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.

01 April 2011

Notice of Cape Film Commission Membership

The Cape Film Commission (CFC) is the official government funded agency in the Western Cape mandated to market and develop the Western Cape and Cape Town as a location for film, television, stills and related media production and to provide a body to represent the people and bodies participating in the production of film, television, stills and related media in the Western Cape Province.

The main object of the CFC is to:
  • Promote the Western Cape and Cape Town as a location for film, television, video, stills and related media production;
  • Assist international and domestic companies considering film, television, video, stills and related media production in the Western Cape;
  • Facilitate training and community development in the film, television, video, stills and related media industry;
  • Develop the film, television, video, stills and related media industry

The CFC also serves as a linkage between local government and the film, television, video, stills and related media industry in the Western Cape and acts as a forum to lobby the interests of the industry.

Since the establishment of the CFC in 2000, industry has changed as has the make-up of its members.

The CFC is therefore reviewing its database of membership and addressing the terms of its Articles of Association as no changes to the Articles have been registered since the establishment of the CFC in 2000.

As such the Cape Film Commission is inviting all industry parties within the Western Cape from production companies, creative film arts, scriptwriting, acting, animation, documentaries, training, academia, new media, screen actors, etc. and the broad representation of the industry and representative communities to register as members of the CFC to enable us to communicate with you via e-mail or sms and to allow you to have a voice.

In order for us to fulfill our mandate of representation and to assist the CFC in appropriately representing industry, please can we request that all Western Cape based industry members and companies provide us with their contact details to ensure that members and representatives of industry are receiving any relevant updates on matters relating to the industry that we are made aware of and matters relating to the CFC. This will include updates on issues such as permitting, funding, film festivals, marketing reports, networking opportunities, Master Classes, training and other matters. Your registration will also enable us to better understand the needs of industry through various forums created by the CFC and your ability to communicate directly with us. We will consequently be enabled to lobby government to address any matters which our membership feels the need to be addressed.

If you have recently received a membership number from the CFC, you need not re-register. However, if you have recently resigned from the CFC or are not registered, please do so as soon as possible to ensure you are receiving newsletters, industry updates etc.

Membership of the Cape Film Commission is currently free of charge. Membership forms are available from our web-site at Membership Form 20102011.pdf or through our information e-mail address or per telephone request on 021 4583 9070.

The CFC welcomes you and looks forward to hearing from you

Denis Lillie
Cape Film Commission

Werner Herzog and Another Dimension

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Werner Herzog kicks things off by asking me a question: “Did you see the film in 3D?” Although a “mild sceptic” of the format, he considers it essential to his 28th cinema film, Cave of Forgotten Dreams, a documentary about the paleolithic artwork discovered by the archeologist Jean-Marie Chauvet in 1994. The Chauvet cave is full of bulging and irregular shapes, and Herzog says that the painters, who had “a quest for depicting movement”, “incorporated the drama of these formations into their art”; for example, a bulge in a rock becomes the neck of a charging bison. “There’s a three-dimensional drama which was understood and utilised by people 32,000 years ago”, he says. Then, shrugging, he adds: “But I’m told that it looks pretty good in 2D as well.”

The French government gave Herzog the unique opportunity of filming, with rigorous restrictions, in the Chauvet cave – “I took it! I took it!” he says, and describes the film as a “big seismic event” for him. He admits that the cave is the film’s chief point of interest: “Everybody speaks of having experienced a cave, nobody talks about having seen a movie.” He evidently sees this as a good thing.

On the morning of our interview, Herzog, who was born in Germany in 1942, is clean-shaven and wearing a black suit. He talks with such animation about the Chauvet cave that I wish I had enjoyed his film more. In his recent documentaries the central point of interest, whatever the ostensible topic, has been the human subjects, usually dreamers and fantasists or the subjects of fantasy – the Dalai Lama in Wheel of Time; Timothy Treadwell, the bear-lover killed by a bear, in Grizzly Man, Graham Dorrington, the aeronautical engineer trying to fly a dirigible over the Guyanan rainforest in The White Diamond. There are two engaging “experimental archeologists” in Cave of Forgotten Dreams, one of whom repeatedly – and ineptly – throws spears, the other of whom plays “The Star-Spangled Banner” on an imitation paleolithic pipe. But the striving, stargazing characters who really fascinate Herzog have been dead for 30,000 years. The film contains moments of extraordinary beauty but provides little in the way of human interest or drama.

Read the rest and the original article here.

The SAGE Sound Design

SAGE Upgrades Presents

Our next workshop is on sound editing with Andrew Spitz (Sound Designer) and he will be talking us through picture editor and sound editor relationships, editing choices that impact sound design and deliverables for sound. A workshop not to be missed!

