Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Motsoeneng group rejects public protector's report

A group calling itself the "Hlaudi Motsoeneng Coalition" has "violently" rejected the report on the SABC released by the public protector which raised questions about his appointment and salary.

"We violently reject the report," the Communication Workers' Union's Thami Mzileni told reporters in Johannesburg on Tuesday.

"That report is not an honest report because it is not coming from an honest person."

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's report raised questions about Motsoeneng's matric certificate and said he had received irregular salary increases.

Mzileni accused Madonsela of being a "foot soldier of the white minority" and said "her views are the views that Helen Zille and [Lindiwe] Mazibuko speaks."

"Thuli is a messenger of the Democratic Alliance," he said.

(Zille is leader of the DA with Mazibuko the opposition's leader in Parliament.)


More reading:
The Citizen
The Mail & Guardian Online
City Press

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Business skills for film making

"An incredible fun (visual and storytelling) opportunity to learn business skills that can be applied to film projects," Tina-Louise Smith, Accidental Films and TV 
 About the Business Model Canvas
The BUSINESS MODEL CANVAS is a business tool that is being trained and used in Canada for creative content producers. The output of the BUSINESS MODEL CANVAS is a visualised business plan for a particular project. The BUSINESS MODEL CANVAS, while taught to filmmakers for a project can be applied to a business too.

The power of the BUSINESS MODEL CANVAS (BMC) lies in the narrative and visual approach to the business plan, which makes it easy to understand and interpret for users who may not have been formally trained in Business Management.

In South Africa we have many creative people entering the field of video production and filmmaking, who have not had business training but who now need to understand how to plan for their businesses and for individual projects. The BMC is the tool for them.

The Documentary Filmmakers’ Association (DFA) in collaboration with the Canadian Film Center  (CFC) and the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) will hold a series of workshops to transfer the skills to use the BMC to South African filmmakers.

The BMC workshops will be held during the Durban FilmMart July 2014. Filmmakers with different levels of filmmaking experience will be selected to attend the workshops. The outcome of their attendance, however, will be that each filmmaker will be able to develop a holistic strategy / business plan around each project they conceive.

Bringing the Business Model Canvas to South Africa is a project that will target both filmmakers and trainers.

Benefits to the Filmmaker Participants
Having completed the BUSINESS MODEL CANAVAS Workshops, filmmakers will have the tools to strategise for each project they embark upon. By adopting the narrative approach to each project, filmmakers will be able to plan around all elements of the project, including potential partners, key resources, key activities, potential income generating activities and potential audience.

The BMC will enable filmmakers to approach their film projects holistically from the outset, which will lead to a more coherent project with a more successful outcome.
Filmmakers will learn a business approach to their art, which will assist in growing more sustainable film and video production businesses in South Africa that produce interesting and powerful films.

Eligibility Criteria for Filmmakers
  1. Content producers should have produced at least one film (doc, short, fiction) as either the Producer or Director.
  2. Describe a current or proposed project for which you are currently trying to work out the business model. (350 words)
  3. Briefly describe your business approach for your proposed project: resources, customers, distribution channels and potential revenue. (350 words)
  4. Provide your company description, biog, headshot and contact details.
  5. You are able to cover your costs to attend the workshops at the Durban FilmMart.
Apply to participate in the Filmmaker Workshops by 28 March 2014.

Email queries to
This call is open to all South African filmmakers.

Initiated by the DFA, the project has the support of the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) and the Canadian Film Center (Media Lab).

Thursday, February 20, 2014



The Independent Producers Organisation (IPO) is dismayed by the information released by the Public Protector and the PWC Skills Report.

The IPO, which represents the majority of South Africa’s working producers, is both concerned and distressed by the continuing instability at the SABC, which as the nation’s public broadcaster has a crucial role to play in informing and educating our society.

There are many people in South Africa for whom this is their only source of information and entertainment. Whilst the organisation is making a few people rich, the quality of programming is suffering. Budgets are extremely low and the organisation is forced to rely more and more on advertisers to fund programming, which comes with severe challenges. In addition the production sector which is a source of thousands of jobs is becoming less and less sustainable and the quality of programming is decreasing.Instead of money going into the SABC’s core function, which is programming, it is supporting an inefficient and incompetent bureaucracy riddled with factional political, personal interests and corruption.

