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.

15 July 2011

Why Roy Padayachie Had To Intervene






MATUMA LETSOALO - Jul 15 2011 11:24

Communications Minister Roy Padayachie tells the Mail & Guardian he was trying to give the SABC board a free hand.

Why did you intervene in changing the article of association to facilitate the appointment of the chief executive?
The most critical amendment was in response to the board, allowing it to engage any one of the employees in the position of group chief executive and we made it such that, for any acting position, the [incumbent] can be drawn from any employee in the SABC. The only substantive change is in regard to group chief executive because there is already a precedent regarding the other two executives that they are drawn from other staff members.

This has been interpreted by some as an attempt to pave the way for Phil Molefe to take over as the public broadcaster's acting chief executive?

In a sense it was a way to enable the board to have a greater freedom and a wider pool of candidates to choose from to put in an acting position. Phil just happened to be the person that the board nominated. They could have chosen anyone else. I had nothing to do with that choice.

Didn't you essentially rob the board of its role by intervening?
Not at all. In fact, the intervention to amend the articles of association will allow the board to play its role with complete freedom. The board became a prisoner to one person [Robin Nicholson], whose contract [as group chief financial officer] was expiring on June 30 and who had refused to sign the contract offered to him by the board until the very last minute. I am told that it [the board] might have engaged in discussion with him on the question of offering him a six-month contract. But he resisted signing because he wanted better terms. He wanted the board to offer him a 12-month contract on the basis that if the new chief executive did not require him in one or two months, he would have to get a full 12-months' pay.

The SABC's articles of association surely should be public, and changed only with Parliament involvement. Shouldn't they?
It's a matter of the shareholder. There is no public involvement. There is no parliamentary involvement.

Do you think Phil Molefe is conflicted in wearing both editorial and executive hats?
I don't see how he can be conflicted because I am told he has appointed somebody as head of news.

Did the ANC discuss this issue and what was the conclusion of that discussion?
That you must discuss with the ANC.

Why is Nicholson not the right man for the job?
That would be difficult to express an opinion on. If I had to express my own view, it would not be correct. But I can tell you that Nicholson, as group chief executive, was responsible for driving the turnaround strategy and the board thinks it is making progress. But the reports I get from the special monitoring committee established between the treasury and the department of communications has a different view about the matter. As the minister, I have to listen to my experts on the subject and decide on the kind of intervention I need to make on the matter.

So the board wanted Nicholson to continue doing what he was doing with regard to the turnaround strategy, but the ANC and government wanted somebody else?
That view has never been expressed to the minister.

What is your response to claims that you prefer Joe Mjwara to Tau Morwe [who is said to enjoy support from some members of the board] for the position of chief executive?
[Laughs] On that also I think the media knows more than the minister because the board has not informed me about its choices and decisions. I have learned everything I have learned through informal contacts.

Do you have your own preference?
The board has to have a selection process. The minister has got nothing to do with the selection process. The minister has the statutory right to accept or reject recommendations from the board. If the minister is not satisfied, he is not going to be able to take the name of the candidate to Cabinet.

The board chooses the candidate based on the information that the person has supplied to it. When it comes to the minister, the minister has access to information and sources which are wider than the board. For example, we might get intelligence reports which tell us that you can't put such and such a person in a particular position because there are certain question marks about security. The board is not privy to that, the minister is. The minister may have a legitimate reason to say to the board: "You must take this matter back." In this particular case, the matter is still open because I can consider the matter only once I have been informed about it. That's when I will make my position known. Right now, I can't have preferences.

What do you understand to be the scope of your work in relation to the SABC?
As a shareholder, you are the minister responsible for that company -- for the operation of the public broadcaster. You have to work with what is delivered to you in Parliament.

Do you sometimes overstep this?
I can't speak about other ministers, but, with me, I don't think so. The manner that I have engaged with the board, I always make sure there is a line that is understood between me and them.

You do get consulted from time to time as the minister, despite the fact that boards are independent. Sometimes they will like to know what the minister feels. They will consult you, but this takes place in the open. For example, when the board has taken a decision to retrench staff and that is likely to have a social impact. As a shareholder you have to be satisfied.

Do Jimi Matthews [the head of TV news] and Mike Siluma [the head of radio news and acting head of news] have your full support in operating with complete editorial independence?
There is one thing the minister does not do and that's interfere or engage on the editorial independence of the public broadcaster. The minister believes that the public broadcaster is there to serve the interests of the public. It is not an expression of one political party. It has to be balanced in the way it conveys the messages of the political system. It has the responsibility to play a role in the national cohesion of the people. It is not a mouthpiece of the government.

What is your view on the proposal for a media appeals tribunal?
If you are asking the minister as an ANC member, the minister will tell you he supports the resolution of the [ANC] national congress. It's a decision of the ANC conference, which we all respect. But wearing my ministerial hat I think it's a very necessary debate in the country. We do need to find the balance between self-regulation that does not meet and respect the dignity of individuals as opposed to outright state regulation that has no respect for the freedom of the press.

Original article here.

American Indies Look to SA for their Production Needs





by Rebecca Pahle

Production companies based outside the entertainment capitals of L.A. and N.Y.C. have grown increasingly popular over the last several years as financial incentive programs in states like Louisiana and New Mexico have drawn low-budget productions away from the bright lights of Sunset Boulevard and Broadway. But there’s another company giving independent movies a reason to go even further afield. Since 1995, Film Afrika has brought over 50 film and TV productions to South Africa and its neighboring countries, where moviemakers can take advantage of Film Afrika’s full range of product services as well as the area’s skilled crew base and diversity of locations.

Films including Lost Boys: The Thirst and The Lost Future, starring Sean Bean, have benefited from South Africa’s generous incentives package. Film Afrika’s head of production, Vlokkie Gordon, spoke with MM about the financial benefits of shooting in South Africa and how the recent upswing in international productions has impacted the country’s own local film industry.
Rebecca Pahle (MM): How would you describe the type of productions Film Afrika works with the most in terms of budget and size of production? What range of services do you provide to the films you work with?

Vlokkie Gordon(VG): There is no specific type of production that Film Afrika works on. We work on a very wide range of projects, all with different budgets and creative requirements.
We also service, produce and co-produce projects. To give you an example, in the past 18 months we’ve worked on three docudramas for the History Channel, an eight-part TV drama series for BBC 1, a French TV movie, an Italian feature film and a feature film for 20th Century Fox! Shot in and around Cape Town, these films ranged in time period from 1600 to 2050.
We provide the same level of service to each project. Our service level is not attached to the budget level but rather to our dedication to the project and our clients. We offer a full range of services, from development (budgeting, scheduling and location presentations) to production (attaching the crew, supervising the production logistics and supervising legal issues) to post-production accounting (performing final audits and closing the SPV). We also offer a full service in applying for the rebate, managing the rebate process and finally repatriating the funds.



