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.

07 May 2011

Hot Docs 2011 Images

Images and text from Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival 2011 provided by David Forbes

The Centre of Hot Docs, the Rogers Industry Centre at Victoria University, part of Toronto University. This is where we presented South Africa to the world.

The networking drinks hall at Hot Docs, where everyone meets at 5.30 to network and meet other people. Free drinks and food.

The Pitch Forum at Hart House. More than 20 Commissioning Editors from all the major broadcasters in the world sit around the main table with distributors, and listen to pitches, watch promos on the screens, and allocate funding to pitches they like. Let's get SA to this forum next year.

Renaissance 2.0 Needs a Production Company

Renaissance 2.0 is a film about the emergence of a new civilization where we move from the information age to the age of wisdom.

Renaissance 2.0 explains how the culmination of existing online technologies births a global brain of collective human intelligence. This new way of relating andexchanging has a massive impact on consumer behavior and sustainability, giving people the power over corporate dominance and government behavior, in fact, it makes our existing social systems seem Jurassic in comparison.

This new civilization is not a utopia, but experts are calling it the empathic civilization, where reputation, care and upliftment of others makes up our socio economic industries and mechanisms of wealth.

This film excites action, as we are able to envision how to capitalize the on the higher aspects of our human nature. It’s a blueprint of how to build and bring about a new heartfelt world into existence.

We are looking for a production company who would work on a documentary feature film (below is listed our criteria for a production company).

Information about the production company:
Work with first time directors?
Open to financing or distributing micro-budgeted indies? ($1m or less)?
Prefer to be involved with the packaging of a film (vs. projects with firm cast attachments)?
Provide Equity Financing?
Pay minimum guarantee for International Sales Rights?
Act as Executive Prod or Completion Funding?
Acts as Sales Rep?

We would require the following support from a production company:
Shooting schedules
Legal advice
Recruitment of crew and cast (narrator)
Reconnaisance trips
Presentation boards
Hire of equipment, facilities and services
Office sites
Location permits
Post-production staff and services
Payroll, cost reports and budget reconciliation
DTI rebate application or similar bodies

I look forward to your feedback if you are able to assist or point me in the right direction.


Tahra Sergeant
Renaissance 2.0

Mobile: +82 885 0230
Skype: tahrasergeant

06 May 2011

One Minutes Africa Awards 2011

One Minutes are videos of exactly 60 seconds.
You can now send us your One Minute videos for the first ever One Minutes Africa competition!

There are 6 Categories to choose from:
Spoken word & sound
In My Backyard
Where History Begins
Micro Cmmercials

8 videos in each category will be nominated for an award.
Prize winners will be invited to the awards ceremony hosted by the Town House Gallery in Cairo, Egypt this coming September.

Deadline for submissions: 15 July 2011

Entry forms and further details on our web site.

05 May 2011

IPO's Annual General Meeting

Notice of Annual General Meeting

Notice is hereby given that the Annual General Meeting of the Independent Producers’ Organisation will take place on Thursday 26th May 2011 at 2:30pm at The Bioscope, 286 Fox Street in Johannesburg and at Film Afrika, 2 Avalon 2nd Floor, 123 Hope Street, Gardens, Cape Town. Please confirm your attendance at the AGM in either Johannesburg or Cape Town on or before Thursday 12 May 2011.

The AGM will be followed by a social event in both Johannesburg and Cape Town. We are keen to recruit young, emerging producers and producers who are not yet IPO members to attend the AGM and social event. We will send out an invitation for non-IPO members next week which we encourage you to pass on to emerging producers and other producers that you know.

Items on the agenda will include a welcome to the IPO’s new Executive Director as well as reports from the Chairpersons, Treasurer and Convenors of Sub-Committees, followed by the election of Executive Committee members for 2011.

This is also a call for nominations for members of the new Executive Committee. Please take some time to think about who you would like to represent the Producer community this year and complete the nomination form attached. Please return your nominations form to the IPO Office by close of business next Thursday 12 May 2011.

As per our Constitution, this is also the time of year when members may propose amendments to the Constitution.

