more effectively raise finance for my projects internationally.

The Congress have shown an interest in hosting a South African delegation at next years event and asked me to put that together with them.

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