The DFA was established in 2007 to promote and protect the interests of doc filmmakers in South Africa. To contact the DFA, please use the contact form: here . The DFA website is at: Membership applications can be made through the website here.

11 August 2011

How Digital is Changing the Business of TV Development

Once upon a time you’d pitch a show to a TV channel and if they liked it they’d give you the cash upfront to make it and you’d take home a healthy 10%+ margin. Then along came the terms of trade, and in many cases producers not only took their 10%+ margin but also got to keep the programme, effectively granting the broadcaster a limited license to transmit a show they’d paid for. Once that license expired the producer could then sell that finished programme elsewhere without compensating the broadcaster, as well as selling the format rights for localised versions. It was certainly the good old days – the equivalent of running a factory where you sell all the inventory before you’ve made anything (plus a margin), work at 100% capacity, hand over the goods, and then, 2 years later your customers give you all the goods back to sell second hand – nice!

Of course there’s only so long this can last, and a lot of very bloated incumbents are now seeing their business model challenged. Children’s TV adapted earlier than most, recognising the big money opportunities derived from merchandise and deficit funding against this future revenue. Then big budget drama producers increasingly sought co-funding across territories to get their work made, recognising the opportunity to make profit through sales and merchandise (books, DVDs, films, live experiences). Now it’s creeping into every genre, and like it or not any of us wanting to get our work out there need to be as creative with our business models as we are with our content.

‘Digital’ is influencing TV funding in three main ways: in creating new distribution models (from VOD services, mobile, even direct to consumer), new monetisation models (from micropayments to patenting proprietary technology), and in new development models (a move away from selling ‘off paper’ to prototyping, more iterative development processes and increased testing with audiences). It’s on the development process I wanted to focus in this post.

Development is such a vital component of content businesses, and yet it wasn’t always such a formalised activity. It was when independent producers came onto the scene, spurred on by the formation of Channel 4, that the game became much more about the quality of the idea, and the ‘development team’ came into existence – blue sky units dedicated to conceiving and researching the ideas for TV shows. Production companies would pitch these ideas off a sheet of A4 and then some would receive funding to develop their ideas in detail. A certain proportion of paid developments would lead to pilots, and some would be grenlit and eventually turned into a series. Money flowed from broadcaster into each stage, increasing in amount at each step, from paid development through to broadcast.

Here’s where things are changing. Instead of increasing funds from the broadcaster in each stage up to broadcast, smaller investments are flowing in during the pre-production stage, with the remainder of funding increasingly coming in from the traditional post-broadcast revenue streams – ie. advances on distribution rights, ancillary rights, and so on. The diagram below shows this changing business model:

Visit the web site to view the illustrations and read further.

10 August 2011

Movies that Matter

Are you planning to organise a film project with human rights films in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East?
Looking for funding? Apply!

Movies that Matter offers modest financial assistance and advice to initiate human rights film festivals and to help circulate and exhibit human rights films in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Middle East. It supports human rights film projects like mobile cinema projects, human rights film festivals, travelling film festivals, outreach programmes, and educational activities at schools and universities.

Please note we do not support film production.

The next deadline for applications is 15 September 2011.

For more information, selection criteria and application forms, see
Please feel free to forward this email to your relevant contacts!

NFVF Public Consultations on the Definition of South African Film

The NFVF has been in the process of drafting criteria of assessment for South African films and co-productions. The exercise is intended to set qualifying criteria for what constitutes a South African film and official co-productions.

The criteria has introduced a point system that takes into account a number of key elements including creative, craft and technical contributions. Producers will be required to ensure that their films meet the required points for qualification. In December 2010 the NFVF published the film criteria and made a call for industry submissions and subsequently received a submission from the Independent Producers Organisation (IPO). The NFVF has taken into account some of the IPO proposals and has revised the original criteria accordingly.

To take the industry consultation process further, the NFVF will be holding public consultations in the Gauteng, Western Cape, Eastern Cape and Kwa-Zulu Natal provinces.

The consultations will be held as follows:

* Cape Town- 18 August 2011 at the Upper Eastside Hotel
* Port Elizabeth- 19 August 2011 at the Port Elizabeth Opera House
* Durban- 23 August 2011 at the Royal Hotel
* Johannesburg- 25 August 2011 at the NFVF Auditorium

Copies of the IPO Submission and NFVF Regulations can be downloaded from the links below:

Interested organisation or individuals who would like to make oral presentations can email Mawande Seti on or by 11 August 2011.