Please remember:

Only eligible, fully paid up members of good standing will be allowed to vote.

Every member entitled to attend and vote at the meeting is entitled to appoint a proxy to attend and vote on his behalf. A proxy need not be a member of the company.

To be valid, the form of proxy must be faxed or emailed to the Administrator of the IPO not less than 48 hours before the meeting.

Completion of the proxy does not preclude a member from subsequently attending and voting at the meeting in person.

A proxy form will be forwarded to you once the nomination process has been completed.

Please find a nomination form and updated list of IPO members, draft agenda, minutes of the last AGM and the IPO Constitution attached.


Yours sincerely,
Dionne Cronin
Tel 083 600 9554
Fax 086 541 8708

Short Film Screening

Please click the image to view the details.

The Facebook events can be found at:
Cape Town:

Visit Africa First's web site to learn how you too could qualify for their amazing programme! YOu know you have that drama script on the back burner ...

South Africa's Film Industry Comes of Age?

Made in South Africa
4:31 AM 5/5/2011 by Adle Heydenrich

High-profile projects and native success prove the film sector has come of age. If I were to name a definitive event, it would either be Blood Diamond or Invictus, as these were mainstream Hollywood productions, and the fact that Leonardo DiCaprio and Clint Eastwood were here meant the global profile was raised," says Denis Lillie, CEO and commissioner of the Cape Film Commission. However, he adds, hosting the FIFA 2010 World Cup may have done even more to convince the skeptics that South Africa is now a major player on the global film scene. "We silenced the critics. World media descended on us, and there were no broadcast hitches from this side. The visiting media found that we had all the necessary equipment, skill and support services that they needed for 24-hour coverage."

Indeed, after years of high hopes and false starts, the South African film industry appears to have hit its stride. The evidence is everywhere, with a number of high-profile Hollywood projects calling the region their home away from home, from Safe House starring Denzel Washington and Winnie with Jennifer Hudson to Dredd, the comic book reboot that has become the first big-budget production to take up residence at the region's new state-of-the-art production facility, Cape Town Film Studios.

Even James Bond has his eye on the region. "We are excited that the new James Bond film is considering locations in South and Southern Africa," local producer Anant Singh says. "Film people love to work in our country."

It may sound like spin, but Singh's optimism is justified: South Africa has arrived, and that's good news for an industry that has struggled for years to fulfill its vast potential. Success in South Africa has always been gauged by the health of two separate but related industries: the local production sector and locations shooting, because local productions are largely dependent on the success of lucrative location shoots.

To that end, South Africa offers two distinct rebates available to all productions shooting in the country. "The lower rebate is 15 percent of all rand spent in the country for foreign films that purely make use of South African goods and services," explains David Wicht, founder and CEO of Cape Town-based production shingle Film Afrika.

The higher rebate varies between 25 percent and 35 percent of all rand spent and applies to films that are made as official treaty co-productions with a local company. Both rebates require a minimum of 50 percent of shooting and pay a maximum rebate of R20 million ($7 million).
One of the country's major draws, adds Wicht, is its experienced below-the-line talent pool -- the vast majority of which speaks English. (Despite having 11 different official languages, South Africa counts English as its primary tongue.) "It has become clear that one of the key attractions to shooting in South Africa is the depth and breadth of the local crews -- from art departments, design, camera teams, stunts, special effects, visual effects, production, accounting," Wicht says.

"This means far fewer people have to travel here than they do to some of the Eastern European countries, which saves considerably on flights, per diems, fringes and hotels."

The exchange rate is also an advantage, with one U.S. dollar equaling almost seven rand.
Nevertheless, the booming industry hasn't quite worked out all of its kinks. Certain aspects of production still work on "Africa time," meaning things like obtaining permits don't always move as swiftly as they should -- though -- that has improved.

"The permit process has been a challenge, but the city of Cape Town has woken up to the fact that the film industry wants to come here, and there are great benefits to that," Lille says. "The film commission and industry have been working very closely with the permit office in recent months, and we seem to have addressed the majority of problems in the system."