MM: What financial incentives exist that make shooting in South Africa a smart choice for independent productions working with a low budget?

VG: South Africa (SA) has built up a reputation for its efficient and reliable rebate. It is the least complicated of all rebates available; you get a percentage back on all funds spent on goods and labor from SA, including the hiring of South African citizens or the use of South Africa-owned companies (there are specifics about this, but we will advise you on the company’s BBBEE [Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment] status).
There are two incentives available, and each qualifies for a different percentage rebate. The Service Rebate qualifies for 15% back on money spent in SA. The co-production and SA Film rebate qualifies for 35% back on the first $6 million South African rand spent (approximately $850,000 in U.S. currency), and anything over that qualifies for 25% rebate. The maximum payout is $20 million rand (approximately $2.85 million) on both rebates. In order to qualify for the Service Rebate the minimum spend is $1.75 million rand, but if the film is an official SA film or co-production, the minimum spend is only $360,000.

MM: What are some of the reasons you’ve heard from producers as to why they’ve brought their productions to South Africa?

There are various reasons, but a few are the incredible diversity of locations, the unbelievable production value and the fact a $5 million movie shot in SA can look like it cost $20 million. The crews speak English and work according to the British and American set rules. South African crews are very diligent and hardworking, and their experience level and the depth of crew always amazes international producers.
We have various equipment rental companies supported by the U.S., Germany and the U.K., all with very good support structures and trained technicians. There are no unions, though we do work to a strict code of conduct, with a gentleman’s agreement existing between the crew and SA producers.

MM: Have the international productions who have come to South Africa affected the country’s local film industry? Have you observed any changes in South African films over the last few years?
VG: 
The international productions coming into SA have had a big indirect impact on the local film industry. The international films serve as a very important arena for skills transfer and training. The income generated by equipment companies, post-production facilities and even the technicians allow local moviemakers to reinvest their time and talent at a huge discounted rate into the local industry. 
I do feel that the quality of local films and content has improved. Also, there’s more of a local distribution platform being established, but a lot of work still needs to be done in the development phase.

MM: Anything you’d like to add?
VG: Four state-of-the-art film studios were completed in Cape Town in 2010. The studios had hardly opened their doors when they started filming the 3D feature film Dredd, directed by Pete Travis. As that was completed, Chronicle, directed by Josh Trank for 20th Century Fox, moved in. We are very excited about the studios and believe it gives the SA industry an edge above other territories.

The original article may be found here.

SAGE Digital Worksflow Workshop in Cape Town




















Please click the image to view the details.

14 July 2011

MNet Launches Bursary Fund




















Please click the image to view the details.

Grant Pascoe Congratulates Denis Lillie




















Please click the image to view the details.

Right2Know Media Diversity Seminar

Please find below an invitation for the R2K Seminar on Media Diversity taking place on Tuesday 26 July:

Please share it any R2K supporter interested in attending.

Places (and travel budget) are limited so people should indicate their interest as soon as possible before Friday 15 July.

The Seminar Concept Note is copied below.

_____________________________________________________________

At it’s first National Summit in February 2011 the Right2Know
Campaign noted that while the Campaign was launched in response to
the Protection of Information Bill (the Secrecy Bill), the Bill was
itself symptomatic of a broader threat to the free flow of
information in South Africa. The Summit adopted a Vision & Mission
Statement (see Appendix 1) and resolved that the R2K Campaign should
broaden its focus from the Secrecy Bill to include other aspects on
access to information as well as defending and enhancing the
dissemination of information – media freedom and diversity (see
Appendix 2: R2K Resolution on Media Freedom & Diversity).

The Right2Know Campaign is holding a one day Strategy Seminar on the
26 July 2011 from 09h30 to 17h00 in Johannesburg to consult Campaign
stakeholders, develop perspectives and plans to campaign for greater
media diversity.

Seminar Background

There’s a high concentration of media ownership with an estimated
90% of South African media controlled by five companies (four
commercial and one public). This together with the commercialization
of all spheres of media (commercial, public & community) impacts
negatively on diversity and the free flow of information.

Developing a strong and independent community media sector that can
meet the information needs of marginalized communities is critical
to address this lack of diversity and making the Constitutional
rights to access information and freedom of expression real for the
majority of South Africans.

South Africa has made important strides in developing a community
media sector. In particular there are currently over 100 community
radio stations broadcasting to almost all urban and peri-urban
townships and many rural villages in South Africa. The South African
Advertising Research Foundation (SAARF) reported in June 2008 that
these stations collectively have 7 200 000 daily listeners. A
separate household survey conducted amongst listeners of 15
community radio stations by the Community Agency for Social Enquiry
(CASE) found that 95% of respondents listen to their community radio
stations daily.

The South African community radio movement is based on the belief
that radio is the most affordable, egalitarian and accessible
communication technology available and should be harnessed, at the
community level, to carry forward the country's reconstruction and
development. The South African community radio movement supports the
definition of community broadcasting in the Windhoek Charter on
Broadcasting in Africa (2001): "Community broadcasting is
broadcasting which is for, by and about the community, and whose
ownership and management is representative of the community, which
pursues a social development agenda, and which is non-profit”.

These projects are stable and self-sustaining despite the many
challenges they face in generating income, quality content and
meaningful community participation. Despite these challenges, some
community radio stations, through their programming, news, and
attention to local language and culture, have established themselves
as unique voices in the South African media.

One of the key strengths of community radio is its diversity and
geographical spread – community radio stations work with diverse
constituencies right across South Africa in urban settings as well
as in the rural periphery bringing together different gender, race,
age, political, and socio-economic groupings.

However this sector as a whole remains weak, under-resourced and
dependent on market forces for sustainability, which erodes
community ownership and control.

In this context the 2010 Public Service Broadcast Bill (BSB)
contained a number of potential opportunities and threats for the
independence and function of community broadcasters. The proposed
Bill proposed establishing a Public Service Broadcasting Fund to
lessen the market dependence of media projects but prescribed a
charter for community broadcasters that laid out the size,
composition and terms for governance structures and includes a
controversial proposal that municipal officials become ex-officio
members of the governing boards of stations. It also suggests that
the primary role of community broadcasters is to provide information
about what Government and municipalities are doing, suggesting a more
passive, ‘mouth-piece’
role and dilutes the critical role that this sector can play in
facilitating and encouraging vigorous and robust debate on
development priorities in their local contexts and taking on
municipalities and Government for service delivery failures and
corruption where necessary.