:: Andrew Spitz (Sound Designer)
:: Making sound editing decisions / The picture editor & sound designer relationship, editing choices that impact the sound design, deliverables for sound
:: 05.04.11 . 19:00 – 21:00
:: Venue . AFDA Joburg / 41 Frost Ave., Auckland Park
:: Cost . Students [R30,00] . SAGE members [R50,00] . Affiliates [R80,00] . R100,00 at the door
:: RSVP to to secure your place
:: Banking details . Get these from Melissa

Free Stock Footage

Please click the image to get your free stock footage.

Permit Update from the Cape Flm Commission

The CFC had a very productive meeting with Intersite (PrasaCRES) and Metrorail (PrasaRail) today regarding a Memorandum of Agreement with them in relation to filming at Cape Town Station.

Today the following was agreed:

1)The station is open for filming!
2)Today’s agreement will be fine-tuned over the next few weeks through interactions between Intersite, the CFC and legal advisors.
3)An MoA will be signed between Intersite and the CFC in the next few weeks following consultation with the legal team.

In the interim, the following process needs to be adhered to:

  • Permits can be applied for through Neil Engelbrecht at Applications must include your Cape Film Commission membership number. Prasa has indicated that in order to prove a production company’s credentials it will request proof of CFC membership. It is therefore advisable to become a CFC member in this instance. If you need a number, please contact Candice for an application form at All non- CFC members will be referred to this office by Intersite.
  • Permits will require 14 days to process if outside the transport operational area of the station and 21 days within the transport operational area (i.e. through the turn styles)
  • Permits will be free but the cost of the use of the facility will be a chargeable item to be paid on receipt of the permit (no payment, no permit). This is to enable suitable allocation of the station resources.
  • You must state on your application whether your permit is required for stills, documentary, commercial, film or other (stating what).
  • Other stations are available within the greater metropolitan area subject to the nature of the shoot and availability of station resources.
  • You need to take into account when applying for a permit that a permit will not be granted if your proposed shoot compromises the core function of the station i.e. passenger transport and movement. If in doubt speak to Candice.
  • The key elements which your application needs to address are; date, space, time, proposed equipment and vehicles, number of people. Please take into account that a weekend and night shoot will more likely get permission than other times.
  • Allow a suitable lead in time for the application.
  • If you require flexibility on film day, build that into your application i.e. multiple shots, re-takes of moving trains.
  • Permission will be granted based on capacity of the station
Read the rest here.

IPO's AGM Postponed

Postponement of Annual General Meeting

Please note that the Annual General Meeting of the Independent Producers’ Organisation scheduled to place on Tuesday 5th April 2011 at 2:30pm to 6:30pm has been postponed. A new date for the Annual General Meeting will be confirmed later today.


Yours sincerely,
Dionne Cronin

31 March 2011

Massive State Corruption Uncovered

This is an extract from the article that will be of special interest to South African filmmakers and producers:

'Serious criminality'
Hofmeyr said the SIU's probe into the cash-strapped South African Broadcasting Corporation had uncovered "serious criminality", with R2,4-billion paid out to businesses in which 20 company employees held interests between 2007 and 2010.

The unit opened eight criminal cases against staff members, of which five had been finalised and handed to the National Prosecuting Authority.

Read the rest here.

Development as a Destroyer of Culture

The Government of Uganda has decided that the Uganda National Museum – the country’s only national museum – will be demolished to make way for a 60-storey East Africa Trade Centre. The proposed “ultramodern” building – which politicians suggest will take 3-5 years to complete but which will take closer to 30 years according to civil society activists and commentators familiar with such Ugandan projects – will house the Ministry of Tourism, Trade and Industry, commercial retail outlets and office space. Oh, and two floors will be allocated to a new national museum.

Established in 1908, the Museum is more than one-hundred years old and is thus itself a heritage site.

This is a classic case of “development” versus “culture”, in much the same way as “development” has often destroyed the natural environment in the name of economic growth and social progress. For those who advocate “culture as a vector of development”, this particular case presents a major challenge, both philosophically and strategically.

Increasingly, “culture as a vector of development” has come to mean the catalysing and support of the creative industries as economic drivers, as job-creation mechanisms, as generators of the financial resources that will be used to address major social and human development needs in the areas of health, education and the eradication of poverty, all important in the pursuit of the Millennium Development Goals.

This is particularly relevant to Uganda whose per capita income is a mere $460 and which is ranked a lowly 143 on the Human Development Index.

Read further.

Interview with the Director and Editor of Jammer as Ek So Bitter Is

Jammer As Ek So Bitter Is
won two SAFTA awards for Best Director: Documentary Film as well as Best Documentary Film.

Director, Rina Jooste, and editor, C.A. van Aswegen, gave Cutaway insight into cutting this award winning film.

CUTAWAY: How would you describe what makes editing a docci unique to other genres?

CA: I think the biggest challenge for editing documentary, is that you are essentially writing the script as you cut. There is no real predetermined structure or script. No solid guidelines or parameters as one would have in drama or film. This would be the most unique aspect of editing documentaries.

RINA: I see a documentary film as a work in progress, I don't use a script but do have a very focused and fleshed out treatment and shot list before I start shooting.