Another problem being addressed is the sheer distance between Cape Town and Hollywood (a 17-hour flight, with one connection). In an effort to bridge that gap, Film Afrika plans to open an office in Los Angeles in early 2012.

"We hope the new office will help facilitate even more opportunities for U.S. producers to shoot in South Africa," Wicht says. "Having a presence in L.A. will also help with the creation and development of original material for filming in South Africa."

This kind of support for the local film industry goes hand in hand with the larger effort to attract foreign shoots. After all, the better the location sector does, the more South Africa's burgeoning production sector benefits, and if the latest figures from the National Film and Video Foundation are any indication, the locals should be very happy.

The NFVF estimates that 25 feature films with an average budget of $3 million each can produce 1,200 direct jobs, with an additional 4,000 indirect jobs in performing arts, extras, catering, etc.
Last year, South Africa produced 23 films which managed to capture an impressive 11 percent of the local market share in gross revenue -- a sharp improvement over the previously reported market share of 0.7 percent in 2007.

This is the kind of news the local industry needs to promote overseas, and the increasing number of South Africans working in Hollywood certainly doesn't hurt that effort. Sharlto Copley, the South African actor who played the lead role in Neill Blomkamp's Oscar-nominated District 9, proudly admits to acting as something of an unofficial publicist for his home country.

"After District 9 I was able to play a large role in bringing DNA Films' Dredd to shoot in S.A.," says Copley, whose profile will be raised even further when he stars alongside Matt Damon and Jodie Foster in Blomkamp's District 9 follow-up, Elysium. "That had more to do with my creative relationship with the producers at DNA. I am still very involved and keen to help people set up shooting in South Africa and linking them with the right parties for their creative needs."

Even South Africa's most well-known screen export is getting in on the act. "South Africa is gorgeous in terms of its landscape and wildlife," says Oscar winner Charlize Theron. "But for me, it's the people who make this country absolutely shine. They have a spirit and a strength to them that makes my home unlike anywhere else in the world."

Neill Blomkamp
With the phenomenal success of the South African production District 9 the 31-year-old writer-director is quickly becoming one of Hollywood's hottest properties. Next up is the sci-fi epic Elysium with Matt Damon, Jodie Foster and District 9 alum Sharlto Copley.

Ann Peacock
A graduate of the University of Cape Town with a law degree, she won an Emmy for her screenplay for the HBO film A Lesson Before Dying in 1999. Big-screen credits include The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and Nights in Rodanthe.

Jonathan Liebsman
Born and raised in Johannesburg, Liebesman went to NYU's Tisch School of the Arts before making his directorial debut with the 2003 Columbia thriller Darkness Falls. He most recently directed the sci-fi hit Battle: Los Angeles and is working on the Clash of the Titans sequel, Wrath of the Titans.

Charlize Theron
Undoubtedly South Africa's golden girl, the actress made an immediate impression with her sexy turn in the 1996 black comedy 2 Days in the Valley. After working in everything from romantic comedy to sci-fi, she firmly established herself on Hollywood's A-list with her Oscar-winning role as a serial killer in 2003's Monster. She next stars in Jason Reitman's Young Adult and George Miller's Road Warrior sequel Mad Max: Fury Road.

Original article here.

$1Million Production Fund for African Doc Filmmakers

Hot Docs and Blue Ice Film Announce $1-Million Production Fund

At this morning’s opening of the Hot Docs Forum it was announced that Hot Docs and Blue Ice Film have partnered to establish the Hot Docs-Blue Ice Film Documentary Fund. The $1-million production fund will provide financial support to independent documentary filmmakers based in developing African countries, with the goal of increasing the quality and quantity of social, cultural and political documentaries produced in the region. Generously established by Toronto-based Blue Ice Film, the Fund will be administered by Hot Docs and disbursements will be made over the next five years.