The Bill was met with significant resistance from civil society
forcing the Minister of Communications, Mr. Roy Padayachie, to
announced that the proposed Bill would be put on hold and that an
extensive Ministerial Policy Review of all Broadcast Policy would be
undertaken in 2011.

The seminar aims to develop civil society capacity to engage in this
critical policy review process to ensure that media freedom and
diversity is enhanced in South African and an enabling environment
is created where community media can thrive to serve the
communication needs of our communities.

Who should attend?

The Strategy Seminar is open to a wide range of community media
stakeholders form civil society including community media
stations/publications, trade unions, social movements, faith based
organisations, CBOs and NGOs.

Participants at the workshop should be in general agreement with the
Right2Know Campaign’s Vision and Mission (see Appendix 1),
Principles (see Appendix 2) and Resolution on Media Freedom and
Diversity (See Appendix 3), as these are the starting point for the
discussion.

Unfortunately participation in the seminar will be limited because
of budgetary constraints. If you are interested in attending the
seminar please email m...@aidc.org.za before the 15 July 2011.

Draft Seminar Programme

The draft programme for the Strategy Seminar for the 26 July 2011 in
Johannesburg is as follows:

9h30 Registration
10h00 Welcome & Introductions
10h15 INPUT: Media Freedom & Diversity - Presentation of R2K
National Summit Resolution
10h30 DISCUSSION - initial responses to Resolution
11h30 TEA
12h00 INPUT: Media Concentration, Ownership & Control -
Presentation of R2K discussion document
12h30 Discussions on Media Ownership & Control
13h00 LUNCH
14h00 PANEL: Community Media challenges and Alternatives
(based on
R2K discussion document)
- Funding Community Media
- Community Media Governance/
Independence
- Community Media Programming/Content
15h00 COMMISSIONS on panel themes and plotting way forward?
15h30 TEA
16h00 Commissions report
16h30 Way Forward & Plan of Action
- further consultation within and beyond R2K
- engaging the Ministerial Policy Review
- popular education & mobilization
17h00 CLOSURE

### ENDS ###
APPENDIX 1: Right2Know Campaign National Summit Resolution on Media
Freedom and Diversity

The Summit noted that:
ß There’s a high concentration of media ownership with 90% of South
African media controlled by five companies (four commercial and one
public). This impacts negatively on diversity and the free flow of
information; ß Mainstream media represents the interests of a small
and elite ideological base; ß SA has been at the forefront of
launching community radio. However, this sector remains weak and
under-resourced and dependent on market forces for sustainability,
which erodes community ownership and control; ß The role of ICASA
has been unable to perform its key function of monitoring compliance
and its regulatory functions, especially in relation to the SABC; ß
The ruling party’s proposed Media Appeals Tribunal (MAT) poses a
significant threat to media freedom and independence. However, there
is a increasing trend amongst the print media for sensationalist
reportage that lacks in critical depth and adopts citizens ‘ agenda,
and a lack of community and minority (women and children etc.)
representation; ß There is tremendous development and democratic
potential in social media as portals for exercising people’s rights.

Believing that:
ß Freedom of expression is a foundational Human Right and media
freedom is an integral component of freedom of expression; ß The
media is a public good and should not be commodified for purely
profit-driven purposes; ß A strong and independent regulator is
critical for an independent broadcast media that functions free from
government and commercial interference; ß There needs to be
diversity of ownership (private, government and
community) that each have the responsibility exercise a high
standard of journalistic ethics, including accuracy; ß The media
should offer diverse content and include the voices of poor and
working class people;

Therefore the Summit resolved:
1. To campaign to strengthen ICASA to ensure that it functions and
regulates courageously in the interest of the public, and not
government and commercial interests; 2. Campaign for the adequate
and sustainable funding of community media. Community media should
not be overly reliant on market sources of funding; 3. Campaign for
the adequate funding of the MDDA and to ensure that it is
independent, more effective, and that it is more transparent and
accountable in its processes, so that it fulfils its mandate of
growing and diversifying the media; 4. Ensure that community
stations are democratically owned and controlled by the community,
and to support communities in claiming their ownership and
participation in their stations, 5. Explore possible anti-trust
measures to limit the concentration of media ownership; 6. Reject
the Media Appeals Tribunal or any statutory regulation that impacts
on editorial freedom in the print sector; 7. Campaign for redressing
infrastructural impediments to the exchange of information including
accessible and affordable broadband for internet access; 8. Engage
in the policy review process on the far reaching Public Service
Broadcast Bill that is to be conducted by the Department of
Communications to ensure that these resolutions and principles are
applied and upheld in any legislation.

APPENDIX 2: Right2Know Campaign Vision & Mission

The Right2Know National Summit in February 2011 workshopped and
adopted the following vision and mission statements for the campaign:

Our vision:

“We seek a country and a world where we all have the right to know –
that is to be free to access and to share information.
This right is fundamental to any democracy that is open,
accountable, participatory and responsive; able to deliver the
social, economic and environmental justice we need.
On this foundation a society and an international community can be
built in which we all live free from want, in equality and in dignity.


Our Mission:

ß To co-ordinate, unify, organise and activate those who share our
principles to defend and advance the right to know.
ß To struggle both for the widest possible recognition in law and
policy of the right to know and for its implementation and practice
in daily life.
ß To root the struggle for the right to know in the struggles of
communities demanding political, social, economic and environmental
justice.
ß To propagate our vision throughout society.
ß To engage those with political and economic power where necessary.
ß To act in concert and solidarity with like-minded people and
organisations locally and internationally.

APPENDIX 3: Right2Know Campaign Principles

The Right2Know National Summit in February 2011 workshopped and
adopted the following principles for the Campaign:

“R2K Principles (“The Shalimar Principles”)

Preamble
We subscribe to the right to know, which is founded in the right to
dignity and is realised through rights freely to access and share
information.

We shall defend and advance the right to know, encouraged that it
and its constituent rights were won through peoples’ struggles in
South Africa and internationally, and are affirmed in the
Constitution of South Africa, the African Charter on Human and
Peoples’ Rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

We commit to the following principles, both in our own policies and
practices and in the vision we propagate throughout society:

Principle 1: Access to Information
All people have the right to access information, and have it equally.
This right has inherent value and enables many other democratic
rights.