A once proud institution has been severely degraded over the past few years.  Blatant irregularities, fiscal mismanagement and fraudulent leadership has crippled the once diverse, content orientated SABC turning it into a dysfunctional burden on the tax-payer.We call on the institutions designed to provide oversight – parliament, the shareholder in the Department of Communications and ICASA to exercise their mandate and to intervene urgently.

For further information please contact IPO Administrator on:
083 600 9554 or send an e-mail to

Wednesday, February 19, 2014


"Pick up a camera. Shoot something. No matter how small, no matter how cheesy, no matter whether your friends and your sister star in it. Put your name on it as director. Now you're a director. Everything after that you're just negotiating your budget and your fee." - James Cameron

Film illuminates the world. It opens our eyes. It shows us things we don't see every day, makes us feel things we don't always feel. One of the most challenging aspects of being an independent filmmaker is promoting your film. Standing out among your peers is an enormous challenge, even for seasoned indie filmmakers. You could have an award winning film, but without a viewing audience your movie is worthless.

Now the Independent Mzansi Short Film Festival will showcase the latest short films made by up-and-coming South Africans. Short films, past and present, are true works of art, and deserve a festival dedicated to their exhibition.  Short filmmaking is in the midst of a renaissance. Screening at a festival is a sure-fire way to start creating a buzz around your film and your career.

The IMSFF is taking place from 25 -29 June 2014, and short films will be screened over a five-day period at the Maxi Cineplex in the Hatfield Plaza, Pretoria.

The festival will offer:
Interesting workshops conducted by industry professionals, 
Live Q&A sessions with the filmmakers in attendance. 
Give emerging filmmakers opportunity to network. 

Wrapping up the festival will be our exciting Awards Ceremony on Sunday, June 29th, 2014.

Competition categories include: 

  • Best Short Film, 
  • Best Director of a Short Film, 
  • Best Student Film, 
  • Best Original Screenplay of a Short Film, 
  • Best Actor in a Short Film, 
  • Best Actress in a Short Film,  
  • Best Supporting Actor in a Short Film, 
  • Best Supporting Actress in a Short Film, 
  • Best Original Score in a Short Film, 
  • Best Cinematography in a Short Film, 
  • Best Editing in a Short Film, 
  • Best Sound Editing & Mixing in a Short Film, 
  • Best Visual Effects in a Short Film, 
  • Best Production Design in a Short Film, 
  • Best Animation Short Film, 
  • Best Makeup & Hairstyling in a Short Film, 
  • Best Costume Design in a Short Film.

 A cash prizes of R50,000 will be offered to the film with the most awards. Nominations in each category will be announced a week prior to the event by a respected jury, and published on the website @

If you know of a filmmaker who wants recognition for his work, this is the festival to join. 

Submissions are accepted until June 6th, 2014Visit us @ for more information and the application form. 

And remember to like us on Facebook

See YOU at the movies...

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

SOS strongly supports the Public Protector’s recommendations on the SABC but calls for further action

Yesterday, the Public Protector, Adv. Thuli Madonsela, released her report called “When Governance and Ethics Fail”  (see attachment) on an investigation into allegations of maladministration, systemic corporate governance deficiencies, abuse of power and the irregular appointment of the COO, Mr. Hlaudi Motsoeneng by the SABC.

The report communicates, inter alia, the following allegations as being substantiated:

  • That the SABC Board under Dr Ben Ngubane, allowed Mr Motsoeneng to Act as Chief Operating Officer for a period exceeding 3 months without the requisite Board resolution, and exceeding the capped salary allowance;
  • That the GCEO and Dr Ngubane’s approval of each of Mr. Motsoeneng’s three salary increments amounting to 63% in a single fiscal year was irregular;
  • That former Board Chairperson, Dr Ngubane, abused his power and acted as a de facto executive chairperson of the SABC;
  • That Mr Motsoeneng, by his own admission, made fraudulent misrepresentations to his employers that he had completed his Matric qualification;
  • That suspended CFO, Ms Gugu Duda, was appointed irregularly through the interference of the Department of Communications and, by implication, then Minister of Communications, Ms Dina Pule; and
  • That Mr Motsoeneng, irregularly and through his abuse of power, purged senior staff members, particularly those who challenged him, from the SABC, leading to an avoidable loss of millions of Rands towards salaries in unnecessary settlements, escalating the SABC’s salary bill by an unprecedented amount in excess of R29 million.

