Friday, October 30, 2015

Invitation to SAGA FIA Conference 2015

The South African Guild of Actors is proud to be hosting, for the second year running, an international delegation of our peers.

The Guild welcomes representatives of the International Federation of Actors FIA, the Canadian Actors Union ACTRA and SAG-AFTRA of the USA, for day-long conferences in Johannesburg and Cape Town.  Dominick Luquer is the General Secretary of the International Federation of Actors (FIA). He oversees the representation of the professional interests of its members at international level, voicing the concerns of performers working primarily for the audiovisual industry. Stephen Waddell is the National Executive Director of ACTRA, the national union representing over 22,000 professional performers in the English-language recorded media in Canada.  Brad Keenan leads ACTRA Performers’ Rights Society (APRS) and ACTRA Recording Artists’ Collection Society (RACS) the arms of the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA), that collect and disburse remuneration to performers and advocates on behalf of artists.  Duncan Crabtree-Ireland is chief operating officer and general counsel of SAG-AFTRA, the world’s largest entertainment and media artists union, representing actors, recording artists, and news and entertainment broadcasters.

The proliferation of diverse media platforms and the increasingly global nature of the entertainment industry are causing the ground to shift significantly under the feet of performers in our local film, theatre and television environment. Such a dynamic climate presents both challenges and opportunities for stakeholders; SAGA is committed to the empowerment of actors and other creative entrepreneurs as they navigate the changing landscape.

Various sessions are planned, each dedicated to shedding light on a particular facet of the Creative Sector:

  • Industry experts will help us to explore the backdrop to current entertainment scene: where we come from as performers, where we currently find ourselves and what challenges and opportunities await us on the horizon.
  • International co-productions are a feature of the global industry with local facilitation increasingly shaping the performer’s environment. We will explore global standards around such issues as working conditions, sexual harassment and the promotion of diversity. 
  • Leaders in the film and television production industry will share their experiences and propose a vision for the future: how we might capitalise on the present opportunities, meeting challenges, mitigating limitations and creating sustainable benefits.
  • We will explore the dynamics of building capacity for greater cooperation in the industry to achieve mutually beneficial goals. We’ll examine mechanisms for mobilising individuals to cooperate for the greater good, and ways of forging meaningful partnerships between actors, agents, casting directors, producers, distributors and broadcasters.

With our local Intellectual Property legislation under review, we investigate international copyright regimes and best practices. What are South Africa’s obligations under the various conventions and treaties and their impact? What is South Africa’s stance on the Beijing Treaty on copyright in audiovisual performance? What is the status of the Performers’ Protection Act? What moral and economic rights should performers retain as their work is further exploited

Agendas for Cape Town and Johannesburg are available on request.  

Booking is important as seating is limited to 35 people per session.  
RSVP to by Tuesday, 27 October 2015, and indicate the city and session that you would like to attend.

Corine Broomberg | SAGA Executive Administrator
Cell: 072-401-2718 | E-mail:  
NPC Number: 2012/1073405/108 | NPO Number: 119-128

Thursday, October 22, 2015


IP Research, Development & Securing Innovation

Dates:  25th & 26th November 2015
Venue:  Amabhubesi Conference Centre, 
              292 Surrey Avenue, Ferndale, 
              Randburg, 2194, Johannesburg, RSA

Patents, Trade Marks and Copyright continue to be the most valued asset that a company can own. Today companies are faced with constant changes, smarter crimes, and greater competition among brand owners of the world. Trade Mark and copyright practitioners must understand and overcome these challenges.

Amabhubesi invites you to our upcoming Intellectual Property and Commercialization Masterclass to be held this November in Johannesburg. This masterclass will bring out latest thinking on the social and economic value of IP (Intellectual Property). Discussions will focus on how a comprehensive strategy for IP could underpin Africa’s position as a competitive leader in the global economy. The IP Masterclass is focused on intellectual property as an investment, which raises the total value of the brand and plays an integral part.

The objective of this masterclass is to also address various legal aspects of the most recent developments in both jurisprudence and legislation in the field IP law.