Original post here.

the 6th SAFTAs Call for Entries

03 August 2011: The National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) organizers of the popular industry awards, South African Film and Television Awards (SAFTAS) calls for local productions to submit their entries for 2012. The entries open on Wednesday 3rd of August 2011 and will close on Monday 5th of September 2011.

Only South African films or television productions/programmes that have been produced and publicly exhibited or broadcast between 1st of April 2010 until the 31st of July 2011 are eligible for entry.

Since its official launch in 2005, the SAFTAS has been successfully managed under the custodianship of the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF). The broadcasters M-Net,, Top TV and SABC; distributors, Ster Kinekor, indigenous Films and Nu Metro play an important role in supporting the awards.

The SAFTA are an industry initiative governed by a body of industry representatives SASFED, SABC,, M-Net and the NFVF and is managed by the custodianship of the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) under whose values the essence of the awards are encapsulated, those of Creativity, Freedom of expression, Entrepreneurship and Equitable redress.

"The SAFTAS has truly become the premiere platform for recognizing talent in the industry. Since its inception the awards have grown from strength to strength attracting representatives from government, private sector and the industry. We encourage all eligible productions to participate in order to continue elevating the film and television status of our country," says Karen Son NFVF Acting CEO.

The SAFTAS has since its inception honoured individuals and productions in the following categories: TV Non-fiction, TV Fiction, Feature Films, Short Films Student Films and Animation with Special Lifetime achievement awards given to those esteemed individuals who have long served the industry in various categories.
As with the previous years the public will play a pivotal role in the Soapie category by voting for their best soapie. Previous winners of this category include Generations and Seven de Laan.

Download the Rules and Guidelines. All the entries should be submitted through an online entry system which can be found on the SAFTA Entries website. Closing date 05th of September 2011 16h00.

The judging panels will this year be made up of previous SAFTAS winners and nominees from the past 5 years. This is in a bid to begin the development of the SA Film & TV Academy. As with previous years, the judging process will be overseen and verified by independent auditors.

The winners will be presented with the official SAFTA trophy, the Golden Horn, at a glittering ceremony in February 2012 that will host the cream of South African talent, leading personalities, key government and private sector, VIP's and media.

The SAFTAS honour, celebrate and promote the creativity, quality and excellence of South African Film and Television talent and productions, and encourage entrepreneurship and the development of new talent within the industry.

For more information email Communications & Public Affairs Naomi Mokhele or project coordinator Carla Dias.

Original post here.

How Good Are You

Please click on the image to view the details.

Further details here. The Vuka Awards are now the Television Awards for Good (TAG).

Perspective Looking for Wrtiers

Out In Africa starts on Friday 12 August 2011 and there are three great local documentaries on the programme: Lauren Beukes' Glitterboys and Ganglands, about Miss Gay Western Cape; Nerina Penzhorn's Waited For, about a mixed race, lesbian couple trying to adopt; and Getting Out, a Ugandan/South African collaboration about persecution and LBGT asylum seekers.

The directors of Waited For and Getting Out will both be at OIA. If you would like to conduct an interview with the filmmakers of one or two or all of these films, you get to keep a copy of the film.

Please contact the DFA Secretary, Tina-Louise Smith, on if you would like to participate.

Visit Perspective for an idea of what you will be expected to deliver.

Sobukwe: Restoring the Voice of a Giant

Docu-Drama Feature Length Film
Length 104 mins
The story of the life of a remarkable man who helped to inspire and liberate a nation will be seen for the first time at the world premier of Sobukwe – a Great Soul, which showcased at the 32nd Durban International Film Festival on 28th July 2011. The film, directed by Mickey Madoda Dube, celebrates the life of Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe, restoring him to his rightful place as a leading figure in South African history.

The film was premiered at the Durban International Film Festival on 28 July 2011 and received the Amnesty International Human Rights Award for “The best film with a focus on Human Rights”.