The Public Protector’s findings lay bare what the public has known to be happening in the SABC all along. It gives detail to the gross maladministration and systemic corporate governance breaches in the SABC that the SOS Coalition has been campaigning against since its inception in 2008. The Public Protector’s findings give merit to the SOS Coalition’s position that the SABC has been and remains in crisis. Indeed, the Coalition agrees with her observation of a series of “pathological corporate governance failures by the SABC.” These findings, read together with last year’s audit disclaimer by the Auditor General of South Africa, the damning SABC Skills Audit report as well as the recent resignation of Ms Lulama Mokhobo as GCEO points to an organization that completely lacks leadership and, further, in many instances operates outside of the law. It is apparent that promises of stability, clean governance and good effective administration made by successive SABC Boards are far from bearing fruit. 

The Coalition has routinely called on the relevant oversight bodies which oversee the SABC’s functioning to play their part without fear or favour.

  • Throughout the periods 2008 – 2014, we have consistently called on the various Ministers of Communications and SABC Boards to resolve the long-standing legal dispute which, at every turn, has blocked the appointment of a permanent incumbent in the position of COO and resulted in some of the irregularities which the Public Protector has pointed to in her report;
  • From 2008 to date, we have consistently called on the Minister of Communications to back off from interfering unduly in the appointment processes of the senior executives of the SABC and leave the process to the Board alone;
  • In April, 2013, we wrote to Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Communications, on behalf of the people of South Africa, to take control of the situation and undertake a full and purposive inquiry into and root out the causes of the SABC’s governance problems at all levels. We went as far as requesting, unsuccessfully, an audience with the Committee to outline our concerns and present our contribution to developing a roadmap to transforming the SABC once and for all.

And yet, each of these calls was not taken into account, precipitating a chain of events where the SABC’s waning reputation and even weaker standing both in governance and financial soundness was further compromised.
The Coalition and, indeed, the people of South Africa are fed up with being outraged, dismayed and astonished. We need to abandon the denials about where the SABC stands. We need the problems to be named honestly and radical interventions to be taken.
The SOS Coalition wholeheartedly supports the Public Protector’s recommendations including in particular the appointment of an experienced qualified COO in the next 90 days. However, we do not believe that these actions alone are enough to turn around the systemic irregularities, corporate governance failures and egregious fruitless and wasteful expenditure of our public broadcaster.

We therefore, in addition, call for the following:

  • For the Minister to clearly and unambiguously commit to ensuring that neither he nor his Department will intervene in the appointments of the executive management of the SABC going forward. (SOS has embarked on a legal course of action to prevent the Minister from playing any role in appointments.)
  • For Parliament to boldly admit to their part in not holding the SABC to account in terms of the serious ongoing corporate governance and financial problems plaguing the SABC, and to commit to holding the SABC Board and the Department of Communications to account in terms of building strong public broadcasting in the country. SOS will be calling on all political parties to put forward their views on public broadcasting in the lead up to our elections.
  • For the SABC Board to clearly, boldly and publically commit to collective good corporate governance of the SABC including the appropriate filling of executive posts with qualified,
  • experienced incumbents. As the first step to ensuring good governance at the Corporation the SOS Coalition calls for the immediate suspension of Mr Motsoeneng.

We need swift, fair, open and transparent action to be taken to deal with the many crises outlined above and for all role-players to be held accountable.

The SOS Coalition is joining hands with its members, partners and other civil society organizations and movements to build a popular, grassroots campaign around public broadcasting. The Coalition will be organizing a series of crisis meetings to gather support.
We need an SABC that works. We demand an SABC that works!