Key topics include:
• Cross-border copyright protection and designs
• Validity and infringement tests
• Most recent case law in the field of trade marks and domain names

The IP Trademark & Copyright Protection masterclass will also address these critical topics in intellectual property law, and give the answers you need to protect your brand. This professional development masterclass is also intended for individuals currently working in or aspiring to work in intellectual property intensive fields whether in the public or private spheres. The designed workshops within the masterclass will include lectures offered by IP experts and will involve practical exercises, group discussions and case studies. Attending this event will make IP work for your organization.

Expert facilitators:
Theo Doubell, Director, Bouwers Inc. (RSA)
Hans JGM Nieuwkamp, BIJ,  Buerobotic (Netherlands)
Hugh Melamdowitz, Spoor & Fisher (RSA)
Gerard Verhoef, Stellenbosch University (RSA)

Who should attend:
Directors, GM’s, Heads & Managers, IP Officer, Patent Examiners, Legal Department, Attorney, Trademark Specialist, Intellectual property commissioner, Professor, Research and Development Managers, Legal Advisor: Risk and Compliance, University Lecturers, Executive Advisor, Executive for Strategy Companies, Research and Research Project Managers (e.g. Engineers & Technologists), Director: Innovation Support, Policy Makers, Deputy Director Generals.

Contact: Duncan Ndebele, Project Coordinator
292 Surrey Avenue, Ferndale, Randburg, 2194, Gauteng, South Africa
P O Box 2568, Cramerview, 2060, Gauteng, South Africa
Tele: +27 (0)11 326 0353  |  Fax2email: +27 (0)86 613 7734 
Cell:  +27 (0)74 783 0524  |  Fax: +27 (0)11 326 0354 
Email |

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Exclusive: The charges against embattled SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng

From the article by Jenna Etheridge, News24

Hlaudi Motsoeneng with misconduct ahead of his disciplinary hearing at the end of the month, News24 can exclusively reveal on Friday.

The charge sheet and hearing notice, which Motsoeneng signed on Monday, charged Motsoeneng with a number of acts of misconduct. News24 is in possession of the charge sheet.

The document was compiled by SABC board chairperson Prof Mbulaheni Obert Maguvhe.

He explained in the letter that the board was of the view that disciplinary proceedings should be instituted pursuant to the outcome of court action between the public broadcaster and the Democratic Alliance at the Supreme Court of Appeal.

The SCA recently upheld a Western Cape High Court order by Judge Ashton Schippers that Motsoeneng be suspended for 60 days while a disciplinary hearing into his alleged malfeasance was conducted.

Motsoeneng on Tuesday filed an application in the Constitutional Court for leave to appeal the SCA judgment in respect of the suspension.

His disciplinary hearing is scheduled for October 30.

Maguvhe said the alleged acts were viewed “in a very serious light”.

Should he be found guilty, “the SABC will request that strong action be taken against you, which may include dismissal”.

The charge sheet, which News24 has obtained a copy of, listed the following alleged acts of misconduct:

Gross dishonesty (alternatively misrepresentation):

That when Motsoeneng applied for a position as a trainee journalist in March 1995 , he said on an application form that he had passed Standard 10 (matric) at age 23 with the following subjects and symbols: “English E, South Sotho E, Afrikaans E, Bibs E and History F”. It alleged that Motsoeneng misrepresented facts relating to his qualifications in that he did not possess the Standard 10 he alleged to have passed in his application form. It also said he was appointed on the basis that he had passed.

Gross dishonesty:

That when applying for the position of Current Affairs executive producer at the SABC in 2003, the broadcaster said he had not been truthful about a position he included on his CV. It charged him with misleading the SABC into believing he was once employed as head of communications at the Northern Cape tourism department.

Abuse of position (alternatively gross negligence):

That when he was a part of an SABC selection panel, he abused his position as acting COO by appointing a candidate that never applied for a position, and whom he interviewed despite her not being shortlisted.