The right to access information must be defended and advanced in
law, policy and practice as demanded inter alia by section 32 of the
Constitution of South Africa.

Principle 2: Free Flow of Information All people have the right to
express themselves – that is to share information, including opinion
– freely and equally. This right has inherent value and enables many
other democratic rights.

The right to free expression must be defended and advanced in law,
policy and practice as demanded inter alia by section 16 of the
Constitution of South Africa.

Principle 3: Free and Diverse Media
The media have rights and corresponding duties to access and
disseminate information, including opinion, freely and fairly,
without fear or favour. These rights and duties are vital to the
public’s exercise of many other democratic rights.

Media freedom must be defended and advanced in law, policy and
practice as demanded inter alia by section 16 of the Constitution of
South Africa.

Media diversity must be extended so that everyone, in particular the
socially and economically marginalised, shall have a voice.

Principle 4: Accountability and Transparency Transparency, achieved
through the right to know, holds power to account so that political,
social, economic and environmental justice is realised.

Principle 5: Informed Public Participation The right to know
empowers all people to participate in democracy actively and
effectively so that they can defend and advance their political,
social, economic and environmental rights.

Principle 6: Truth and Quality of Information The rights to access
information must be served through the provision of information that
is reliable, verifiable and representative of the data from which it
is derived, and must include the right to access source data itself.
Information must be provided transparently and equally, untainted by
partisan interests.

Principle 7: Proactive Dissemination of Information Public and
private bodies must disseminate information proactively.
Laws providing for access to information must not be used as a
shield to obstruct its release.

Principle 8: Equality
All rights, including the rights here demanded like any other right,
are equal to all people regardless of any human or social
characteristic including class, race, gender, language or sexual
orientation.

Principle 9: Community Involvement
The right to know is vital to the struggles of communities demanding
political, social, economic and environmental justice. Campaign
efforts rooted in communities and their needs are vital to the
campaign’s success and the realisation of a responsive and
accountable democracy that can meet the basic needs of our people.

Principle 10: Solidarity
The full realisation of the right to know cannot be defined by
individuals, organisations or borders. Our campaign is best served
where we act in concert and solidarity with like minded people and
organisations locally and internationally.”

Durban FilmMart One Week To Go!














13 July 2011

COUNTING DOWN TO DURBAN FILMMART 2011!

Early Bird registration for Durban FilmMart 2011 is now closed!

If you have not REGISTERED yet…DO IT TODAY!

By visiting our website on www.durbanfilmmart.com you can see who's
already registered, view the programme and the quality speaker line-up.

For information or to register as a delegate visit www.durbanfilmmart.com
or e-mail or Kamille Padayachee on info@thoughtfire.co.za

SPECIALISTS IN ATTENDANCE AT DURBAN FILMMART 2011…

ERICA MOTLEY – K5 International

As the Head of Acquisitions at K5 International Erica Motley recently
secured K5 the international rights for 'Vehicle 19', starring Paul Walker.
She was previously an international acquisition consultant for Icon
International where she acquired James Wan's franchise 'The House of
Horror' from Paradigm.

As Vice President of International Acquisitions at United International
Pictures Motley was an integral part of the UIP worldwide distribution
team. Prior to UIP, she was the head of the film group for Shine
Entertainment where she wrote the business plan and raised funding
from the 3I venture capital partners. Motley began her film career
as an international acquisition executive at HBO after two years on
Wall Street and a Harvard MBA. She later served as Vice President of
Programming at Bertelsmann and director of Acquisitions at Fox
International.

Motley is on the board of Pure Grass, a trans-media production
company based in the UK.


MIDGE SANDFORD - Sandford/Pillsbury Productions

Sanford/Pillsbury Productions is headed by Midge Sanford and Sarah
Pillsbury. The company develops and produces theatrical motion pictures
and television films. Sanford/Pillsbury's productions include
Desperately Seeking Susan, River's Edge, which won the Independent
Spirit Award for Best Feature Film, Eight Men Out, Love Field,
Immediate Family, the Emmy Award-winning And The Band Played On for
HBO, How To Make An American Quilt, The Love Letter, Open Window,
which aired on Showtime, and Quid Pro Quo.

Sanford is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences,
and Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

CORALIE FAUCHEUR – Wide Management

Coralie Faucheur is in charge of festivals & sales for Wide Management.
In addition, she is involved in acquisitions and works on the
Eye on Films project.

Founded in 1997, Wide Management is a leading independent worldwide
sales company, currently representing more than 15 new feature films
annually, with a library of more than 300 fiction titles and 200
documentary movies. The Wide Management catalogue contains an
impressive variety of content from internationally-acclaimed directors
and actors, festival favorites and cult movies. Wide Management
recently developed a TV catalogue that includes all type of content,
ready for broadcast.

13 July 2011

International Film Festival Tur Ostrava 2012









YOUR INVITATION TO PARTICIPATE IN AN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL!

Dear sir/madam,

We would like to inform you of preparations for the ...

9th ANNUAL INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL TUR OSTRAVA 2012

It will be held from the 16th until the 20th of April 2012 in the City of Ostrava House of Culture. The festival involves short films and documentaries aimed at all branches of industrial, agricultural, economic and civic pursuits of people and their connection with living environments and long-term sustainable development (Trvale Udržitelný Rozvoj).

Film productions will be separated under the following themes:

Lifestyles and Health;
Media and the Environment;
A Green Planet;
People and Society.

For participation we are appealing to Czech and international filmmakers regardless of whether you are an association, organization or individual. If you have a film which falls within the given themes your participation will be heartily welcomed!

During the 2012 TUR festival films will be presented without regard to their number – filmmakers are able to enter more films if they wish!

More information about the preparations for the festival can be found at www.turfilm.cz, where you can also find an application form, which is necessary to submit your documentary into the festival program.

We are looking forward to your hearing of your interest in presenting at TUR Ostrava 2012. Please send submitted films to our address:

Fabex Media s.r.o.
Kosmova 651/16
702 00 Ostrava – Privoz
CZECH REPUBLIC

The closing date for submissions is Thursday 15th March 2012.

The films will be screened competitively. A five member panel comprised of experts in the field, from the Czech Republic and abroad, will honour the best films within a number of categories. The award ceremony will be held on Friday 20th April 2012, with the media, political representatives and partners of the festival also in attendance. The exact time and place of the award ceremony will be specified to the prizewinning filmmakers closer to the date.