For more information contact:
Sekoetlane Jacob Phamodi
Coordinator (Acting)
076 084 8077

“When Governance and Ethics Fail” 

The SOS Coalition represents a broad spectrum of civil society stakeholders committed to the broadcasting of quality, diverse, citizen-orientated public-interest programming aligned to the goals of the SA Constitution. The Coalition includes a number of trade union federations including COSATU and FEDUSA, a number of independent unions including BEMAWU and MWASA; independent film and TV production sector organisations including the South African Screen Federation (SASFED); a host of NGOs and CBOs including the Freedom of Expression Institute (FXI), Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) and Section 27, as well as a number of academics and freedom of expression activists.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Copyright your work

An invitation from the Actor's Club of South Africa and DALRO 

Join us for a presentation on Theatrical Rights by DALRO (the Dramatic Arts Literary Rights Organization).  It includes a brief explanation of the organization’s role in our industry, some information about copyright and how it works in South Africa, and the administration of your creative work. The floor will be open for questions and discussions.

All for the nominal fee of just R20 (proceeds to the Theatre Benevolent Fund)

Where: AFDA Lecture Room
When: February 20
Time: 18h30
RSVP: by Monday 17 February 2014

More about the Actor's Club on Facebook

My Hood Short Documentary Film Project - Close Encounters Laboratory 2014

Public Call for Directors for MY HOOD, a Short Documentary Film Project of the Close Encounters Documentary Laboratory Funded by the (NLDTF)

The Encounters Documentary Laboratory, Close Encounters, has received funding from the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund (NLDTF) to produce a series of short films. 

The MY HOOD project will include a Close Encounters Documentary Laboratory Workshop and the films will première at Encounters in June 2014.

This call is open to talented, experienced emerging and established female directors and black directors.

The Brief:
Something happens on every street, in every hood and in every community. We are looking for filmmakers who can reflect on the intimate details, the connections, the inter-actions, the play, the politics, the landscape and the characters of their street. We are also looking for unique voices and points of view in terms of story and form.

The MY HOOD project is an opportunity for filmmakers to turn their lens on a reality that is part of their daily life and experience and to find a story in everyday occurrences, or to portray the lives of those who inhabit their space.

The intention of the project is to develop and produce 6 x 8 minute short documentaries that have global appeal, that can be screened independently or as a body of work.

Only 6 (six) Directors will be invited to take part in a workshop during which their documentary ideas will be refined and developed to ensure strong, conceptual film scripts.

A guest facilitator will lead the workshop phase, providing script tuition, mentorship and support throughout. 

Applicants must be available to attend the full workshop phase, which runs in Cape Town from: Monday 17th to Friday 21st March 2014

Flights, accommodation and per diems will be provided. Successful candidates must bring their own laptop.


  • Synopsis and Story outline (1 page)
  • Directors Treatment and Vision (1 page)
  • CV detailing relevant experience and referees who may be contacted by Close Encounters Documentary Laboratory (2 pages)
  • Proposed team, names and role (1 page)
  • Budget outline of no more than R60,000.00 (1 page)
  • Copy of recent film work – this should include complete short films. No clip show reels will be accepted. These may be submitted on DVD, or as a Vimeo or Youtube link.

DEADLINE: Monday 24 February by 4pm – no late submissions will be considered.

Please send email submissions to:

Post submissions to:  
My Hood Producer
PO Box 2228
Cape Town 8000
Courier / by hand: My Hood Producer
1st floor, 27 Caledon St
Cape Town 8001

Successful applicants informed: 3 March 2014

Workshop in Cape Town: 17 -21 March 2014

Films to be completed by: 30 May 2014

Applicants need to be a South African citizen or have permanent residence permit.

67th Cannes International Film Festival attendance - call for applications

The National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) invites filmmakers who will be participating at and are attending the 65th Cannes International Film Festival to apply for funding for markets and festivals attendance. The Film Festival will take place from 14th until 25th of May 2014 in Cannes, France.

Markets and festival attendance funding is available to filmmakers that have been invited to participate, seek funding partners, and whose films have been accepted at the festival.

The maximum amount that filmmakers can apply for is R25 000.00.

The deadline for submission is Wednesday the 5th of March 2014.

To download the Markets and Festival form, click here.