Gross misconduct:

That he created a new position for an employee without advertising it internally or externally or holding interviews. It was further alleged that he transferred the employee to the new position without approval from the executive committee.

Abuse of position:

That while Acting COO, he unfairly dismissed senior staff members of the SABC for differing in opinion to him.

Gross misconduct:

That he unilaterally increased his salary and two others, which constituted unauthorised expenditure in terms of the Public Finance Management Act.

The charge document can be found at the bottom of the original News24 article.

Monday, October 5, 2015

2016 ANT call for funding applications

 Published by Pieter Jacobs. Posted in Arts Funding
Pro Helvetia Johannesburg is pleased to announce a new 3 year agreement with the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). 

Their cooperation with the SDC extends back to 1999 and has played a powerful reinforcing role to our work in facilitating exchange, collaboration and connection between Switzerland the SADC region. The focus of our SDC-financed programme has for some years been on enabling transnational collaboration and exchange between artists, projects and organisations across the SADC region, with the aim of making a contribution to the development of a regional cultural fabric within SADC.

The SDC has always taken culture into account in its work, and has a long tradition of supporting cultural expressions alongside concerns with hard development issues in the areas of, for example, health, education and governance. In the strategy 2013-2016 for Swiss international cooperation, culture and arts are for the first time explicitly mentioned as a means of realising development objectives. To this end, the SDC applies a ‘percent for culture’ principle to its development funding, whereby at least 1% of the overall SDC programme budget is used to support culture “in and of” SDC partner countries. Read more about the SDC here.

At the end of 2014, Pro Helvetia Johannesburg renewed its mandate to administer the SDC Southern African Regional Programme’s support for Arts & Culture for a further 3 years (from 2015-17).During this period we will exercise this support in two areas, the first being through micro- grants for short-term projects that involve collaboration between professional artists and arts organisations within the Southern African region (ANT Project funding and ANT Research grant).This funding stream also now enables artists, curators, managers and organisers to access funding to support research and project development trips to other countries in the region.

The second area is focused on support to existing projects and organisations that play a strong role in promoting a more networked and connected arts sector in the SADC region, whether through creative collaboration, sharing of skills and knowledge, or the presentation of significant creative voices from across the region. (Platform funding).

Geographically, the projects involve Southern African cross-border collaboration. Here Southern Africa includes Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania (including Zanzibar), Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Submission deadline is Friday 13th November 2015.

Friday, October 2, 2015


By: Anjum Rajabali

We were hoping to avoid this, and did our damnedest for that, but unfortunately, in the face of demeaning obduracy, we failed. Hence, the only way out of a rather grim situation is to continue the struggle by striking work!

So, all the workers of this industry, including directors, actors, music directors, cinematographers, all other technicians, junior artistes, AND screenwriters & lyricists are going on strike from October 3, 2015.

Below, I'm going to focus on the screenwriter's condition. 

Background for screenwriters
The vulnerable position and condition of screenwriters in the film industry is no secret. And, the primary reason for that is that writers’ contracts are unfair, are totally one-sided in favour of producers, exploitative, and violate the Copyright Act, as we explain below. Writers' contracts humiliate the writer! In too many contracts, even credit is not assured. Shockingly, the contracts of even some established writers say, ‘Final credit will be on the discretion of the producer’! And, ‘This contract can be terminated by the producer at any time, without assigning any reason whatsoever’! This allows the producer to throw you out, snatch your written work, take your credit away, and deny you your balance fees. (Some contracts even state that the writer will return the fees, if the producer is unhappy with the work!!) Wow!

Plus, it is a known fact that new writers, no matter how good their work and how talented they may be, are paid a pittance, often less than Rs. 1 lakh for the entire script. Even successful writers are paid much much less than the worth of their work. This, when film budgets are ballooning rapidly and proudly, all the time. And, star salaries have hit the sky!