The Hot Docs-Blue Ice Film Documentary Fund will disburse six to ten grants each year to successful applicants for projects in various stages of production. Grants will range from $10,000 to $40,000. In addition to financing, the initiative will also offer valuable resources and industry connections. Through an accompanying mentorship program, selected African producers will team with international production partners to bring their projects to international markets, festivals, broadcast and online audiences.

The first application deadline for the Hot Docs-Blue Ice Film Documentary Fund will be in the fall of 2011 and guidelines will be available in September. The five-member selection committee will consist of representatives from Hot Docs and Blue Ice Film, in addition to other international industry professionals.

Original article here.

04 May 2011

Western Cape Film Permit Office Updates

4 May 2011-05-04



The City of Cape Town Film Permitting Office would like to advise of the following:

The relocation of the City of Cape Town’s Economic and Human Development Department, INCLUDING THE FILM PERMIT OFFICE, to the 14th Floor, Main Tower, Standard Bank Building, 2 Heerengracht, corner Hertzog Boulevard, Foreshore has been delayed due to infrastructural reasons.

The date revised date of relocation will be advised shortly.

The CTFPO will continue to operate from the Waldorf Building and the current telephone contact numbers for the CTFPO will remain active until further notice.

Film Permit Office: Tel: (021)- 483 9060; Fax2email: 086 576 1933
Please note: The old CTFPO fax number (021 483-9061) is no longer operational – please use the fax2email number listed above.

Effective April 1, 2011, the hours of operation of the Film Permit office has changed as follows:
07:30 am to 17:00pm, Monday through Friday all year-round.
Saturdays (October – April) - 09:00 am to 12:00 pm
The office is closed on Sundays and Public Holidays.

For more information, contact the CTFPO on Tel: 021-483 9060 / email: .

Thank you for your co-operation and support
Yours faithfully

Terence Isaacs
Head: Film and Events Permit Office

03 May 2011

Films for Teaching Social Justice

Conflict is the soul of narrative. Films, books, music and any other medium hoping to convey a particular message oftentimes finds inspiration in the very real issues spotting human experience. The results serve to educate viewers and hopefully pique effective action once the screen’s glow diminishes. Far, far more than these 15 movies and documentaries devote themselves to humanistic and social justice causes. All this list hopes to do is offer up a few admittedly subjective suggestions.

Read more about the films here.

DAC Director General

The Minister of Arts and Culture, Mr. Paul Mashatile, on the appointment of the New Director-General

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. Sibusiso Samuel Xaba as the Director-General of the Department of Arts and Culture. Mr. Xaba is currently the Head of Gauteng Planning Commission in the office of the Gauteng Premier. Among the posts he has held in the past includes: Head of Department: Economic Development, Gauteng Provincial Government; Deputy Director General: Economic & Development Planning, Department of Finance and Economic Development; Chief Director: Development Planning, Department of Finance and Economic development; Executive Director: Urban Sector Network and Director: Land Development, National Department of Land Affairs.

One of Mr. Xaba's notable achievements is that he played a critical role in the development and implementation of the Gauteng Growth and Development Strategy whose main aim was to reposition the Gauteng economy away from its traditional reliance on heavy manufacturing to focus on smart industries.

Mr. Xaba brings to the Department of Arts and Culture a wealth of experience that will strengthen the Department's mandate on social cohesion and the focus of unleashing the potential of the arts, culture and heritage sector to contribute to the New Growth Path. I welcome Mr. Xaba and wish him the best in his new job. I have no doubt that the Department will reach greater heights under Mr. Xaba’s leadership. I also wish to thank the Acting Director-General, Ms Veliswa Baduza for holding the fort during and keeping the Department on track.

Enquiries: Percy Mthimkulu 082 389 2684/Mack Lewele 082 450 5076

Producers Want Local Content Commitment

In response to the presentation made by acting GCEO the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) Robin Nicholson to parliament on 20 April regarding the troubled broadcaster's turnaround, the independent production sector has issued the following statement seeking firm commitment from the SABC on local content.

