Friday, January 24, 2014

Policy revision at SABC causes raised eyebrows

by Linda Ensor, Business Day Live, 24 January 2014

A move by the SABC to revise its editorial policies has led to suspicions that it is seeking to tighten state control over the public broadcaster, especially ahead of the general election when political parties vie for valuable airtime.

The SABC on Thursday extended the deadline for written submissions from December 13 to February 14 to give stakeholders a further opportunity to make submissions on the policies which essentially provide the framework within which SABC staff take decisions about the content on radio and television programmes.

Public hearings will be held in all provinces before a draft policy is released for public comment.

Congress of the People MP and communications spokeswoman Juli Kilian was suspicious of the process, stressing that there was "absolutely nothing defective" about the SABC’s editorial policy.

"Why fix something that is not broken? We know that this is part of the grand scheme of (SABC chief operating officer) Hlaudi Motsoeneng to turn the SABC into a state broadcaster and control the political direction of news bulletins."

Ms Kilian said she was aware of threats of disciplinary action being taken against journalists who did not toe the line regarding the content of news stories.

While the Right2Know Campaign, a lobby group, also has its doubts about the policy review, national co-ordinator Mark Weinberg said the process provided an opportunity for the framework to be improved, and more especially its implementation. This is also the view of the SOS Coalition to save the national broadcaster.

Mr Weinberg said the Right2Know Campaign was participating in the review process in good faith. He believed that the most important issue was the SABC’s "upward referral" policy regarding consultations by staff with editors about their work.

The SABC stresses that its current upward referral policy is "not intended to disallow the production and broadcasting of controversial and compelling programmes", but the Right2Know has in the past highlighted a growing trend of "blatant censorship" and a lack of editorial independence at the broadcaster.

Mr Weinberg was concerned that as the SABC’s chief operations officer, Mr Motsoeneng, was responsible for its commercial viability, but was also the editor in chief. This is widely regarded as an unacceptable arrangement as it risks contaminating the independence of the news. Editorial control was also overly centralised and did not allow enough autonomy to the different divisions, Mr Weinberg said.

Of crucial concern was the implementation, monitoring and accountability of the editorial policy, which currently did not include mechanisms to ensure that this took place and that those who violated the policy were held accountable.

"There are a number of areas where the policy is completely ignored," Mr Weinberg said.

SOS coalition co-ordinator Sekoetlane Phamodi believed the review process was an ideal opportunity for the public to become involved in shaping their public broadcaster. He said the problem lay not so much with the policies themselves but the way the way they were applied. Of particular concern was the current centralisation of editorial line of authority, and the institutional culture of the SABC.

Ugu Film Festival Call for submisions

Emerging and experienced film makers from Africa at large and all over the world are invited to submit their films for screening in our 2nd annual festival event taking place in September 2014.

All genres are welcome but the festival encourages action films/ dramas, thriller, science fiction feature/ short films. 

Calls opened on the 15th of February and closes on the 25th May 2014. 

Post to entries to:
Ugu Film Festival
Studio 1
Upper Arcade 
Spiller’s Wharf 
Port Shepstone 

Formats for submissions and other rules are listed on the festival's website:

Submission forms are also available on request from

This is the first festival in South Africa that will go beyond artistic films, by accommodating all kind of genres i.e. action, sci-fi etc. We believe that emerging and experienced film makers deserved equal rights to showcase their talent. Therefore, this festival is initiated as a platform to give new film makers from KZN, Africa, and all over the world a chance to showcase their films worldwide, while promoting the work of the experienced film makers. Using the existing relationship between Sollywood Films and major US studios, the festival will organize experienced film makers, A-list actors and actresses from Hollywood, Bollywood, and Europe to provide seminars for local artists / film makers interested to make it big in the industry.  

FREE Screenings and Seminars will be held in the best locations in South Coast namely: Capenta Bay Hotel, Margate Hotel, Oribi Gorge Hotel, and Wild Coast Sun Casino and nearest location (Gamalakhe). 