Copyright Law

The amended Copyright Act was unanimously passed by parliament in June 2012. It now contains sections that are protective of writers’ rights. According to this law now

  • When a writer writes, s/he creates intellectual property of which s/he is the first owner
  • S/he then has the right to assign it to the producer to make a film, making him the second owner
  • The right to be called the author of that work is permanently his/hers
  • While the producer is free to commercially exploit the script, when the film based on your script is shown on TV, on the Internet or on any platform outside of a cinema hall, you are entitled to royalties (a percentage of such earnings). If the film is remade or adapted or dubbed or converted into a TV serial or book or commercially exploited in any way whatsoever, you are entitled to royalties from such exploitation. This right to receive royalties cannot be assigned or sold to anyone, including to the producer. No one can take it away!
  • This royalty is separate from the writing fee. And, you are to receive it for your entire lifetime, after which your heirs get it for 60 years after your death. (Royalty rates are formulated by the writers’ copyright society and confirmed by the Copyright Board. While HRD Ministry is still to appoint a Copyright Board, do know that you will get your royalties in retrospect from June 21, 2012, and writing contracts have to acknowledge that.) Royalty does not depend on the generosity of the producer. It is your legal right.

This is the clear and unambiguous copyright law of this country.

Illegal contracts

How many writers’ contracts have these clauses? None! Instead, they term the writing fee ‘advance royalty’, or flatly write that the writer forgoes his/her right to receive royalty. This is blatantly illegal.

For too long have all screenwriters suffered such practices that deny them the due value of their work, their credit and royalty!

Why do they do this? Simple answer: Because they can! As businessmen, their aim is to squeeze costs wherever possible, and writers are soft, unprotected targets. Their high-sounding words about writers being very important never seem to translate into contracts, fees and rights!

FWA’s Minimum Basic Contract

To rectify this situation, and regulate the writer-producer relationship, FWA insisted on a basic standard contract for film & TV writers and lyricists, which would have some essential protective clauses, and a schedule for minimum fees, production slab-wise. After intensive consultations with several IP lawyers and about 25 film screenwriters including Javed Akhtar, Vishal Bhardwaj, Jaideep Sahni, Sriram Raghavan, Rajat Aroraa, Shridhar Raghavan, Abbas Tyrewala, Amole Gupte, Saket Chaudhary and others, a Minimum Basic Contract (MBC) was formulated.

  • It is based on the principles of mutuality and fairness.
  • Holds both, the producer and the writer, accountable to their respective commitments
  • Guarantees your credit.
  • Confirms your right to receive royalty.
  • Protects you against arbitrary termination.
  • Has a schedule of minimum writing fees, budget-wise.

Our MBC was examined by senior Indian and international writers, other writers’ guilds, senior IP lawyers, and most importantly by producers themselves. It was termed reasonable by all of them! In fact, three years ago, when FWA officially negotiated this MBC with the Film and TV Producers Guild, all the above clauses were mutually agreed to! They even wrote to us confirming this!! And, yet, when the copyright act was amended, they summarily backtracked.

The solution: Collective Bargaining

Screenwriters the world over envy the status and rewards that Hollywood writers enjoy. Why do they get this and Indian writers don’t? The only, and we repeat, the only difference is collective bargaining! The bargaining power of an individual writer is grossly unequal compared to that of the producer. So, the Writers Guild of America enforces their own Minimum Basic Agreement with the collective support of all its members. And, even they’ve had 3 strikes since the 40s before achieving their currently enviable position.


The Federation of Western India Cine Employees (FWICE, the mother-body of all 23 unions) signs a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Producers’ bodies to ensure a wage-increase and improved working conditions for workers. But, this was mainly for the physical workers. This year, FWA and other talent-based unions, including cinematographers, editors, art directors, sound recordists, etc. decided that our proposed standard contracts should be included in that collective MoU.

The Producers’ representatives agreed, in principle, that negotiation meetings with all the unions would be concluded and the MoU signed by January 2015.

Why strike?

But, that has not happened. Unending prevarications, procrastinations, cancellations, and excuses have been used to not sign it. The sub-text is clear: On their own, they will not grant us our rights. Not until, we resolve to struggle and fight for it.