I also do very thorough research to inform my story/content and do very thorough planning for the interviews and know exactly what content I need to come out of the interviews (an art in itself).

I try to spend as much time as possible with characters beforehand as well, part of research and to become familiar with characters in order to get better interviews and footage. The more comfortable characters are with me, the better quality content we get.

After filming, we end up with lots of footage that then has to be condensed into a story, without a script. This is not an easy task and we work with real life charactes and situations, it's reality and cannot be faked, although one does use manupilation of characters from time to time.

We always have to keep in mind: our characters vs our viewers vs our aim/objective of telling the story, keeping all these elements in mind makes it a complex, but interesting task.

Read the rest here.

28 March 2011

Driving William at The Labia

The documentary ‘Driving William’ will be screened at the Labia Theatre on 2 April as a fundraiser for William Smith, a local boy in dire need of prosthetic arms.

Why would a 12-year-old boy climb up a high voltage power pylon? If you’re a curious William Smith who has a fascination with birds, the answer is: to retrieve a nest. Reaching up for that nest is the last thing William remembers before regaining consciousness at The Red Cross Children’s Hospital in Cape Town.

William's severe electrocution resulted in a double arm amputation and 4 months in the Red Cross Burns Unit undergoing intensive rehabilitation. It was also an important period of redefining himself and adapting to a life without arms.

"William is the bravest and most determined child I have ever worked with!' says Sascha Archer, art therapist at Red Cross. `William's recovery has been miraculous. He paints and writes with his mouth and feet, has learnt to swim like a dolphin in the Red Cross pool, plays music with his feet, takes photographic self-portraits with his chin, has learnt to speak fluent English and has mastered using a laptop with a pen in his mouth."

Sascha, looking for ways to give William a voice to help him express what he has endured and overcome, met with filmmaker Jo Higgs from Go Trolley Films. Jo agreed to make a documentary after meeting William who she describes as, "an extraordinary young man with an exuberant sense of humor," Go Trolley films captures the struggles, accomplishments and joys of William's rehabilitation in addition to visiting his home, meeting friends and family in a rural grape growing district.

The documentary is now complete and has been titled `Driving William'. Members of the public are invited to watch William's inspirational journey at a screening of `Driving William' at the Labia Theater on Saturday 2 April.

The screenings will be used to raise funds for William's future prosthesis and additionally the movie will be used as a motivational tool in hospitals like Red Cross to inspire and give hope to future amputee and burns patients.

Date: 2 April
Times: 18h30 & 19h30

Venue: Labia Theater.

Tickets: R50: Please reserve seats in advance by calling 021 424 5927 (seating is limited)

All proceeds from the screenings go into the William Smith Friends of the Children's Hospital Account set up by Sascha, and goes toward future prosthesis, educational tools and rehabilitation for William.

Members of the public who want to make a donation can contact Sascha:


Read more here.

My Town 2011

MY TOWN 2011

Calling all filmmakers and wannabe filmmakers (even don’t wannabe filmmakers, who just love making films!)


Our environment shapes who we are, we shape it. We occupy its space, it occupies us.

3-minute documentary
Interpret the theme MY TOWN any way you like
Use any camera you’d like

DELIVER 3X DVD copies of your film to:

DEADLINE: 19 MAY 2011 @ 14:00
Deliver 3 x copies of your film on DVD (DVD’s must be high quality and viewable on home DVD players)

The 8 best films will be chosen by a selection panel appointed by the Documentary Filmmakers Association (DFA). These 8 films will screen at the Waterfront Nu Metro Cinema as part of the Encounters Documentary Film Festival (as pre-main feature shorts).

The 13th Encounters South African International Documentary Festival will be held in Cape Town and in Johannesburg from the 9th to the 26th of June 2011. One film will be selected as an overall winner by a panel of judges comprising of film as well as arts and broadcast practitioners. The winner will be announced at a function during the Encounters Documentary Festival in Cape Town.

Prizes to be announced will include cash and filmmaking support.
R3000.00 awarded by the DFA


The winning filmmaker will be awarded a place in the NATIONAL FILM AND VIDEO FOUNDATION SPARK programme.

This is a short course that enables individuals with an interest and strong motivation to become documentary filmmakers to acquire the basic skills, knowledge and understanding to be able to progress their scripts/projects in a professional manner.

Course duration: Total of 8 days – 4 weekends over a period of 4 months
The winner will be enrolled in this course, with tutition, travel and accommodation to and from the workshops will be funded by the foundation.

Films will be produced at your own expense. The films produced remain the property of the filmmakers. The DFA will endeavour to negotiate broadcast and festival screenings with the filmmakers’ permission. Selected filmmakers will benefit from on-screen credits and general media exposure through the project. All filmmakers who enter a film will receive a year’s free membership to the Documentary Filmmakers Association (July 2011 – June 2012).

All films delivered must be accompanied by a signed MY TOWN competition entry form, which can be downloaded from our website at: