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.

12 May 2011

Sallywood with F.I.L.M




















Dear Potential Sallywood Applicants

We have the privilege of managing a Section 21 not-for-gain film mentorship and training programme. (www.filmsa.co.za ). We are accredited training providers and skills development facilitators and were fortunate to receive a grant from the Mappp-Seta for which we applied before it was assimilated into the new MICT Seta for the Sallywood Project.We plan on beginning the project at the earliest, 1 June 2011. We are currently in the final stages of applicant selection but are prepared for more applications if they can be submitted within the next week by Friday 13 May 2011.

Many of you may have heard about the Sallywood Project from F.I.L.M. members or via the film industry grapevine. We are delighted to announce that we have formally signed the agreement for a Discretionary Grant from the Mappp-Seta for the Sallywood Project and we are now in the process of recruiting 40 trainees for the Sallywood Project programme. Here follows a brief outline of what the Sallywood Project involves:

THE SALLYWOOD PROJECT MISSION
To Tell Southern Africa’s stories through Film & Electronic Media in a captivating, highly professional way in one-off & episodic or series form, while identifying, up-skilling & empowering talented, accomplished young film-makers and entrepreneurs.

To Tell & Sell Southern Africa’s Stories through Film, Electronic & Digital Media
- As Highly Marketable, Magnetic, Episodic Product via Broadcast & Distribution in Africa
- While providing Sustainable Work Placement & Job Creation & Unit-standard Aligned Skills Development, Training & Mentorship
- As a Social Enterprise applying Market-based Strategies, to strive to become Self-funding and Sustainable while achieving a significant Social & Economic Development Purpose
- Produced by primarily, but not exclusively, Previously Disadvantaged People and pitched at a rapidly expanding, emerging, constantly evolving, increasingly upwardly mobile, mass market

THE CHALLENGE
-To create & produce highly marketable, magnetic episodic, ongoing television one-off productions and series with steadily increasing appeal, attraction and brand-equity in the growing, emerging mass-market broadcast and distribution arena effectively making African stories in episodic form captivating, highly entertaining & irresistible
-To retain the raw, visceral energy that will render these products unique & irresistible
-To workshop the material with the creators at the various stages of the process, appropriately embedding strong, positive, moral & social messaging, communicating key social issues like Conflict Resolution; HIV & Aids Awareness; Corruption & Crime in the end, don’t pay; showing the ultimate rewards inherent in honesty, courage, selflessness, self-discipline, service & many other positive moral attributes contributing towards a better life for all.
-Simultaneously to conduct unit-standard aligned skills training and mentorship - with hands-on experiential-learning workshops with SA’s top mentors - taking F.I.L.M. Sallywood trainees through the critical stages of the Film & Television Series Production Process.
-To promote entrepreneurship and create sustainable work placement, employment opportunities and job creation

THE PRODUCT
To ensure a rock-solid foundation to this project and to ensure top quality products for broadcast emerging from The Sallywood Project - intensive, thorough, detailed script development is vital - over a significantly longer period in order to ensure that essentially brilliant ideas & story-lines realize their full-potential as completed productions for broadcast. We are provisionally looking at producing the following product during the pilot Sallywood Project programme.

1 X EPISODIC SERIES
-The Sallywood Project plans a 1 x 4 episode short series which will go into production in 3 – 4 months; 1 Episodic Drama Series: 4 X half-hour episodes (roughly 22 minutes long )

3 X 1-OFF FILM DRAMAS
-1 x FILM DRAMAS that are first draft scripts based on great, well developed, executable ideas, ready in 3 months time; 3 X 1 hour Dramas (45 -50 minutes on a roughly 58 page script)
-1 new idea, that is a good, executable idea, already well advanced in terms of development, but needing more work and will take maybe 4-6 months before production;
-1 very fresh, undeveloped idea that shows real potential and may take 6-9 months to go into production
This staggered process effectively keeps trainees busy at varying stages of the origination, development, production and post-production process, but effectively allows us to get material out and on air as soon as possible to give a clear indication to our eventual broadcast partner that the Sallywood Project can produce results and great quality.

BENEFICIARIES
-PREDOMINANTLY BUT NOT EXCLUSIVELY PREVIOUSLY DISADVANTAGED PEOPLE
oPassionate young aspiring television & film-makers and media-entrepreneurs from all walks of life
oF.I.L.M. trainees who are aspiring writers, directors, producers, crew across the film & TV production skills set spectrum.
oYou require a minimum of a Grade 12 and while you do not necessarily require film & television tertiary education you must complete the application form as requested and submit it to the F.I.L.M. programme by 13 May 2011.

We have attached two forms (DFA members get them with the newsletter):
1)Sallywood Project Trainee Application form: This is an application form which you have to fill out in full in order to be eligible for selection as one of the 40 initial trainees on the Sallywood Project.
2)Sallywood Story Submission form: We are on a search for South Africa’s best stories that can be turned into really kick-ass scripts for production and broadcast. Please send us your stories. The copyright of your story if already vested in yourself as the author remains with you unless otherwise negotiated in a fair and equitable manner. You do however have to be prepared to permit your story to be made on the Sallywood Project otherwise there is no point in submitting it.

We look forward to your submitted applications and your awesome Sallywood story submissions as soon as possible as we are currently engaged in the final selection process for the most suitable candidates.

Here’s a to a super-successful Sallywood Project programme. It can’t work without you and your creative genius.

Warm regards

Seton Bailey & the F.I.L.M. Team
F.I.L.M.
T +27 21 461 7950 F +27 21 461 7951 C +27 82 787 4456
2 The Avalon 123 Hope St Gardens 8001 Cape Town South Africa
www.filmsa.co.za

Big Fish Positions Available for Applicants



















Please click the image to view the details.

SAGE Short Films Johannesburg Venue Confirmed




















Please click the image to view the details.

11 May 2011

EBS International Documentary Festival

















Please click the image to read the details or visit the web site.

Environmental Photographer of the Year 2011

















the deadline for the international Environmental Photographer of the Year 2011 competition is approaching fast, so anyone wishing to enter our new video category has until 31st July.

As always, the competition is completely free to enter and is open to international amateur and professional photographers of any age, encouraging entries that are contemporary, creative, resonant, original and beautiful. The winning photographs come together to form the most outstanding collection of environmental, social and natural photographs in the world.

The new video category is for short film clips of between 5 and 30 seconds on all environmental issues.

Copyright is retained by the photographer.

For anyone interested in finding out more, or entering their pictures, please go to www.epoty.org.

Left Hand Drive Vehicles Needed












Please click the image to read the notice.

Diverse Encounters Line-up
















Diverse Encounters line-up
Wed, 11 May 2011 10:13

Thirty-seven films from 14 countries, including 11 world premieres and 19 South African films, make up the programme for this year’s Encounters South African International Documentary Festival, which runs in Cape Town and Johannesburg from 9 to 26 June. Encounters is widely acclaimed as Africa’s most prestigious documentary festival.

Eye-opening films investigate everything from Robert Mugabe’s reign in Zimbabwe (Whatever happened to Robert Mugabe?) to Middle Eastern falcon traders with links to Osama Bin Laden (Feathered Cocaine) to New Zealand’s preparations for this year’s Rugby World Cup (Cup of Dreams) to the difference between eco-warriors and eco-terrorists in America (If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front, which came second at Miami Film Festival).

Africa’s not left out: When China Met Africa is an award-winning account of the impact and experiences of Africa’s biggest investor.

“We’ve had an extraordinary number of entries this year,” says Festival Director Mandisa Zitha. “Our final selection will keep audiences entertained but also make them relook at the world through new eyes. With just over half the programme coming from within our borders, Encounters also reveals the very different worlds South Africans experience within the same country.”


Zitha notes that 2011 saw more South African entries than ever before. “Our filmmakers are expanding their funding resources beyond the broadcasters, which means that we’ve received better films which are more varied. It’s been a relief to get fewer TV format-style documentaries and more auteur-driven independent ones.”
Simon Wood’s Forerunners, winner of the Jury Award at The Pan African Film Festival in Cannes, explores South Africa’s emerging black middle class, while Tim Wege’s King Naki tells the story of the Seabiscuit of the Eastern Cape.

Brian Tilley’s History Uncut is a rare interview with Chris Hani, who’s been called the president we should have had, while Eddie Edwards’ Once Upon a Day profiles Brenda Fassie, the controversial queen of African pop.

Two well-known local writers make eagerly anticipated directorial debuts at the Festival.
Lauren Beukes, whose Zoo City recently won The Arthur C. Clarke Award for the year’s best science fiction novel, will première Glitterboys and Ganglands, the funny and moving story of three hopefuls of the Miss Gay Western Cape competition

Eric Miyeni, who wrote The Only Black at the Dinner Party and was famously fired by SAFM for being too controversial, will screen Mining for Change: A Story of South African Mining, which is sure to generate heated debate. Miyeni directed the film with Navan Chetty.

Read further here.

Photo and Film Expo 2011




















View the newsletter.

Clicking the image will take you to the web site.

Schnit Call for Entries














Call for entries for 2011 SHNIT International Shortfilmfestival (South
African Release)

Now in its ninth edition, shnit 2011 will take place from 5 to 9
October in Bern, Cologne, Vienna, and for the second year, Cape Town.


In addition to the existing three international jury awards (SMART
JOE, MAGIC JACK and LONG JOHN), there is an INTERNATIONAL AUDIENCE
PRIZE and this year will be the first to boast an award category for
each host country, BEST SWISS-MADE, GERMAN, AUSTRIAN-MADE and SOUTH
AFRICAN SHORTS.

Films MUST be submitted internationally through the online webform at
www.shnit.org, or through reelport.com or shortfilmdepot.com. PLEASE
NOTE: Films CAN be eligible for both INTERNATIONAL and SA NATIONAL
competition, there is one submission and we will decide where they
compete.


Hard copy screeners can be delivered to:
Shnit International shortfilmfestival
47 Ritchie Street
University Estate
Cape Town
7925

or to the festival address in Bern, Switzerland, available as per
address at shnit.org

Submission deadline: 1st of July 2011
Entry fee: no fee

Requirements :
1) Films completed after : 2009
2) Maximum running time : 15 minutes (excluding credits)
3) Country of production : all
4) Screening formats : HDV, Beta SP, Digital BetaCam, DVCam, MiniDV,
DVD (preferably standard PAL for all formats), .mov (sent on CD-R /
DVD-R, USB pen drive, by FTP, online sending service or e-mail)
5) Genres accepted : all genres accepted
6) if the dialogue language is not English the film must provide
subtitles preferably in English.

Prize money of more than CHF 42000 (~ 32'000 €/EUR ~ 43'600 $/USD ~
R300,000) will be awarded.

SMART JOE under 4 min, CHF 13'000 ~ 5'300 €/EUR ~ 7'300 $/USD ~ R50,000
MAGIC JACK from 4 to 10 min, CHF 10'000 ~ 7’600 €/EUR ~ 10'400 $/USD ~ R75,000
LONG JOHN over 10 min, CHF 7'000 ~ 9'900 €/EUR ~ 13'500 $/USD ~ R98,000
shnit AUDIENCE AWARD all films, CHF 5'000 ~ 3'800 €/EUR ~ 5'200 $/USD ~ R35,000

Additionally four national prizes* will be awarded:
SWISSMADE Jury award
MADE IN SOUTH AFRICA Jury award
MADE IN GERMANY Jury award
MADE IN AUSTRIA Jury award
* The prize money for all national competitions is calculated based on
the current per capita GDP. The exact amount will be announced at the
end of May 2011 on www.shnit.org.

Note: There is no single application for the national competitions all
the films will be chosen from the submitted films to the international
competition shnit-Open 2011.



NON-COMPETITION – KAAPSE BOBOTIE

In this second year of hosting shnit in Cape Town we expand our KAAPSE
BOBOTIE programme to include a larger and more diverse variety of
local treats, including a special focus on music videos. Entries for
this non-competition category are locally curated. Please submit
through the webform at https://www.shnit.org/home-cape-town.html and deliver hard copies
to the local shnit address above.

Please contact submissions_cape@shnit,org for information. We will
accept films longer than 15min in this category.

WE ENCOURAGE AS MANY LOCAL FILMMAKERS AS POSSIBLE TO ENTER
IN-COMPETITION AND TO SUBMIT THEIR FILMS TO THE KAAPSE BOBOTIE
SELECTION PANEL!

shnit is expanding rapidly, adding new cities to the family each year.
With prospects including South American, American and Australian
cities, it's on its way to becoming a truly global film celebration.
To join our Cape Town team, or for information on volunteering,
contact capetown@shnit.org.

For general information get us at info@za.shnit.org.

Keep up to date on shnit progress at http://www.shnit.org/

10 May 2011

PUMA Creative Catalyst Award Opens
















APPLICATIONS ARE NOW OPEN FOR THE NEXT ROUND OF AWARDS.
SUBMISSIONS WILL BE OPEN UNTIL 15TH AUGUST 2011.

An international documentary development fund, offering 40 awards annually of up to 5,000 euros each.

This is a rapid response fund, providing resources in the early stages of documentary projects, to shoot and edit a film trailer. The fund is open to filmmakers of any nationality and grants will be awarded on a quarterly basis.

These awards are open to emerging and established filmmakers working anywhere in the world.
We welcome one-off, creative documentary ideas of any length and subject, in any style and form, but we are particularly keen on ideas that speak to PUMA.Vision’s core values of Safe, Peace and Creative.

The current call for applications is now open until August 22nd 2011, with the awardees due to be announced in October 2011. Please join our mailing list and keep checking on the website for the next open call of 2011. Take a look at our Puma Catalyst Awards Film Directory to see previously funded developments.

Visit the page.

Encounters Documentary Producers' Workshop


















Documentary Producers' Workshop 2011
13 - 15 June 2011, Cape Town

Call For Applications
In an increasingly competitive environment a documentary producer needs a broad range of skills to grow their business, and produce films that can travel internationally.
Encounters, with the support of the Cape Film Commission (CFC) and The National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund (NLDTF), will host a workshop that will assist 10-12 documentary companies' grow capacity so that they can operate optimally. Top industry professionals, specialists in their chosen fields, will run the intensive three-day workshop.
The topics include:
• Introduction to Smart Producing
• Music Rights: Commissioning and Licensing.
• Raising Finance for Documentaries: Exploring sources of finance, locally and internationally, and how to secure those funds.
• Archive Access and Rights: How to clear rights of Archive films, photos, anything that can be owned. What is meant by 'public domain'? What is 'fair use'? Where to find cheaper archives.
• Marketing & Publicity: How to build a marketing & publicity campaign to gain maximum exposure for your film.
• Sales: How to develop a strategy for sales & distribution and to maximise revenue potential.
• Understanding Contracts: The importance of the Chain of Title List of Agreements.
• Working with Broadcasters: From Creative to Financial.
• Running a Small / Medium Enterprise: How to run an efficient business.

Participants
The course is designed for small, micro and medium sized production companies, who have produced at least one documentary.

Selection
The selection committee will comprise of appointed representatives from the Industry and Encounters. Applicants will be notified by email 10 days before the workshop.

Availability
The 3-day course will take place in Cape Town during the Festival, from Monday 13 - Wednesday 15 June. Applicants should be available for the full duration of the course.

Fees: R2,000.00
This includes:
• Course materials
• Meals (teas, coffees and lunch)
• Festival tickets to Encounters and invites to functions
A number of bursaries are available, however this does not include transport to or accommodation in Cape Town. Bursary applicants must motivate for a bursary in a cover letter attached to the application.

Submitting Applications
Application Deadline: Monday 23 May.
Applicants must submit:
• Company profile
• CV of Producer(s)
• Filmography
• Contact co-ordinates
• Motivation for Bursary - where applicable.

Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Contact: Mandisa Zitha

Email: reception@encounters.co.za

Tel: (021) 465 4686

Fax: (021) 461 6964

Original post here.

09 May 2011

Royal Challenge

















Google’s live streaming of the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton marks the beginning of the end for traditional broadcast models.

The search engine giant streamed Friday’s wedding live to millions of viewers across the world. It’s estimated that as many as 400m people logged onto YouTube to see it.

What Google proved was that hundreds of millions of people could log onto the service at the same time and watch live streaming with only a few hiccups.

Despite the demand, I managed to watch the entire wedding — using my 3G connection, nogal.
There are also rumours that Google wants to offer legally streamed on-demand Hollywood flicks directly to consumers for a fee. What this means is the company is getting its hands stuck firmly into the broadcasting space. Broadcasters could soon have a serious new rival chasing after the limited pool of advertising dollars.

The trouble with the current broadcasting model is that it forces you to watch programming at set times (or, if you’re lucky, time-shift it using a personal video recorder). It takes me back to boarding school days when I was told what and when to eat.

In the Internet age, this model is no longer sustainable. Internet video specialists like Netflix have started providing on-demand services, making waiting for the Friday night movie or series unnecessary.

But Netflix and similar services are still niche and they only serve some markets. In SA, the only way to get the latest series or movies, other than through broadcasting technology, is by pirating them.

This is not the first foray by Google into on-demand television. The company launched its Google TV service and set-top box a few years ago, but it tanked because broadcasters refused to release their content to the Internet company. And for good reason — the TV advertising business is worth billions and no broadcaster in its right mind would willingly give that up.

But if the speculation is true, and if Google does get more seriously into the business, it could spell trouble in the longer term for broadcasters. Google’s reach and its expertise in targeted advertising could result in broadcasters finding themselves increasingly cut out of the loop.
Talk is that movie companies Lionsgate, Warner Brothers, Sony Entertainment and Paramount are all on board with Google’s plan. And it won’t be long before popular series producers follow suit.

The truth is that the Internet can be a great tool for broadcasters, but only if they take the time to investigate the best ways of bringing services to customers. It’s also true that, for the most part, I would rather watch a movie on my nice, 42-inch TV screen than my computer monitor.
But at the end of the day, most modern consumers of media are all about instant gratification and if I had to choose to watch a movie next month on my big screen, or watch it now on my desktop, I would most likely choose the latter.

SA broadcasters will still have a long way to go before they need to worry about the Internet taking over their services. The Internet is far from ubiquitous in this country, though even local broadcasters will need to figure out eventually how to stay relevant. Fortunately for them, they have the advantage of learning from their international peers’ successes and mistakes.

Original article here.

The Reality Principle


















The Reality Principle
The rise and rise of a television genre.
by Kelefa Sanneh May 9, 2011

On January 6, 1973, the anthropologist Margaret Mead published a startling little essay in TV Guide. Her contribution, which wasn’t mentioned on the cover, appeared in the back of the magazine, after the listings, tucked between an advertisement for Virginia Slims and a profile of Shelley Winters. Mead’s subject was a new Public Broadcasting System series called “An American Family,” about the Louds, a middle-class California household. “Bill and Pat Loud and their five children are neither actors nor public figures,” Mead wrote; rather, they were the people they portrayed on television, “members of a real family.” Producers compressed seven months of tedium and turmoil (including the corrosion of Bill and Pat’s marriage) into twelve one-hour episodes, which constituted, in Mead’s view, “a new kind of art form”—an innovation “as significant as the invention of drama or the novel.”

“An American Family” was a hit, and Lance Loud, the oldest son, became a celebrity, perhaps the world’s first openly gay TV star. But for decades “An American Family” looked like an anomaly; by 1983, when HBO broadcast a follow-up documentary on the Louds, Mead’s “new kind of art form” seemed more like an artifact of an older America. Worthy heirs to the Louds arrived in 1992, with the début of the MTV series “The Real World,” which updated the formula by adding a dash of artifice: each season, a handful of young adults were thrown together in a house, and viewers got to know them as they got to know one another. It wasn’t until 2000, though, that Mead’s grand claim started to look prescient. That year, a pair of high-profile, high-concept summer series nudged the format into American prime time: “Big Brother,” a Dutch import, was built around surveillance-style footage of competitors locked in a house; “Survivor,” a Swedish import, isolated its stars by shipping them somewhere warm and distant, where they participated in faux tribal competitions. Both of these were essentially game shows, but they doubled as earthy anthropological experiments, and they convinced viewers and executives alike that television could provide action without actors.

We are now more than a decade into the era that Mead, who died in 1978, saw coming. “I think we need a new name for it,” she wrote, and in the past decade we have mainly settled on “reality television,” although not without trepidation. “Reality” is, if not quite a misnomer, a provocation—a reminder of the various constraints and compromises that define the form. Certainly, “reality television” is an amorphous category; Mark Andrejevic, a cultural theorist, notes that “there isn’t any one definition that would both capture all the existing genres and exclude other forms of programming such as the nightly news or daytime game shows.” If Mead were alive today, she might be surprised at the diversity of the form, which has proved equally hospitable to glamorous competitions, like “American Idol,” and to homely documentaries, like “Pawn Stars,” which depicts the staff and clientele of a Las Vegas pawnshop. But she might also be surprised to see how many programs hew to the “American Family” formula: one of MTV’s biggest current hits is the riveting “Teen Mom” franchise, which follows a handful of young mothers as they negotiate shifting cultural realities and stubborn biological ones, building American families of their own. This season, one of the stars, Chelsea, unloaded the dishwasher in her new house, watched closely by her father, who had agreed to pay the rent.