After 14 months of suffering delaying tactics, FWICE was left with no choice but to declare a general strike. All the 23 unions, actors, directors, music directors, every single worker of the Film & TV industry, including FWA, are going on strike!

Of course it is going to be difficult to sustain the strike. In a relationship-based industry, telling one's producer that I am on strike and won't write is deucedly awkward. You fear for your job. A writer's strike in India is unprecedented, and hence fraught with doubts, misgivings, anxiety and questions.

Entirely understandable. But, the alternative of a no-strike seems clear too. You continue to be denied the fair value of your work. You get exploited for ever. You continue to suffer the humiliation of unfair contracts, which take away your rights AND your dignity.

On the other hand, if screenwriters remain united and speak in one voice and action through this strike, they can compel producers to collectively negotiate a fair and just MBC, which will assure every screenwriter of a decent status. So, while we don’t want a strike, it seems clear that we need it. Moreover, as members of their union, screenwriters are bound by it. 

All working writers, please feel free to send in your questions and issues to Please cc

It’s time to stop being helpless. It’s time to make a difference. And, if we stand together, we can!

In solidarity:
Anjum Rajabali (Convener, Film MBC)
Saket Chaudhary (Member, Film MBC)
Abhijeet Deshpande (Member, Film MBC)
Manisha Korde (Member, Film MBC and Jt. Secretary FWA)
Sanyuktha Chawla-Shaikh (Member, Film MBC)
Pooja Varma (Member, Film MBC)
Vinod Ranganath (Convener, TV MBC and Vice President FWA)
Rajesh Dubey (Member, TV MBC)
Zaman Habib (Member, TV MBC and Jt. Secretary FWA)
Preiti Mamgain (Member, TV MBC and Treasurer FWA)
Rajita Sharma (Member, TV MBC)
Mayur Puri (Convener, Lyricists’ MBC)
Kamlesh Pandey (General Secretary FWA and President FWICE)

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Documentary Film Association: In the news

October 2015

Miners Shot Down nominated for an Emmy
The harrowing documentary Miners Shot Down - which was recently released on VIDI - has scored an International Emmy Award nomination in the Best Documentary category.

There were 40 nominees across 10 categories and 19 countries, including Angola, Austria, Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, France, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, United Kingdom and the United States.

The acclaimed film, directed by Rehad Desai, exposes the truth behind the Marikana mineworkers strike and the subsequent masscacre. Using the point-of-view of the miners, Miners Shot Down follows the strike from day one, showing the courageous but isolated fight waged by a group of low paid workers against the combined forces of the mining company, Lonmin, the ANC government and their allies in the National Union of Mineworkers. Six days after the strike began, the police used live ammunition to brutally suppress the workers, killing 34 and injuring many more. What emerges is collusion at the top, spiralling violence and the country’s first post-colonial massacre.

Released last year, Miners Shot Down has received worldwide acclaim and gone on to win multiple awards including:

The Cinema for Peace Award winner 2015;
The Václav Havel Jury Award at the One World Human Rights Film Festival;
Camera Justitia Jury Award at the Movies That Matter Human Rights Film Festival;
The Aung San Suu Kyi Jury Award at Hrhdiff, Myanmar;
The Audience Award at the African Film Festival, Cologne;
The Audience Prize at The Black Movie Film Festival, Geneva;
The Best Reality Documentary Award at The Ugu Film Festival, South Africa;
Jury First Prize For Documentary, Fespaco, Burkina Faso;
Best Documentary Feature South African Film And Television Awards; and
Human Rights Jury Award, Amnesty International, Durban International Film Festival.

“Every year, the international television community competes to be recognized for excellence on the International Emmy's global stage,” said Bruce L. Paisner, president & CEO of the International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. “We congratulate the 2015 Nominees for their outstanding programs and performances.”

Winners will be announced at a black-tie Ceremony on Monday, 23 November 2015 at the Hilton New York Hotel.