“After the challenge of not having any archive to work with, we are pleased that the film was able to bring Sobukwe’s voice to life and to for him to be recognised for his great work in the struggle for human rights.”- Carolyn Carew

“It was an amazing learning experience for me to go through the life and time of Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe by capturing his spirit and integrity, his honesty, discipline, and commitment to the United States of Africa” Mickey Madoda Dube

Sobukwe – A Great Soul succeeds in finally breaking the mystifying silence that has surrounded Sobukwe’s extraordinary contribution, not only to reshaping South Africa, but also shaping the thinking of many across the African continent and the diaspora.

Produced by Born Free Media & 1TakeMedia in association with the SABC and the Sobukwe Family Trust, the film is a feature length drama-documentary (as opposed to the traditional docudrama genre) which charts the course of a leader who has been all but forgotten in the anals of history. The documentary, commissioned by SABC’s Kamscilla Naidoo as part of their Icons series on South African leaders, explores Sobukwe’s life and provides a platform for his voice to be heard decades after he made his mark, putting his name back on the world map of great liberators.

In spite of his pivotal role in the struggle for liberation, there is not a single piece of archive, not a single surviving audio recording of a man who was once one of the most watched, most recorded, most popular political prisoners in the world in his time. Even the current South African government has failed to recognise his place in history, and the relevance of his message today. This film seeks to fill that gap. It stands as a monument to a great man, a global visionary, teacher, political leader, philosopher and humanist who was well ahead of his time, declaring his commitment to a “non-racial” society in a racist world, asserting that “there is only one race, the human race.”

Sobukwe’s was a life of firsts, as the film highlights. His decisive action on 21 March, 1960 resulted in the historic day now known as “Sharpeville Day”, and lit the first fire that eventually led to the final demise of apartheid. Sobukwe’s actions paved the way for Steve Biko, and guided him to another historic moment on 16 June, 1976. He gave Pan Africanism new life, refining the ethos, taking it to the street and making it a common feature of the struggle in South Africa, laying the ground for the path to Black Consciousness.

Sobukwe became an international icon whose passing led to a special session at the UN, such was his stature. He was considered prisoner number 1 on Robben Island, and earned the distinction of being the only man kept in solitary confinement for six solid years. The apartheid government not only feared his influence on other prisoners, so keeping him apart, but also created a special statute, a law that became known as the Sobukwe Clause, to keep him in prison and to keep his ideas from the rest of the world.

Sobukwe – A Great Soul, featuring Luthuli Dlamini in the title role, communicates many of the qualities that Sobukwe embodied, demonstrating the integrity, courage, honesty, humanity and true leadership for which he was known, and which continue to have resonance today. Ultimately, the film aims to emphasise the loss of a great soul to humanity in Sobukwe. Born Free Media, with its talent for telling distinctly African stories, is well-placed to relate his story.

Mickey Madoda Dube, Director/Producer of 1TakeMedia, is an international award winning Film, TV and Commercials Director. His filmography spans both the social and the political. His first film, Imbazo, about state-sponsored violence in SA, won countless awards globally. One of Mickey’s proud works is a documentary for UNICEF called Through The Eyes Of The Child. It looked at the plight of SA children at the turn of the century. Mickey co-created and co-conceptualized the Pan African reality series, Imagine Afrika (part of the ‘You’ campaign), which aimed to inspire young Africans to become change agents in their communities. Mickey has also written and directed a number of television drama series, notably, the controversial Umthunzi Wentaba (Mountain Shadow), which explored the death of boys in SA circumcision schools. The show led to the establishment of certain laws and procedures to prevent these deaths.

Born Free Media is a South African film and television production company specialising in fiction and non-fiction storytelling. Launched in 2005 by multi-award winning executive producer, Carolyn Carew, and joined in 2009 by creative director, Khalo Matabane, and Line Producer Tsholo Mashile, Born Free Media has made its mark on the local and international television and film-making scene. Their acclaimed series “When We Were Black”, produced by Carew and directed by Matabane, earned 7 drama awards at the South African Film and TV Awards, as well as two international awards for best drama series. Their company produces TV dramas, documentaries, reality TV and youth shows across the African Continent.

The film will be screened at the Tri Continental Film Festival in Johannesburg during September 2011 and will be screened on SABC 1 during March 2012.

Contact: Carolyn Carew Born Free Media
TEL: +27 11 912 7814 +27832741870

DFA Distribution Seminar

Please click on the image to load the video on The video clip is 42 minutes long. The password for the video will be sent to DFA registered members only via the newsletter - do look out for it.