For more information please email Naomi Mokhele on

Application forms can be emailed or delivered to the following address:

National Film and Video Foundation
C/O Lerato Mokopanele
87 Central Street,
Houghton, Johannesburg, 2196

Thursday, February 13, 2014

A Massive List of Upcoming Grants All Filmmakers Should Know About

By Oakley Anderson-Moore

(To read the original article and comprehensive compilation of grants click here)

It seems like every week a grant deadline flies by, and you find yourself looking forlornly at the expired application for free money, mumbling “coulda been a contender.” To give everyone more time to work on your films and scripts — and a little less time researching how to fund them — scroll through the list below to find relevant opportunities for your narrative films, documentaries, and screenplays with deadlines this Spring.

It’s hard enough to find grants, let alone decipher which ones might be relevant to your current project. The following grants, labs, and pitch opportunities are organized by deadline from February to May. A few grants with rolling deadlines are thrown in, and an asterisk next to the grant title means there is an equivalent grant for both doc and narrative. To find out more specifics on a grant, click on the title and get started!


In the documentary world, grant money tends to be earmarked for films that address important issues of our time, but granting agencies have an array of ideas about what those are! From projects about animals, the American South, or international co-productions, there are grants for everything, and storytelling reigns supreme.

Southern Documentary Fund In-the-Works Program

If you’ve got a rough cut with a connection to the American south, take it to the Full Frame festival and have audiences discuss your film with a moderator. From the SDF:

The In-the-Works program offers Full Frame audiences the unique opportunity to view documentaries in the final stages of editing, and participate in the critique process.
Deadline: Feb 17

History Unscripted Development Pipeline

Through the NY TV Festival, pitch a 2 – 5 minute pilot about charismatic male characters living in surprising worlds to the History Channel. From NYTVF:

Finalists will receive notes from the network and $2,500 to shoot short presentations that further explore their subject. One winning project, selected by History, will be awarded $10,000, and the creator(s) will have the opportunity to participate in the possible production of a pilot.
Deadline: Feb 24

IFP Independent Documentary Lab*

Submit your rough cut to the long-standing support of independent film for a year-long mentorship program that supports first time filmmakers. From IFP:

Focusing exclusively on low-budget features, this highly immersive program provides filmmakers with the technical, creative and strategic tools necessary to launch their films – and their careers.
Deadline: March 7

Bertha BRITDOC Connect Fund

This joint initiative between Bertha Foundation and BRITDOCc is the first European based fund open to filmmakers from anywhere with outreach campaigns. From BRITDOC:

The fund is looking to support smart, strategic outreach campaigns for ambitious independent documentary films with a social issue at their core; films which have the ability to achieve real change on a local, regional or global level.
Deadline: March 24

Independent Lens

This well curated PBS series offers a handsome sum for broadcast distribution of films each season. From PBS:

Independent Lens is currently seeking submissions of films in advanced rough cut or fine cut stage or completed films to broadcast during the October 2014 – June 2015 season.
Deadline: March 28

Good Pitch Australia

A sequel location of a popular pitch session where selected films get to pitch their projects in front of an array of funding agencies.

Good Pitch² Australia is a satellite event [for projects] committed to outreach goals and audience engagement ambitions, and looking for partners and collaborators to make your film truly influential and not just commercially successful.
Deadline: April 11

IDFA Bertha Fund

A grant from the largest and most prestigious doc-only film festival IDFA is worth looking into if you have an international film. From IDFA:

The IDFA Bertha Fund is the only fund in the world dedicated solely to stimulating and empowering the creative documentary sector in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and parts of Eastern Europe…The fund is looking for new creative documentary projects which can be submitted in project development, production, and post production.
Deadline: May 15

MacArthur Foundation Documentary Open Call

Doles out grants in the $50k-$200k range to films that spotlight important issues and fit with the MacFound initiatives.  From MacFound:

MacArthur supports the production of social-issue documentary films on important contemporary topics, intended for a broad audience, particularly in the U.S.
Deadline: Spring, to be announced


ITVS funded LINCS (Linking Independents and Co-producing Stations) offers a matching-funds program to docs aimed at  public television. From ITVS:

LINCS provides matching funds to producer-station partnerships. Up to $100,000 in matching funds is available for a single broadcast program.
Deadline: Rolling

The Bertha BRITDOC Documentary Journalism Fund

This new fund offers £10,000-50,000 to doc filmmakers from any country in a mix of grants and investments. From BRITDOC:

The fund supports projects at the intersection of film and investigative journalism that break the important stories of our time, expose injustice, bring attention to unreported issues, and cameras into regions previously unseen.
Deadline: Rolling

The Humane Society’s Ace Documentary Film Grant

A grant for films in production or post that highlight the welfare of animals. From the Humane Society:

$20,000 prize is awarded to the filmmaker who best succeeds in merging animal issues with a compelling narrative. Film projects must contain an animal welfare or animal protection issue.
Deadline: Rolling

ITVS Commissioned Funding

ITVS chooses projects that don’t fit in their normal programs of DDF, LINCS, and Open Call and offers development or production agreements. From ITVS:

For development funding, activities may include travel, research, script development, preliminary production for fundraising/work-in-progress reels, or other early-phase activities. For production funding, all production and post-production activities are eligible.
Deadline: Rolling


While narrative film is traditionally the realm of the investor, grants and labs do exist to help filmmakers with promising projects and careers. From shadowing as a TV director to showing your film to European distributors, here’s the lineup of opportunities with deadlines this spring.

Warner Brothers Television Directors’ Workshop

A new initiative bent on introducing up-and-coming directors to prime time. From the WB:

With the backdrop of active Warner Bros. Television sets as the learning environment and top television directors, cinematographers and showrunners as the instructors, those selected to the program will have the opportunity to participate in a workshop that is unprecedented and unparalleled in the industry.
Deadline: Feb 19

Film Independent’s Fast Track Fellowship*

This three-day program is open to established and up-and-coming filmmakers looking for financing for their films. From FIND:

During three days of intensive meetings, Fast Track connects filmmakers with financiers, production companies, and other industry professionals.Participants accepted into Fast Track are also eligible for a $15,000 production grant awarded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and a $10,000 Millenium Entertainment Fellowship.
Deadline: Feb 24

World Cinema Fund

Brought to you by the auspicious Berlinale Festival, this funds directors from regions with a “weak film infrastructure” (Africa, Latin America, Central America and the Caribbean, the Middle East, Central Asia, Southeast Asia and the Caucasus) who have a German partner. From Berlinale:

The World Cinema Fund supports films,  either in production or distribution, that could not be made without additional funding: films that stand out with an unconventional aesthetic approach, that tell powerful stories and transmit an authentic image of their cultural roots.
Deadline: Feb 27

Creative Capital*

Grants go towards any moving or visual artists who are over 25 years old with $50k in direct funding for their project, and career development services worth $40k. From Creative Capital:

Creative Capital supports innovative and adventurous artists across the country through funding, counsel and career development services. Our pioneering approach—inspired by venture-capital principles—helps artists working in all creative disciplines realize their visions and build sustainable practices.
Deadline: February 28

The Hubert Bals Fund

An intiative from the prestigious International Film Festival Rotterdam dedicated to funding work by filmmakers from developing countries with funds from €10.000 to €20.000. From IFFR:

The Hubert Bals Fund is designed to help remarkable or urgent feature films by innovative and talented filmmakers from Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and parts of Eastern Europe on their road to completion.
Deadline: March 1

Women In Film/Netflix Finishing Fund*

The ladies film industry organization gives out sizeable finishing funds to films by women filmmakers, with a preference on plots about women. From WIF:

The Film Finishing Fund provides cash grants and in-kind production services to complete films that fit the established criteria of being by, for or about women.  The works-in-progress are viewed by a special jury of WIF professionals that selects the winning submissions.
Deadline: Opens March

IFP Independent Narrative Lab*

Apply with your rough cut to IFP’s year-long mentorship program that supports first time narrative filmmakers whose projects are being made for under $1mil. From IFP:

Through the Labs, IFP works to ensure that talented emerging voices receive the support, resources, and industry exposure necessary to reach audiences. Open to all first time feature documentary and narrative directors with films in post-production.
Deadline: April 4

The Roy Dean Grant/From the Heart Productions*

The Roy Dean Grant includes over $30k of in-kind services and products is open for shorts, docs, and features films with a budget under $500,000. From FTHP:

We fund compelling stories about little known subjects, historical films, and films that touch hearts. We like films that expose, and bring, important information to light; as well as films about little known people when there is a good story.
Deadline: April 30

Nextpix/Firstpix Crowdfunding Grant

An interesting take on granting, Nextpix/Firstpix will fund films with a budget under $250k that are the first or second film by a director and are crowdfunding part of that budget. From N/FCG:

Rather than fund on a pre-determined cycle, we will accept queries from any film that is being crowfunded at any point during the year. Once we’ve received your query please give us 30 days to respond. The film should have a positive humanitarian message.
Deadline: Rolling

Creative District*

A new start-up aimed at making a LinkedIn type of networking platform specifically for filmmakers, they are giving away $5k each month to selected features or shorts:

Our mission is to help film and media makers create more work. We’re giving away up to $5,000 in grants each month. Projects can be at any stage.
Deadline: Rolling

Panavision’s New Filmmaker Program

If you are a student or a low-budget indie, Panavision might supply you with free camera packages. From Panavision:

The New Filmmaker Program loans film or digital camera packages (based on availability) to filmmakers for student thesis films, “low-budget” independent features, showcase reels, Public Service Announcements, or any other type of short not-for-profit project.
Deadline: Rolling


Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences hosts an international screenwriting competition established to identify new talent in screenwriting. From the Academy:

Up to five $35,000 Fellowships are awarded annually. Fellowship recipients are expected to complete at least one original feature film screenplay during the Fellowship year.
Deadline: Feb 28 (Early deadline)

Nickelodeon Writing Program

This writing program gives you a salaried position for a year as you get hands-on experience writing specs and pitching stories. From Nickelodeon:

As part of their script writing, each writer will be assigned to an Executive in Charge of Production and have an opportunity to write a spec script for an on-air Nickelodeon show. In addition, all writers are integrated into the activities of both the development and production departments.
Deadline: Feb 28

Slamdance Writing Competition

This competition program has four categories and gives awards to the top three of each plus a grand prize. Also, every entry gets feedback. From Slamdance:

The Slamdance Screenplay Competition is dedicated to discovering and supporting emerging writing talent. We welcome screenplays in every genre, on any topic, from anywhere in the world.
Deadline: April 8 (Early deadline)

Sundance Screenwriters Lab

The Sundance Screenwriters Lab is more than a five day screenwriting workshop – it’s the gateway for all films chosen to be in the Director’s Lab, as well as eligibility to many of the Sundance grants. From the Sundance Institute:

Through one-on-one story sessions with Creative Advisors, Fellows engage in an artistically rigorous process that offers them indispensable lessons in craft, as well as the means to do the deep exploration needed to fully realize their material.
Deadline: May 1, Aug 15 for international applicants

CBS Writer’s Mentoring Program

In this six month mentorship program, writers get to build relationships to further their careers. From CBS:

The focus of this six month program is on opening doors: providing opportunities to build relationships with network executives and show runners; to support new and emerging writers in their efforts to improve their craft; and to develop the interpersonal skills necessary to break in and succeed.
Deadline: May 1

Film Independent Screenwriters Lab

A five week lab in Los Angeles where writers work on their scripts two to three evenings a week. From FIND:

The Lab is designed to help screenwriters improve their craft, develop their voices as writers, and take their current scripts to the next level. During the Lab, Fellows receive feedback on their scripts from the Lab Mentor, outside advisors, and the other writers in the program.
Deadline: May 5

NBC’s Writers on the Verge

A three month program that prepares you to be a full-time staff writer, with a particular empasis on applicants from diverse backgrounds. From NBC:

Writers on the Verge is a 12-week program focused on polishing writers and readying them for a staff writer position on a television series. We are looking for writers who are “almost there” but need that final bit of preparation with their writing and personal presentation skills.
Deadline: May 31

Disney/ABC Television Writing Program

This program is designed to expose writers to lit VIPs while paying you a real salary and maybe even health insurance. From Disney/ABC:

Writers become employees of Disney | ABC Television Group and will be paid a weekly salary of $961.54 ($50,000.00 annualized) plus any applicable benefits for which they are eligible in accordance with the then-current Company benefits plans. The program is designed to expose writers to key executives, producers and literary representatives – all essential in the development of a writing career.
Deadline: Spring, to be announced


Grants — Funds For Writers
IFP’s Guide to Granting Organizations — IFP
POV’s Documentary Funding Resources — PBS

WGSA MUSE AWARDS - Inaugural Ceremony

WGSA has created the WGSA Muse Awards to recognise the hard work done by local performance writers in the SA film, TV and entertainment industry. It is an award by writers for writers, which finally shines the spotlight on the often forgotten custodians of SA arts and culture.