“I’m just standing here, watching you pretend like you’re a little housewife,” he said, fondly.

“I am,” she said, and then she drew a fine distinction that any scholar of kinship structures would appreciate. “A housemom.”

One of the biggest differences between today’s reality television and its 1973 antecedent is the genre’s status. Having outgrown PBS, it has inherited the rotten reputation that once attached to the medium itself. In an era of televised precocity—ambitious HBO dramas, cunningly self-aware sitcoms—reality shows still provide a fat target for anyone seeking symptoms or causes of American idiocy; the popularity of unscripted programming has had the unexpected effect of ennobling its scripted counterpart. The same people who brag about having seen every episode of “Friday Night Lights” will brag, too, that they have never laid eyes on “The Real Housewives of Atlanta.” Reality television is the television of television.

No surprise, then, that a counter-movement has arisen, in the form of books that urge us to take these shows more seriously. Jennifer L. Pozner is a journalist and activist, and in the past decade she has watched, by her count, “more than a thousand hours of unscripted programming,” which is a lot if you think of it as work, but not much—two hours per week, which may be less than the average American watches—if you don’t. For Pozner, it certainly was work. The book she wrote about her experiment is “Reality Bites Back: The Troubling Truth About Guilty Pleasure TV” (Seal; $16.95), and, halfway through, she sums up her verdict: “I’ve found most of it painful (‘Dr. 90210’), aggravating (‘The Bachelor’), or mind-numbingly boring (‘The Hills’).” Still, her target audience is her fellow-viewers, not her fellow-activists, which lends the book a pleasingly unpretentious attitude: readers unfamiliar with Schadenfreude can find a definition in the footnotes, but readers unfamiliar with “Paradise Hotel” are on their own. (For the record, it was a complicated 2003 show, on Fox, in which the evolving cohabitational arrangements of dozens of bronzed young people helped determine which one would be expelled next.)

Having logged those thousand hours, Pozner can attest that reality shows have a tendency to blur together into a single orgy of joy and disappointment and recrimination. In her view, this is no coincidence: the shows are constructed to reinforce particular social norms, she argues, and she finds examples from across the reality spectrum. There is an expectedly acerbic analysis of “Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire,” one of the first shots fired in the current reality revolution (it aired on Fox, as a one-time special, in February, 2000), in which the winner of a televised beauty pageant agreed to marry, sight unseen, a “multimillionaire”—who, it later emerged, was possibly a thousandaire, and definitely the target of a restraining order filed by a former girlfriend. That show was a gleeful train wreck, powered by its female contestants’ desperation to be picked, which is to say, married. Pozner detects a similar anxiety in a more venerable show, “The Bachelor,” which recently ended its fifteenth season on ABC. Although the producers pile on signifiers of romance—ball gowns, candles, roses, breathy declarations—the weekly eliminations are what give the show its cruel but satisfying rhythm. Pozner zeroes in on a contestant who, despite having been a vegetarian for twelve years, accepted a piece of lamb from the man she was trying to impress:

“My stomach will probably never be the same, but at least I touched his hand,” she said, grateful for crumbs. After she got the heave-ho, she batted her big brown eyes at the camera and moaned: “You wanna see a girl that’s crushed, you got her.”

For Pozner, this figure—the woman “crushed” for our amusement—is the driving force behind much reality television. She charts the various programs that punish women for their alleged greed, like “Joe Millionaire,” in which the titular millionaire finally reveals himself to be more or less broke, and “Charm School,” which promised to “tear down and rebuild” its female participants. She is aghast at the cosmetic-surgery makeover show “The Swan,” which she calls “the most sadistic reality series of the decade.” (The second and final season was broadcast in 2004, so Pozner’s superlative arrives too late to be of any use to the show’s publicists.) And she is scarcely kinder to “What Not to Wear,” a nonsurgical makeover show in which, she writes, “an ethnically and economically diverse string of women are ridiculed for failing to conform to a single upper-middle-class, mainstream-to-conservative, traditionally feminine standard of fashion and beauty.” For Pozner, the ridicule is more vivid, and therefore more effective, than whatever rote transformation comes next.