Whilst the IPO (Independent Producers Organisation) and SASFED (South African Screen Federation), who jointly represent more than 100 local film and television production companies, are pleased to note that Robin Nicholson reported an improvement in the organisation’s finances, we believe that this has come at the expense of quality programming and specifically in local content which has borne the major brunt of this improvement in the financial fortunes of the organisation. There have been severe cutbacks in the commissioning and acquisition of local content, a policy of repeats and budget cuts. The broadcast of quality programming is the SABC’s core function.

Although Nicholson told parliament that the SABC is committed to local content, local production companies would like to see specific commitments, including time frames for the commissioning of local programming. These include the publication of Requests for Proposals (RFPs) which were supposed to be released in December 2010 and which have not yet materialised.

The struggle to push the SABC to publish RFPs for the independent production sector was a hard and bitter struggle. The system is designed to ensure transparency and transformation and was seen as crucial to both a healthy production sector and SABC. It guards against corruption and ensures a system of merit in the commissioning process. The failure to publish RFPs is therefore noted with concern, not only because it impacts on the financial health of the production sector, but also because the absence of a transparent commissioning process creates an environment conducive to corruption and kick backs.

In addition, the IPO and SASFED, whose members collectively produce over 80% of local programming, are alarmed that the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) has not been monitoring local content because it does not have the necessary equipment to do so. This makes a mockery of one of ICASA’s important functions which is to monitor its own regulations. The SABC is legally obliged to deliver local content produced by independent producers. The quality and popularity of local shows cannot be contested, as audience ratings indicate that most of the top rated shows on television are South African.

Local content is important for democracy, for the preservation of our languages and building of our nation. In addition, the independent production sector employs thousands of people, many of whom are dependent on the SABC’s commissioning of local content.

The crisis at the SABC and its failure to preserve its core mandate in providing quality programming has weakened our production industry. Our local producers, directors and the raft of talent that is involved in TV production are critical to good programming. By the time the SABC wakes up to the need to produce quality programming, both the talent in the industry and their audiences will have gone elsewhere.

The Independent Production sector therefore calls on the SABC Board and its GCEO Robin Nicholson to put specific time-frames and deliverables to its stated commitment to local programming.

The original article can be found here.

Art and Democracy

Mike van Graan

The programme for the PEN World Voices Festival taking place in New York at this time states that a key mission of the Festival “is to encourage people to speak out against censorship and condemn the suppression of freedom of expression everywhere”. The three signatories to this introduction – Laszlo Jakab Orsos, the Director of the Festival; Salman Rushdie, the chairperson of the festival steering committee and K. Anthony Appiah, the President of the PEN American Centre that hosts the Festival - further state “we firmly believe in literature as a key weapon in fighting this battle.”

South Africa celebrates 17 years of democracy this week, 17 years of the abolition of censorship boards, 17 years of freedom of expression guaranteed in the country’s Constitution which states: “everyone has the right to freedom of expression which includes a. freedom of the press and other media b. freedom to receive and impact information or ideas c. freedom of artistic creativity and d. academic freedom and freedom of scientific research.”

As part of the PEN Festival, an excerpt of my play Green Man Flashing was staged as a reading at the Martin E. Segal Theatre and was followed by a discussion.

The play is set six weeks before South Africa’s second elections in 1999. Gabby Anderson, a one-time political activist now working in government, alleges she has been raped by her boss, a high-profile government minister with an impeccable anti-apartheid struggle record and who plays a key role in quelling violence between the African National Congress (ANC) and the Inkatha Freedom Party in his native KwaZulu Natal. If the allegations go public, it could hurt the ruling party in the elections, lead to a high number of deaths in election-related violence and compromise international investment. The ANC sends a two-person delegation to Anderson to convince her not to go through with the charges.

Rather than the stark us-them, black-white, goodies and baddies binary oppositions of much of the theatre staged in the apartheid era, Green Man Flashing seeks to explore some of the moral contradictions, the racial ironies and the political complexities of a society in transition. It juxtaposes individual human rights against the greater good (albeit as defined by those in power) and the pandemic of gender violence against political violence, challenging the audience to think about their moral positions in a society struggling with political and moral ambivalences.