Venue: The Barnyard Theatre, Cresta Shopping Centre, Johannesburg
Date and Time: 15 March 2014, 15h30 for 16h00 till late

Ceremony, Light Refreshments, Networking and a Show.

A limited number of tickets for this fantastic event are still available for sale from

The winners of the Muse Awards 2013 will also be announced.

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)

Book yours now and help us celebrate our writers with the cream of the local entertainment industry.

Members:  R250 per person, Non-members:  R350 per person
Bulk tickets (10 persons per table) per table - R2000

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

R2K and SOS workshops on government communications policy

The government is reviewing laws on freedom of expression, diversity in radio and TV, the cost of communication and Internet access. NOW is your opportunity to participate in the discussion about the future of communication in South Africa.

 The Right2Know Campaign and SOS Coalition are running two workshops to develop a civil society response to the Department of Communications Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Green Paper (see executive summary here). 

Please join us in either Johannesburg (Thursday 20 Feb) or Cape Town (Thursday 27 Feb).
RSVP here or email to book you place.

What is at stake?
After almost 20 years of democracy much of South African society retains the structure of our Apartheid past. While a small elite have access to a wide range of TV and radio on the paid platforms like DSTV, the majority only have access to an underfunded SABC and Community radio/TV that cannot adequately serve the information and expression needs of a country as diverse and complex as South Africa.
Similarly, those that live in wealthy urban areas enjoy high speed Internet and quality telephone networks. The majority of people living in South Africa rely on the cellphone network and bear the brunt of cellphone companies profiteering. The democratising potential of the Internet -  the ability to draw on vast amounts of knowledge and to produce and upload content - will remain elusive for most people until high-speed broadband networks are set up connecting every community.
Then there is the return of the censor, the securocrat, and the spy. Evidence that there is political interference in editorial at the SABC and community radios is mounting. The governance of stations is too often captured by elites. Edward Snowden's courageous exposure of the USA's extensive online spying programmes shows us just how susceptible we are to state surveillance on the Internet.
Indeed the current communication system reproduces South Africa's great inequity. This is reflected in the policy debate itself where these issues are too often discussed in very technical terms and the debate is dominated by 'experts' advancing the interests of big business and/or the government. It is critical that ordinary people have a voice.

Here are some of the questions we hope to answer together in the ICT policy process:

1. Who controls the air waves - and to what end? Who should have limited radio and TV licences? How should the SABC and community radio/TV be structured to ensure its political independence and public accountability? How should we fund and produce quality content? How can ICASA's regulation be strengthened? How should we promote diverse views, languages, and cultures?
2. Who should benefit from the Internet and telephones? What is a fair price to pay for telephone and Internet services? Should these services - or at least basic access - be available free of charge? How should prices be set? How can we ensure everyone gains access to high speed broadband? What is the role of the state, private sector, and communities in providing telecommunications infrastructure and services?
3. How do we stop the spies?  How can we ensure our privacy when using the Internet and our telephones?  Is all Internet traffic treated equally and free of surveillance? If not, what can be done so that the people control their own information and not the state or private telecoms? How do we prevent cyber crime?
The ICT Green Paper follows a Framing Paper that addresses critical principles that should underpin communications policy. You can read the Right2Know and SOS Coalition responses to the Framing Paper here and here.
If you require more background to the various issues see R2K's work on media freedom/diversity and on access to telecommunication, or visit the SOS website.
For more background and guiding principles read the Right2Know Position Paper on Media Freedom, Diversity, and Right to Communicate and the SOS's Vision for Public Broadcasting for background on public broadcasting in South Africa.

By: Mark Weinberg, Right2Know Campaign