Other documentaries in the Uhuru Productions collection include Alexandra My Alexandra, Father Inside, Bhambatha: War of the Heads 1906, The Choir, Taking Back the Waves Nasser Tapes, Cops 17: An Activist's Diary, Weather Gods, Permission to Stay, Battle for Johannesburg, You Chuse, Bushmen’s Secret, The Heart of Whiteness, Born into Struggle, Looting the Nation, My Land My Life, Dilemma and Carlos Cardoso: An Independent Spirit.

For more information on these and the hundreds of other movie and TV titles, visit For more information on Miners Shot Down, visit

SA directors contribute to Al Jazeera woman empowerment documentaries
Launched on 26 September, Women Make Change is a new series from Al Jazeera showcasing women who have started impactful local projects in Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, Brazil, Nicaragua, and Papua New Guinea. Focusing on areas as diverse as water, agriculture, family planning and sport, their work shows that investing in women is indeed smart economic sense. Former Nigerian media personality of the year Femi Oke hosts the new series.

When the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit met from 25 to 27 September, they discussed the progress made in the 20 years since the Beijing Declaration of women’s rights. This series shows the human story behind those debates and profiles some of the work being done to reduce poverty.

“At a time when the world is debating gender equality and sustainable development goals, we wanted to hear first-hand from women who are already making significant changes in their communities,” says Ingrid Falck, Al Jazeera English’s head of Documentaries. “We interrogated the latest research findings to see how the ripple of impact can work. The combination of impressive, authoritative women who live with these issues in the real world, together with integrated graphics, paints a thought-provoking picture.”

South African Karin Slater directed the first film, The Water Women, traveling to Kenya to talk to Rose Atieno and Catherine Ondele. These women have been instrumental in training local women to build rainwater harvesting tanks to villages which had been without clean water. Forty-three percent of rural Kenyans are without clean water, essential to combat preventable diseases. Since they built the tank in one village, they have not had a single case of cholera. It’s also been transformative for a nearby health centre, which can now offer a range of new services. 

The benefits go even deeper though. There are reduced attacks on women, who no longer have to travel long distances to the communal well. Each woman saves almost six hours a week, which is now time she can spend working or studying. And there’s a direct financial benefit to the community, which sells the water to the water company and invests the money in starting new businesses. 

Scorecard Rwanda, directed by UK director Alistair Waterson, highlights the benefits of sport for Rwandan women whose families and communities were in desperate need of healing post-genocide. The women initially faced resistance from the men in their community when Felicite Rwemalika came to enlist them in a local football team, but there have been clear and long-lasting advantages from involving women in team sports. In addition to the health benefits, sport has given the women a space to meet and talk. For many, they’ve expanded their ideas into new businesses, resulting in farming cooperatives and community restaurants. The project has also helped girls stay in school and built confidence and aspirations. “You can be future leaders,” Grace Nyinawumuntu says. “Don’t just think of being a coach like me or Felicite. You can be Minister of Sport and help your country.”

Education is taken for granted by many, but having access to this basic right is still a challenge for many. Directed by South African Brian Tilley, Going Places focuses on Zainab Andan and Dolores Dickson, two women in Ghana who are working hard to make sure that girls, in particular, are given the opportunity to go to school. Andan benefited from a bursary awarded by an international charity, Camfed, and now she is part of an alumni group that works in communities to help girls in her former school. Her community work also takes her to neighbouring villages, where she can share her skills by holding financial literacy workshops. Dolores Dickson, director of the charity, oversees training workshops for local projects. One of those which started out small is a shea butter processing project that now supplies a range of outlets, including The Body Shop.  Watch the video of Femi Oke talking about women as a force for change. 

Rights, Camera, Action: Sunshine Cinema
Lloyd Maanyina is a charcoal burner from Livingston, Zambia - "home of the mighty Victoria Falls." The dirt from a hard day's work jammed beneath his fingernails, Maanyina counts his money as he tells a story of guilt and reconciliation.

Deforestation caused by charcoal production is a growing environmental problem in Zambia, where most of the population relies on charcoal for fuel. As Maanyina has become increasingly aware of his own impact on the environment, he is proud to have opened a micro nursery that sells trees to the community, giving back at least some of what he takes from the earth.