When the play was first produced in 2004 with subsequent seasons in 2005 (some time before Jacob Zuma - now South Africa's president - was charged with rape), I placed books in the foyers of the theatres so that audience members could articulate their responses to the play. The most recurring – and for me, disturbing – comment was that this was a “brave play”, “a courageous work”, the implication being that dealing with such themes in post-apartheid South Africa was somehow considered to be daring, edgy and even dangerous.

Why would this be the case, I wondered, when we were ten years into our democracy; when, in the apartheid era, some of us were arrested for staging a piece of street theatre that constituted “an illegal gathering”, others had their works banned and still others had been detained without trial for challenging the apartheid state through their artistic creativity. Why should writers be considered “brave” in exercising freedom of creative expression under a democratically elected government that had sworn to uphold a Constitution guaranteeing human rights?

At that time of course, Thabo Mbeki was president of the country and it was a period when the ruling party was very sensitive to any kind of criticism, where those who dared to criticise – no matter how legitimate the criticism - were dismissed as racists (or ultra-leftists if they were not white), as people who simply could not accept a black government. It was a time when self-censorship was rife.

Often, international focus is on those countries where conditions are so repressive that we marvel at and celebrate those artists and writers who challenge the status quo at great financial, personal and even physical costs to themselves. This is as it should be. But sometimes, even within democratic countries, there is a need for writers, artists and musicians to speak truth to power, to challenge new political dogmas, to provide a voice for those on the underside of history.

Democracies are generally works-in-progress and there will always be attempts to restrict freedom of expression whether through overt political censorship, withdrawal of economic resources, intimidation or other means by political authorities or those who occupy positions of leadership in some institution, community or cause.

While the general view is that the arts require conditions for freedom of expression, literature, theatre, music, film, visual arts, etc are also means for creating and expanding such conditions where they do not exist or are under threat. The best way to ensure artistic freedom may simply be to practice it.

The original article can be found here.

Story to be Told

I’m looking for a documentary filmmaker who’s willing to shoot my story that tells of anybody’s ability to recover from any traumatic experience … if they can attach meaning to their experience -on the basis of Corporate Social Investment. It will be well worth your while because I’ve got a globally unique story AND because it’ll be saleable worldwide!

I was involved in a severe motorbike accident in my matric-year (1986) that left me in a coma for 7-months. F.y.i. any coma that lasts longer than an hour is classified as “serious”. Since then, I’ve achieved my matric (albeit over 4 years), University qualifications (x6), released a motivational CD “5%” (because that’s the chance I was given to survive the first night I spent in ICU) and I have been delivering inspirational speeches since 2004 because I know that anybody can do anything “…if they can give it some meaning” - Dr^56 Viktor Frankl. I’m sure that Madiba also falls into this category (who also has ‘blue blood’ in his veins)

When Frankl was asked why he called his and only 5% of the other prisoners (including my late-father) survival from imprisonment in Auschwitz during WW2 “spiritual”, he replied: “because there’s no other word to describe it.”

(Given the global viewership of the Royal Wedding last week was 2 billion people … and given that I also have ‘blue blood’ in me … that MUST say something.)

I have 25 years of personal- and 18 years of theoretical-experience in the subject (Head Injuries). I also have contact with Doctor’s, Professor’s and Universities.

I’m also a member of the Pretoria Stroke Support Group – for which I compile quarterly-newsletters. (f.y.i. Strokes and Head Injuries are both classified under ‘Acquired Brain Injuries)’.
“Even under normal conditions, a strong meaning orientation is a health-promoting and a life-prolonging, if not a life-preserving, agent.” Viktor E. Frankl
I’ve only had contact with two other survivors of head injuries in the last year and they’re both turned to religion to explain their recoveries. I also think that my inner religious beliefs also played a role in my recovery. THAT and given the fact that there are so many accidents every day … there must be a demand for this!

Take a look at (Viktor Frankl Institute – SA) for more information about the course. If you go to that page, look under Logotherapists.

Look for my name on Facebook under ‘Inspirational speakers’

I can be contacted:
+27 082 749 3549 (c),