This film festival started on the 23rd of September 2013 and will be running annually,from the 21st to 23rd of September.

There will be three exclusive workshops to be held for the duration of this event (Action Directing and Stunt Coordination, Producing and Directing, and Special Effects workshops). 
The Action Directing and Stunt Coordinating Workshop  will be hosted by Steven Lambert, a Hollywood veteran action director, choreographer, stunt coordinator, and actor with more than 30 years experience in the industry. 

Who qualifies to attend the workshops:
 Priority will be given to film makers who submitted their films for screening in the festival to enter these workshops. Other candidates  interested to attend must either have written a script with relevant elements, or actor/actress interested to be an action actor, or Editor or Producer interested to make such films in future. Submitting your film will automatically qualify you to attend these exclusive workshops hosted by the best in the industry.

He is known for 'The One' starring Jet LI, 'The Quest' starring Jean Claude van Damme,  'Oceans 12' starring Brat Pitt, 'The Negotiator' starring Samuel L Jackson , 'The Specialist' starring Sylvester Stallone, 'Delta Force 2' starring Chuck Norris, 'Total Recall' starring Arnold Schwarzenegger among other. To find out more about him you can go to his IMDb page by clicking here.

Driven with passion to pass his wisdom to the younger generation, Steve, will be hosting workshops on Stunt Coordinating and Action Directing  in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban in September of 2014. He will share his practical knowledge about action acting, how to take bullet hits, six things to be a good stunt person (timing, co-ordinating, distance focus, power and mind), safety when dealing with action, how to use lenses, harness cables, hit cars, breaking down action in a script, stunt doubling, five different styles of fights, etc.

Steven Lambert met with local filmmaker and founder of Sollywood Films, Senzo Zindela, in New Orleans, USA, in February 2011. Since then, they started to work on the creation of African action films. Rubbing shoulders and attending a workshop hosted by him, will definitely make a big difference in African cinema, this workshop must not be missed!

Email us at, or call us at +27 71 098 5661. 
Or visit our website for more information, 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Invitation to Peacefulfish's 2014 Berlinale Information Sessions

Peacefulfish, Berlin-based consultancy for financing the creative industries, warmly invites you to attend our information sessions during the 2014 Berlinale, which will take place at the Tagesspiegel office on the following dates: 

08 February 2014 from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm 
11 February 2014 from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm 

and introduce you to the following offerings to international film producers: 

Film music funding and services provided by Just Temptation. For more information on Just Temptation visit: 

Closing The Gap equity investment training and investor pitching session (next application deadline: 18 February 2014). For more information on Closing The Gap visit: 

3D Content Financing Market held annually in Liege, Belgium. For more information about the 3D market visit:

During the Berlinale Information Sessions, there will be Q&As with representatives from each company. Light refreshments will be served. Seats are limited, so please send an e-mail to Lisei Galpin requesting to reserve your place by 31 January 2014: 

Der Tagesspiegel - Office                         
Askanischer Platz 3
10963 Berlin
 (a 5-minute walk from the Martin-Gropius-Bau EFM location) 

More information on the location

WGSA Knowledge Share Session in Durban

For their first Knowledge Share of 2014 the Writers' Guild of South Africa presents:

Comedic Timing, by Darren Maule

The Writers’ Guild of South Africa continues its series of Knowledge Share sessions with a workshop on Comedic Timing, to be presented in Durban by popular performer and comedian, Darren Maule.

Equally comfortable in front of a microphone, a camera or a live audience, Maule has been a familiar name on the entertainment circuit for two decades.  As one of South Africa’s top stand-up comedians, he has starred in several award winning television series and numerous advertisements both locally and internationally.  Television viewers have seen Maule most recently on a Survivor island.  He is also an accomplished actor, with stage success in the Tim Plewman farce, Grin and Bare it.

Maule is also remembered as one half of the comedy duo The House Boys, which played in comedy clubs around South Africa. As the host of East Coast Radio’s breakfast show, he is the voice which more than a million listeners in KwaZulu-Natal wake up to, with local and international fans enjoying features such as The Mauling News – Darren’s unique take on current affairs. 