Conditions for submitting your film into the festival:

1) Application form: can be found at the festival website www.turfilm.cz.
2) The film/documentary fulfills the following parameters:
Ø contents corresponds at least one of the festivals given themes;
Ø footage is approximately 10 – 60 minutes in length;
Ø year of production is between 2007 – 2011;
Ø if possible in MPEG2 PAL 720x576 (4:3/16:9) format, file type: video.mpg/video.m2p, or if need be on DVD in PAL format;
Ø minimum of 00:10” BLACK running time before the start of the film, and 00:10” after the end of the film;
Ø one copy will suffice.
3) In addition:
Ø If you have photographs illustrating your production (in electronic fortmat .jpg), please send them along as well. Photographs will be used to present your film on the festivals internet website, and in media informing the public about the festival and film screenings.
Ø If you don’t complete an annotation about your film (short introduction, subject, themes) in the internet application form, please send it in an envelope with the film. Again, this annotation will be used on the festival website and in the media.
Ø In case of your films victory, please ascribe a note (for example on the application form) whether you will be able to come to Ostrava to accept your award in person, or if need be entrust someone who can represent you at the award ceremony on 20th April 2012, and in doing so can assume your honourable function.
Ø On the package containing the requested materials please legibly include the keyword: TUR 2012

For further questions please send an e-mail to produkce@fabextv.cz.

Or more information at the web site.

DFA Congratulates Cape Film Commissioner, Denis Lillie


















The Documentary Filmmakers' Association (DFA) would like to congratulate the Western Cape Film Commissioner, Denis Lillie on his election as a member to the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

His election to the Academy demonstrates that the Western Cape film community is being led by someone who commands respect and is held in high regard internationally for his contribution to film and television.

Denis Lillie's election to the Academy also means that he is operating at a global level and will add value back home with his understanding of best practices.

The International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences is a membership based organisation comprised of leading media and entertainment figures from over 50 countries and 500 companies from all sectors of television including internet, mobile and technology.

The Academy’s yearly schedule of events includes the prestigious International Emmy® Awards Ceremony held in New York, The International Digital Emmy® Awards at MIPTV and a series of industry events such as Academy Day, The International Emmy® World Television Festival and Panels on substantive industry topics.

It's great for South Africa and Cape Town to have a voice here. Well done Denis!

SABC ACTING GCEO MEETS WITH INDEPENDENT PRODUCERS

Johannesburg, Tuesday, 12 July 2011 –The South African Broadcasting Corporation’s (SABC) Acting GCEO Mr. Phil Molefe met with the Independent Producers today. In the fruitful meeting, the two parties agreed to work together on improving communication that will strengthen both the sector and the Public Broadcaster.

The Acting GCEO informed the IPO that the Request for Proposal Book will be tabled at the Group Executive meeting of Thursday 14 July 2011. The meeting also agreed to map a way forward with regards to local content and terms of trade.

Addressing the meeting, Mr. Molefe said “I welcome this opportunity to meet with key stakeholders – independent producers tell the South African story and I am committed to meeting monthly with the IPO”. The IPO’s co-chairperson Ms. Desiree Markgraff said the meeting was positive “We are committed to building a partnership with the SABC as regards local content and developing a sustainable production sector that provides stable employment for thousands of people”.

Mr. Molefe comes from a background of content creation and understands the importance and challenges of storytellers and content creators. “We look forward to building a meaningful and open relationship” concluded Mr. Molefe.


ENDS

Issued By:
Group Communications

Media Enquiries:
Kaizer Kganyago
082 306 8888

12 July 2011

HOT DOCS Feedback SA Delegation

HOTDOCS FEEDBACK FROM SOUTH AFRICAN DELEGATION
by Lauren Groenewald, DFA Co-chair

Pascal Schmitz Secretary of the South African Documentary Filmmakers’ Association initiated dialogue with Stephanie McArthur form HOTDOCS about sending a South Africa DFA delegation to the Festival at IDFA 2010. The DFA approached South Africa’s main film funding body the National Film and Video Foundation for financial assistance and the NFVF indicated that individuals would have to apply to the NFVF in their own capacity as filmmakers with a project. The DFA communicated this to its membership and individual filmmakers applied with their projects. Ultimately four filmmakers were informed that the NFVF would support them with travel, accommodation, visas and festival entry fees –the NFVF allocated an amount of 25000 rand per filmmaker. This meant that filmmakers had to subsidise some of their own accommodation, local travel and daily subsistence. Individuals who were not going as distributors also had to finance their own marketing material and duplications of films.

The filmmakers who attended with NFVF funding were Ryley Grunewald a Director and member of MARIE VERITE FILMS, Lauren Groenewald Co-Chair of the DFA and a Producer at Plexus Films and David Forbes a director and Distributor at Shadow Films. Simon Taylor of Periphery Films attended with support from the EMIA DTI scheme.

The delegation received acknowledgement of the funding at a very late stage which imeant that they had to scramble a bit to get everything set up and prepare for the trip. Filmmakers were not able to use the Early Bird benefits and did not have enough time to set up meeting in the Rendezvous section of the Festival, which would have been very meaningful. Rendezvous is a pitch meeting service which takes place through the Conference week.

HOTDOCS

HOTDOCS has long been a festival that I have wanted to attend as a Producer and Filmmaker –in terms of Documentary it is the most important Festival and Market in North America. Traditionally Plexus Films has concentrated on attending European Festivals and markets with an emphasis on IDFA –International Documentary Festival of Amsterdam. Our European bias has been informed by our positive relationship with the Jan Vrijman Fund, the proximity of Europe and also the content, visual language and style of our films.

The opportunity to attend the HOTDOCS Festival as part of the South African delegation however proved to be an extremely good shift in terms of re-positioning my thinking and being educated in new opportunities and relationships.

First and foremost credit needs to be given to HOTDOCS, the City of Toronto and its people and the warm welcome we received. The spirit of the festival really added to the experience –all delegates were given the opportunity to engage on an equal footing with delegates from broadcasters to distributors.

I was also amazed by the enthusiasm of documentary audiences and surprised and elated every time I saw a long queue outside a cinema, waiting to see a documentary. The free screenings for senior citizens and students during the day really added to the buzz and I engaged in many stimulating conversations with Festivalgoers. The spread of cinemas across the city also gave us a great introduction to Toronto and the diversity of its people and its landscape. The public transport made everything really easily accessible.

The selection of films was broad and representative, although there was a strong Canadian focus – the profile of films brought the world into the cinemas of Toronto. I felt invigorated, stimulated and inspired after my week at HOTDOCS. My favourite film was Bobby Fischr against the World and it was fantastic to have the directors at screenings talking about their work.