This idea—that pernicious images and ideas are more powerful than benign ones—shapes Pozner’s analysis in every case, and explains how she manages to extract clear messages from messy exchanges. To demonstrate that reality television promotes the idea of female incompetence, she mentions a particularly stubborn and notably unsympathetic man from “Wife Swap,” who informed his temporary wife, a police detective, that gender-integrated police departments “put people’s lives at risk.” But she doesn’t mention that the man recanted a few scenes later, after a vigorous training session with some female officers.

In the same vein, Pozner tells the story of Toccara Jones, a curvilinear model—she describes herself as “vivacious and voluptuous”—who was the sixth runner-up on the third season of “America’s Next Top Model.” In a pitch-perfect impression of a “Top Model” partisan, Pozner derides the verdict of Tyra Banks, the show’s materfamilias (who declared Jones to have “lost her drive” and “checked out”), and lists various post-show successes: “To the rest of the mainstream media, Toccara is recognized as one of the most successful African-American plus-size models working today. To reality TV producers, she’s just a fat Black girl who needs to lose weight.” But isn’t she pointing to one of the form’s greatest strengths? Reality stars, unlike their scripted counterparts, outlive their shows, and sometimes find ways to defy them. For millions of viewers, the story of Lance Loud began in 1973, but it didn’t really end until his death, from hepatitis C and H.I.V., in 2001, at the dawn of the reality-television era that he helped inspire.

There is a taboo that left-leaning critics of popular culture are obliged to observe: never criticize the populace. Pozner tries her best to honor this proscription, following the trail blazed, half a century ago, by the theorists Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer, who lamented that “the deceived masses” were easy marks for a cynical and self-perpetuating “culture industry.” Because she writes about reality television, Pozner must observe this taboo twice over—the deceived masses are represented by the people onscreen, too. Starting in 2004, Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth, an African-American contestant on Donald Trump’s business competition show, “The Apprentice,” became reality television’s preëminent villain, possessed of an impressive ability to enrage the people around her; Pozner scrambles to explain this phenomenon without casting aspersions on either the antiheroine or her legions of detractors. First, she assures us that, whatever inspired Manigault-Stallworth’s “Black villainess diva” reputation, “it wasn’t her behavior.” Then, two pages later, she allows that “Omarosa has capitalized on a virulent stereotype about Black women, a path ‘Apprentice’ producers laid out for her.” She is eager to let audiences off the hook: in her account, “American Idol” (which she finds mean-spirited) was a success because energetic cross-promotion “guaranteed ratings gold,” and “Survivor” was a success “largely because the endless, from-all-corners buzz made viewership seem almost like a cultural imperative.”

Read the rest here.

08 May 2011

The Michael Saltino Story

SYNOPSIS
My story is a true South African, human story about a musician who was prepared to journey where no-one else dared to journey, in order to realize his dream. Along the way a lot of controversial and anti-establishment actions took place which attracted much media attention...............Eventually, in order to get some kind of recognition, Michael took on the might of the SABC by placing an advert in the "Citizen" newspaper concluding that "a precedent has been set whereby no-one in South Africa needs to pay for their TV licences anymore". This was an incredible harsh statement to make and tough yet interesting court battles followed. While all this happened Michael was based in Leandra, Mpumalanga---------where over the years he survived 5 armed robberies. On 26th November 2007 Michael survived three bullets shot at him from point blank range (5th armed robbery) and he thereafter strongly believes that the Almighty still has a purpose for him on this earth-------------

WHAT I AM LOOKING FOR
I am looking for a suitable doc. film company to do my story. Perhaps someone who feels (just as the general public does) that the time is now ripe for drastic changes by the SABC, so that that much of the South African Public, viewers and production companies can start benefitting from these changes. Simultaneously my music would be promoted. All that needs to be done is to tell the story as it is. Please note that I am currently in a position to partially finance such a documentary providing it could be exposed to the public by the SABC or MNet or some other high profile television company. A potentially interested production company should kindly take the trouble to browse into www.michaelsaltino.yolasite.com where 10 extracts of 10 original songs may be heard plus a one page story behind the music--------------and only if you ( the production company) are impressed with the music-----------a 13 page "heartfelt" story may be emailed to you, only at your request.

CONTACT DETAILS
Any doc. film producer who feels he/she is able to take on this project, or at least discuss it further may contact me at:
email saltino@telkomsa.net
cell 0825329066
tel 011- 6099870 (but sometimes this line is out of order)

I thank you for your time and trouble.
And looking forward to hearing from you.
Best wishes,
Michael (Saltino)