Maule’s industry knowledge, intelligent repartee, engaging manner and ability to win over an audience make him the perfect host for this WGSA event.

Comedic Timing - with Darren Maule, will be held at Ike’s Bookshop, at 6pm on 27 January 2014. 

Entrance is free for WGSA members, R20 for non-members. 

Bookings and enquiries at

Monday, January 20, 2014

CCMS Intern Journalist Position

The  University of KwaZulu Natal (UKZN) Public Relations Manager is looking to employ an intern journalist for the period 1 February-31 July 2014. 

The aim of the intern would be to cover all newsworthy events and follow up on leads within the College, which is spread across Howard College, Westville and the Medical campuses.

The intern will be based in the Deputy Vice-Chancellors' Offices at Howard College. 

Depending on the qualification/s of the individual, a salary will be negotiated.

If you are interested and qualify, please e-mail Professor K.G. Tomaselli at

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Writers' Guild of South Africa Muse Awards nominations announced

The Writers’ Guild of South Africa (WGSA) has great pleasure in announcing the nominees for the inaugural WGSA Muse Awards 2013, which will be presented at a glamorous ceremony on March 15, 2013.  The awards, which will be an annual event, aim to recognise and celebrate the integral role played by performance writers in the South African film, television, radio, stage and new media industries. 

The WGSA received a substantial amount of entries for the initial 6 categories, and would like to thank all the entrants who submitted their scripts for consideration.

The nominees are as follows:

TV Comedy:
Anneke Villet:  Rugby Motors Season 1, Episode 10.
Anneke Villet:  Rugby Motors Season 1, Episode 4.
Fidel Namisi:  Tooth and Nails

TV Drama:
Joshua Rous:  Borderline - Episode 101 - Quiet Desperation.
Joshua Rous:  High Rollers – Episode 101 – The Prodigal
Minky Schlesinger:  4Play Sex Tips for Girls – Episode 4

Stage Play:
Gisele Turner:  eLimboland

Feature Film:
Shirley Johnston:  Felix
Philip Roberts:  One Last Look
Jahmil Qubeka:  Of Good Report

Spec Script:
Kelsey Egan:  The Chemist (Feature Film)
Sean Drummond:  Five Fingers for Marseilles (Feature Film)
Meg Rickards:  Common Purpose (Feature Film)

No nominations were made for Documentaries.

Thea Aboud
Writers’ Guild of South Africa

Mobile: 082 575 6901
Office: 011 888 4349
Fax: 086 654 1972
Email: /

Rose St Film Collective present a film night hookup with Slamdance International Film Festival

One Space. Four filmmakers. Big picture.

The Rose St. Film Collective is a tight community of Cape Town independent professional filmmakers working to produce cutting edge South African narrative and documentary features. 

We share a lively communal workspace, host peer workshops, screenings and film critiques, and support each other through the life of our members' projects. It's our mission to inspire groundbreaking films and maximize exposure of the best work from Cape Town-based filmmakers.

On Wednesday, 22 January, they are having a Slamdance screening and Skype hook-up with the Slamdance festival director and the director of last year's winning film (the documentary "The Dirties") at their Rose Street Film Collective offices. 

Over and above the screening Richard Slater-Jones from RSFC says: "We're trying to grow a community of like minded filmmakers and increase facetime contact and communication and collaboration between Cape Town independent film makers."

To confirm your attendance you can go to their FB Events page:

Or go to their website for more info about the project and their mission:

Monday, January 13, 2014

Natural History Unit Africa (NHU Africa) looking for strong, African based stories in the natural world.

Commissioning Brief

Producers are encouraged to apply for funding. Please read over the requirements for submissions.

NHU Africa is looking for strong, African based stories that speak to the connections between people, animals and the natural world. We are not looking for proposals focusing anywhere other than Africa and we are not looking for issues, thesis’ or lectures. We are looking for powerful, entertaining, unusual and dramatic stories that provide an insight into the natural world and our place within it.

We are looking for films which will appeal to International audiences rather than simply South African domestic audiences. In particular we are looking to engage audiences in the US, UK, Europe and Asia. We will commission both one off specials at 1 x 60 mins and multi part series with episode lengths of either 30mins or 60 mins. We are particularly interested in the following areas:

Human/Animal interaction:
This ranges from unique single stories like Into The Dragon’s Lair – an intense and frightening personal quest to dive with Nile Crocodiles in the Okavango- to Cheetah Diaries – a light observational documentary series following the ongoing the work of the dedicated staff at The Cheetah Outreach. All films in this area need strong characters, developing story lines and an ability to tell us something new about the needs, desires and connections that drive human relationships with wild animals.

Proposals in this area can be unique stories like Ice Man –the story of Lewis Pugh’s one man mission to highlight climate change by swimming in Antarctica – or more entertainment led series based ideas. All submissions whether for series or single films need to be built around strong characters and have a strong sense of a quest.
The Natural World/Blue Chip Natural History:
This ranges from 3 part series like Chameleons of the World- concentrating on one unusual species – to single more personal films like A Kalahari Tale- focusing on one particular individual animal. Proposals in this area must tell strong, unusual and dramatic stories, have their focus on the wild animals and offer high visual values.

Proposals in this area will tend to be more journalistic in approach. They can range from stories like The Search for The Knysna Elephants – one man’s attempts to challenge the official view that only one elephant remained in the Knysna Forest – to Free Passage to Angola – testing the notion that elephants are able to detect landmines. Proposals in this area should focus on unusual, difficult or controversial subjects and deliver genuine revelation.
Please don’t hesitate to submit your idea for commission or co-production to

Every submission must include:

  1. 1 page synopsis.
  2. Treatment (2-4 pages).
  3. Fully itemised budget in ZAR and US Dollars.
  4. Key Creatives biographies.
  5. Screener or showreel, if any.
  6. List of co-production, distribution or finance partners, if any already attached.

There is no closing date for the submissions and we take proposals at any time of year. You will hear back from NHU AFRICA within 4 weeks of your submissions as to whether your proposal has been successful or not.

To download the brief in pdf you can go to their website:

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Deadline looms for proposals to access the Durban Film Office’s Development Fund Programme

08 Jan 2014
The recently launched Development Fund Programme of the Durban Film Office closes this Monday 13th January 2014 at 17h00 – local filmmakers are encouraged to hurry and submit their proposals!  The programme is designed to, for the first time, cater for experienced and seasonal local filmmakers and will provide financial assistance to already developed film project proposals. 

DFO’s Toni Monty noted the need for initial funding for filmmakers that deserve and require a kick-start to their film project and to realise their dreams in filmmaking.

“We believe the programme will offer an ideal investment opportunity for both locally distinguished filmmakers as well as towards the promotion of our progressive film industry,” said Monty.

The programme will accept project proposals that display commercial viability, prospective investment and collaboration opportunities as well as local and global competitiveness.

Overview of the Development Fund Programme:
The Development Fund Programme will provide development funding to a maximum value of R250 000 per project.  The programme will support two projects per annum and will commence from 1 April 2014.

Who can apply?
Experienced writers, producers, directors based in Durban who need to develop projects for local and international investors, markets and audiences.

All project submissions must be delivered to:
Attention: Mr. Fezile Peko
Development Fund Programme
Durban Film Office
11th Floor Rennie House
41 Margaret Mncadi Avenue

Don’t miss this opportunity!  To receive an application form and more information on how to apply (requirements, process etc) please contact Development Fund Programme Project Manager, Mr. Fezile Peko, by sending and e-mail to or phone 031 311 4788. 

For more information on the Durban Film Office please visit

The Durban Film Office (DFO) is the film industry development arm of the eThekwini Municipality, mandated to position Durban as a world-class film production destination and facilitator for the development of the local film industry. The DFO drives activity and development in the sector in order to boost tourism, job creation and the development of core skills and SMMEs in the region.