MAMA AFRICA was the only South African Film scheduled in the Festival. This was a German, Finnish, and South African Co-Production. I would like to see South Africa better represented next year and will encourage filmmakers to submit their work to HOTDOCS.

THE SOUTH AFRICAN DELEGATION

This was the first time we attended HOTDOCS as a co-ordinated SA Delegation. This had great value in terms of the experience and many lessons were learnt. The Festival organisers went out of their way to ensure dialogue between the different delegations and to provide platforms for meaningful co-production discussions to germinate.
The industry events that took place in the first four days of the Festival really added great value – the workshops were incredible and the networking evenings at the Burwash Hall provided a great space to talk about the day.

In terms of scheduling it was fantatstic that the CO-PRODUCTION Day kick started the festival as it set the tone for future discussions throughout the week. It provided a public and formal introduction to the filmmakers in attendance as well as their projects. Being part of a formal delegation also gave us more leverage than attending as individuals. I attended a networking dinner as Co-Chair of the DFA and the co-ordinator of the SA Delegation on the first night. This was a positive contact building exercise and I met with Milton Tabbot – and it waas great to enage with the HOTDOCS team in a social and relaxed manner -Elizabeth Radshaw Hotdocs Forum and Market Director, Stephanie McArthur Hot Doucs Forum and Market Manager were great conversationalists and I also met with Lara Vehlo, Executive Producer of Terra Brasilis Filmes. This was also an opportunity to highlight the work of the DFA.

The casual networking luncheon on the Co-production Day gave us an opportunity to meet with a Swedish Film Festival and filmmakers from Iceland and Finland. It was fantastic to have such a broad exposure.

David Forbes of Shadow Films and Lauren Groenewald of Plexus Films and Co-Chair of the DFA presented in the morning of the Co-Production Day.
The content of our presentation provided an overview of the Documentary Industry in South Africa, we spoke about what South Africa could offer and what we needed in terms of Co-productions.
We highlighted the value add of our content, locations, communications and infra structure as well as our skill set.

In terms of addressing the formal funding structures we introduced the NFVF, the DTI rebate scheme as it stands and we gave some background on the crisis at our National Broadcaster as well as giving information on the new channels. We spoke about funding models and funds available for SA filmmakers. We were intent on positioning the industry in a positive but realistic light. We also gave an overview of the DFA, SASFED and the IPO. David Forbes also spoke about Distribution and Developing Audiences.

Although I believe it was an informative presentation we certainly could build on the experience and I highly recommend that next year the Delegation has a formal NFVF representative as part of the team. The Delegation should also have he opportunity to engage with the DTI in a real and meaningful way before the trip.

The various presentations from other countries ranged from large contingents like the Italian delegation that also hosted a function later the week to more personalised presentation such as the American delegation. This was a particularly useful session as it covered funding options for filmmakers outside of the USA and gave an insight into the mechanics of the various American channels. The new Oprah Winfrey Documentary Network was discussed as well as funds such as Sundance, The Ford Foundation and the Tribeca Institute.

I appreciated the varied form and nature of the presentations and the representatives. It was great that the format of the Co-Production day allowed for countries to present in their own unique way –it gave an insight into the thinking of the filmmakers from the different countries.

Another positive outcome of being part of the SA Delegation was the relationships that were built between us as a collective. We had representation from Cape Town and Gauteng and we also had the opportunity to network and engage with Monica Rorvik from the Durban International Film Festival –King Naki and The Dawn of a New Day will be will be screening there in July.

MEETING AND INDUSTRY SESSIONS

I travelled to Canada with three main objectives 1. Find buyers and distributors for a catalogue of projects 2. To research HOTDOCS as a market and festival 3. Profile the DFA.

The reason I was particularly interested in exploring the North American market was to get a better sense of possible distribution networks and opportunities as well as focusing on educational distribution opportunities.

I secured meetings with Jan Rofenkamp from Transit Films, Peter Jager from Autlook and Johnathan Miller from Icarus Films as well as a number of other distributors. It was a positive learning curve in that I realised that the distributors I was targeting for educational material were not the right ones and that I should direct my energies at another market being The National Media Market (http://www.nmm.net/ ). The Market brings together librarians, educators, and distributors of documentary and educational films in a concentrated three-day flurry of screening and buying.

After the Co-production Day I was also approached by a number of Canadian Producers to possible facilitate a project in South Africa.

I also attended an Industry Conference called Broadcasters Revisted.

The session was particularly valuable in terms of understanding the potential of cable and smaller channels in terms getting projects out there. I met with Craig Colby from HiFiHDTV.

High Fidelity HDTV is Canada's leading all-HD broadcast and Production Company. They broadcast four channels, Oasis HD™, eqhd™, Treasure HD™ and radX™. We currently are working on some HD extreme travel content and we will be following up on this conversation regarding programming for the RADX Channel- Risk Adventure.

Another industry session that I found inspiring was MAKING IT BEAUTIFUL where filmmakers reflected on their craft and their experiences in the field. Leonard Retel Helmrich passionately demonstrated his own hand steady can invention and Nick de Pencier the moderator from MERCURY FILMS in Canada eloquently navigated the conversation around perpetual state of revolution in film. The conversation related largely to the digital camera having become the cinematic tool of our age.

Another eye opener was the workshop on CREATIVE PRODUCING it was reassuring to see that very similar experiences and realities experienced by filmmakers in the first world.

A definite highlight was the FORUM pitches. It was an incredible learning curve to see the level of research and development that had gone into projects pitched at the FORUM. A personal favourite project for me was he story of Vivian Meyer.

I was torn between watching films and attending the sessions and really found great value in listening to colleagues talk about their experiences.

In conclusion it was an incredibly worthwhile experience and I hope to return to HOTDOCS next year.



Some comments from the SA delegation
by David Forbes

“Apart from the business end of the festival, it is also a place of creative renewal and stimulation. Outside of market hours, informative sessions and social functions are arranged to facilitate networking opportunities and intelligence-gathering. Its importance as a benchmark for international documentary production cannot be overemphasised. For any serious documentary filmmaker, Hot Docs is a vital part of the annual calendar.

I went with four objectives (as per the Shadow Films Export Marketing Development Plan for 2011). These were:
1) To promote Shadow Films as a supplier of quality African content to the global broadcast market and to understand how Hot Docs operates
2) To build new relationships with distributors, broadcasters and buyers in the global market and to renew old relationships from earlier markets and festivals.
3) To find co-production partners for new projects and understand the co-production process better.
4) To promote South Africa as a supplier of content to the global market, and market South Africa as a co-production partner and location as part of the invited South African delegation to Hot Docs.

THE FORUM

It was incredible to watch and listen to the pitches, so see how it is done at this level, and to listen to the comments and interaction with the Commissioning Editors, where one begins to understand the dynamics of what films will make it and which ones will not. This is invaluable experience, and one also gets a lot of intelligence about trends, pilot films, budgets, and as a Forum member, you
get the entire pitch document with budgets and funding commitments.

David made contact with filmmakers from Brazil, Canada, China, France, Italy, France, Peru, the UK and the USA. There is a possibility of a South African-Italian co-production.

He made distribution contacts with India, Italy and the USA, and broadcaster contacts with Belgium (VPRO), Canada (CBC, CBC News Network, Discovery Canada), Finland (YLE), France (Arte, Arte-ZDF), UK (BBC), and the USA (PBS, ITVS, Cinereach & Sundance).

David also spent a fair bit of time in the Online Doc Shop, checking out films from other countries and attended a public screening of a Cameroonian film. It must be said that audiences in Toronto were fantastic, always packed, and with interesting questions afterwards. If SA could develop audiences like they have in Toronto, we will have a thriving film industry.

The support provided by the NFVF was invaluable in creating a South African presence at Hot Docs, and contributed to putting SA on the global filmmaking map. It needs to be sustained over a number of years, so we hope that the NFVF will continue to support this initiative, and perhaps take it to the next level by having some South Africans pitching new projects at the Forum at Hot Docs 2012.


Report on Hot Docs 2011:
by Ryley Grunenwald, Marie-Vérité Films

First of all, a big thank you to the DFA for initiating the South African delegation and to the NFVF for their financial assistance that enabled us to take part.

A Crucial Event

After IDFA, Hot Docs is the next biggest documentary film festival. The Co-Production Day, festival screenings, formal and informal networking opportunities, conferences, Rendevous service, DocShop and the Forum make it a jam packed experience that can only help South Africans raise the profile of the South African documentary industry, help us find co-production partners for future projects as well as working towards the international sales of our films. There is no doubt that this high profile event should have a continued and growing South African presence.

Co-Production Day

This all-day event is the most important day for the official delegation and gives participating countries the opportunity to encourage foreign producers to work with one another – obviously to mutually benefit from tax breaks, funding and broadcasters that may otherwise be impenetrable. The panel presented well by giving a balanced look into some of the advantages as well as challenges of working within South Africa.

However it would have been very beneficial to have had a short, concise visually aided presentation by the NFVF on the smaller details of Co-Production in South Africa particularly since the organizers, audience and the delegation itself were under the impression they would be present. Fortunately the South African presentation was in the morning as into the afternoon the various presentations became quite repetitive and the attendance dropped off. For this reason it would be useful to strategize how the South African presentation can grip the audience’s attention in case we are one year scheduled for late afternoon.

For the future it would be worthwhile to strategize in advance to ensure a larger South African delegation, (with films screening in the festival and pitching in the Forum). Some countries had booklets available profiling their filmmakers, their production companies and their documentaries. This is a useful resource for foreign producers needing leads to South African co-producers.

Festival Screenings

With a delegate’s pass we were able to see films at no charge which enabled us to see as many films as possible. It was useful to see what style of films and what subject matter were selected. Aside from being inspired by some excellent films it was also a challenge for us to aim for South African films in the future Hot Docs festival (about only 8% of submissions are accepted). Furthermore, it was amazing to see the Canadian public’s support for documentary (most large venues filled to capacity with long queues outside). With theatrical release of documentary not being supported in South Africa, and thus not financially viable, it was another challenge for a South African documentary audience to be developed.

Networking, Meetings and Rendevous

Every evening offered the opportunity for delegates to attend social events which is where most introductions were made. This allowed for some impromptu pitches although the online community and Rendevous Meeting service allowed the majority of meetings with broadcasters, sales agents and distributors to be organized well in advance. I was able to set up about 10 meetings beforehand with the aim of finding the right sales agent or distributor for The Dawn of a New Day. As schedules fill up quickly it crucial for delegates to register well in advance to be able to access the online community to set up meetings. The meetings went well and gave me a better idea who I would and would not like to work with on my current project and for the future.

DocShop

The DocShop is a useful service but the reality is that decision makers, who can spend all day watching documentaries at the on-site Doc Shop, do not even have time to watch ¼ of films that have been officially selected for the festival. Furthermore, some of the films were not digitized properly so it is important for filmmakers to check their films once they arrive at the festival. However, the films will be online from after the festival for an entire year which gives password protected access to decision makers. One can invite commissioning editors and sales agents who attended the festival to watch one’s film online.

The FORUM

The Forum is an excellent platform to find funding and to gauge the reception of a film in development as it is scrutinized by a large group of broadcasters and funders. However, only 22 projects are selected and need to have a broadcaster and some of the funding already in place. This requires us to plan well in advance and to have all these secured in time for the Forum applications deadline. For spectators it was an opportunity to see what subject matters and styles are in demand and which are not.

Personally, my experience of Hot Docs was positive as I had the chance to meet with decision makers who just don’t come to South African events and are unlikely to respond to a faceless email or parcel. I met with some interested broadcasters although my focus had been on finding a sales agent to handle further sales so that I can develop my next documentary. I met some enthusiastic and seemingly transparent sales agents as well as those who charged ridiculously high commission and seemed unsuitable. In the next two months I should see if there is an outcome form these meetings. From the Forum and the screenings I came away both inspired for my next project as well as having a better understanding of preferred trends in the international market. I also realized that South African craft and skill is up there with the rest of the world, and in some cases stronger – but we do need to spend more time and money in development.

Some suggestions for funding would be that the actual costs of attending the festival be taken into account as it is more than R25 000. Furthermore, these extra costs on the filmmaker would be reduced if we were able to include simple meals, public transport and the printing of marketing materials into the allowed expenditure. If this were the case we would happily stay in low-key accommodation and cover more of our costs with the NFVF funding. It is understood that these funds have been abused in the past but the filmmaker could present proof of all the above-mentioned costs as evidence that they are not being bad stewards of the funds.

Once again, many thanks to the NFVF and the DFA for this wonderful opportunity.

Regards,

Ryley Grunenwald


REPORT BACK
by SIMON TAYLOR

I recently attended HOTDOCS in Toronto. Hotdocs is soon to launch a new fund for African documentary. The most important part of hotdocs for us was establishing relationships with some new European and North American co-production partners. Strongest films at the festival for me were you’ve been trumped and after the apocalypse the releases of friends of ours – fiercely independent films and I felt that is was an absolute priveledge to be at the premiers of those in Toronto. It’s films like these that keep us in the business of factual producing. The hotdocs community are amazing hosts, for more info visit www.periphery.co.za

Celludroid














The 2nd chapter of South Africa's only Science-Fiction, Animation and Fantasy Festival is here!
With movies, sneak previews of SCREAM 4 and INSIDIOUS, literature, comics,
visiting director Richard Stanley with a retrospective of his work & more.

Visit the web site here.

CFC Chairperson Resigns












Please click the image to view the details.

Crisis of SABC is a Crisis for SA












TAWANA KUPE: BROADCASTING Jul 08 2011 09:13

No institution could embody the spirit of a new, democratic South Africa like the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) could.

It is not just because it is called "South African" that makes it the most South African of all institutions. There are other institutions that carry the country's name but do not have the same potential to be a true embodiment of South Africa's aspirations.

But this appears to be a pipe dream, in the light of recent crises at the SABC, including the latest multiple-level conflict among a senior manager, the acting group chief executive, and the board, the communications minister's involvement, the apparent disquiet felt by some board members and another board resignation, just when four replacements have been found for previous outgoing board members.

What is at stake, though, is not just boardroom machinations, alleged political interference and an institution and its acting managers caught in a seemingly unending game of musical chairs. At stake is the health of South African society and its future.

The SABC is a unique institution because it is, by law, the sole public broadcaster. Its ownership is vested in all South Africans. It is the only media organisation the public is obliged to pay for (through a licence fee) and it also receives a government grant from the public fiscus. Its board is chosen in a public process and must reflect South African society in terms of gender, race, disability, geographic location, skills and expertise.

The SABC has the widest reach of all media, broadcasting in all 11 official languages. In some parts of the country its radio stations provide communities with their only access to information and entertainment. Its African-language radio stations are the only media able to transcend barriers of illiteracy. Its programming, as stipulated in its licences, is expected to be diverse and to cater for the needs of all South Africans for information, communication, culture and entertainment.

No advertiser or marketer wishing to reach a large market can ignore the SABC. It has awesome power, by any definition. It has awesome potential, too, to advance democracy and development in ways that can create a just society for all.

'Values of the Constitution'
The SABC has always had the potential to be the embodiment of a South African society that lives up to the values of the Constitution. There is a long history of desire among South Africans that the SABC be an institution that makes these values a living reality. This history includes the vision of a diversity of actors involved in the struggle against apartheid who wanted freedom of expression, media freedom, independent and critical public broadcasting and effective independent regulation.

There is now consensus that the SABC has not lived up to the vision of an independent public broadcaster that serves the public interest. In fact, it has been found guilty of denying the right to freedom of expression by banning certain commentators from the airwaves.

The current state of the SABC can be seen as a reflection of aspects of the state of South Africa's public institutions in general.

First, the specific policy and regulatory frameworks governing the SABC are outdated and require urgent renewal.

Second, the SABC has chronic problems with its board, which is meant to represent public ownership and provide direction for the corporation. Recently, its board has disintegrated in ways that undermine the idea of public stewardship of social institutions. These problems have given those who advocate privatisation evidence of why public ownership is either an outdated idea, reminiscent of failed socialist and communist experiments, or is inherently unworkable. Parliament's board-selection process needs to be freed from political partisanship.

Third, the SABC is rudderless. Its top leadership is in an "acting" capacity and has been so for more than a year. The department of communications, under which the SABC inappropriately falls, has an acting director general and relatively new minister. A much-needed policy review does not appear to be on the horizon. As last week's events demonstrated, this situation can only lead to a deepening of the crisis, putting the institution into freefall.

Fourth, the SABC has suffered major financial blows, which have two causes: a funding model that is flawed and inappropriate for a public broadcaster and financial mismanagement linked to poor strategy. Although the SABC alone enjoys the benefit of a licence fee, only 25% of eligible licence fee-payers pay, and the public grant covers only 2% to 3% of its needs. The dominant source of funding is advertising revenue, which can lead to the undermining of its editorial and programming independence.

Dependence on advertising is one reason, on television and even some radio stations, there is a bias towards English or the larger African languages. The funding model explains the lack of diverse programming, especially the lack of more locally made programmes in which South Africans can see people like themselves. So, where the South African Constitution speaks strongly on the issue of gender equality, the SABC imports and produces programmes that reinforce gender inequality and gender-based violence. The opportunity has been lost for South African television producers to make the type of programming that would communicate gender struggles for social justice.

It is true that we have popular locally made soaps that demonstrate high levels of creativity, but these do not break the mould of American popular television. They do not tap into our own rich tradition of African storytelling.

Crisis
A crisis of this magnitude in the major means of communication and cultural representation in South Africa is a crisis of our society and can only impede the society's democratic and socioeconomic goals. Urgent steps need to be taken to arrest the damage and put the SABC and ultimately South African society on a healthy trajectory towards a sustainable democratic society, as envisaged in the Constitution.

The policy framework, as expressed in the amended Broadcasting Act of 1999, is outdated. What is needed even more urgently is a policy overhaul that recognises the changing nature of the media and the communications landscape in South Africa.

A new policy framework should recognise the new digital platforms that have changed how audiences access programmes, including those of the SABC. The review should be driven not by political objectives but by broader democratic goals and it should be based on research that is inclusive of all sectors of society.

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) needs to play a more proactive role to ensure that the SABC meets its licence conditions. Icasa must regulate to promote freedom of expression and to protect the editorial and programming independence of the SABC. So far it has played such a passive role, most citizens are not even aware it exists.

Parliament needs to play its part in arresting the crisis by asking for and participating in policy and regulatory reforms. Otherwise its committee on communications is reduced to crisis management of the SABC instead of oversight.

The ANC as the governing party needs to play a role that is both in its own interest and in that of the broader society. A dysfunctional SABC actually works against a ruling party's programmes. A public broadcaster in which there is perceived to be political interference also compromises the governing party and causes its messages to be doubted.

A credible SABC that enjoys editorial and programming independence is a platform for a governing party to get fair coverage for its policies and programmes. Control of the SABC by the ruling party has such a bad history, it is not a viable long-term strategy for helping to create a new society.

Professor Tawana Kupe is an associate professor of media studies and dean of the Faculty of Humanities at Wits University

Original post here.