The award winning short documentary, Amazing Grace, has brought Maanyina's story to a global audience.

But how will his story have an impact in his community - the very community he hopes to enrich - when access to Internet is scarce and the country is facing an energy crisis?

This question led photographer Sydelle Willow Smith, filmmaker Rowan Pybus (whose company - Makhulu Productions - produced the film) and innovative design specialist Janine Johnston to create Sunshine Cinema.

Sunshine Cinema is a mobile, solar-powered cinema and platform with a mission to share knowledge and skills among African communities through film screenings, skill building workshops and discussions. With a steady supply of power regardless of the state of energy from the national power grid, Sunshine Cinema is able to screen content uninterrupted.

Producing and screening instructional videos on subjects ranging from how to make a solar cooker out of cardboard and empty chip packets, to how to build a chair out of tires, wire and rope, Sunshine Cinema deploys practical ideas and local knowledge to address social and environmental issues.

This is especially important in communities where there might not be access to research tools like Google. Sunshine Cinema also produces and screens films (its own, and those of other African filmmakers) telling the stories of innovators and change agents like Maanyina, and promoting sustainable innovations.

"There are so many incredible films that have been made by African filmmakers from all over the continent," Smith said. "But so much of that content never gets seen in local theaters, firstly because there might not be a cinema there and secondly because most of the media that's shown here tends to be reruns from American series or flashy Blockbuster films."

Sunshine Cinema's goal is simple: "We're not trying to be these Pan-African idealists," Smith said. "We really just want to showcase what is happening here and celebrate it."

Born and raised in South Africa, Smith was introduced to photography at a young age by her father, a darkroom technician. Her experience in a diverse schooling environment, sharing a classroom with young black photographers from diverse backgrounds at a time when South Africa was divided economically and racially, helped inform her artistic consciousness.

"I am South African in terms of my passport - my grandparents were born here - but I am also a settler," Smith said. "So as a white South African, I feel like I have a responsibility to do much more research before I tell any type of story, and to think deeply about what role I'm going to play. I think there is an entitled attitude perpetuated that needs to be addressed through more dialogue and listening on the part of those whose experiences are steeped in privilege."

Applying that same thoughtfulness to their work at Sunshine Cinema, the growing team of media makers and designers work with local partners to show films with appropriate subtitles (South Africa has 11 official languages), followed by community-facilitated discussions about the content they show.

"Instead of taking African stories from the continent and showing them to a Western audience, we wanted to create something that didn't just have a one-way flow of information,' Smith said. "We wanted to try to address problematic issues that we had encountered around distribution, and help democratize the flow of information by taking art outside of the gallery walls and into diverse communities."

But for Sydelle, making the film is only the first step. "It's all well and good to make a film that shows people in a difficult or inspiring situation," Smith said. "It gets out there on the Internet and across the digital divide, and the people who are able to watch it watch it, but the local social actors and stakeholders don't necessarily get to unless they have access. To me, that's not creating the intended dialogue that the film is supposed to."

In South Africa and elsewhere on the continent, mobile cinemas have had a dark history. Used as a tool to support colonial power, films shown via mobile cinemas were used to "civilize" African people, sometimes portraying them as the caricatures of Mr. Wise and Mr. Foolish - Mr. Wise, of course, adapts to colonial ways, while Mr. Foolish clings to his African traditions.

Smith, intent upon not "coming across as a bunch of saviors from the post-apartheid generation," hopes that the problematic historical use of mobile cinemas can still be one of the issues that Sunshine Cinema can address. But instead of the colonial-era Mr. Wise telling viewers what to do, community members and stakeholders are able to exchange information directly with one another, teaming up to find immediate solutions to problems.

While the idea of bringing media into local communities is nothing new, Smith explains that she and the team initially felt there wasn't a space for the exchange of information.

"It's something you really feel when you spend time in places where people don't have access to affordable Internet or computers," she said. "There is this dominant narrative of mobile phones being the cure to all of Africa's problems in terms of the so-called digital divide, but for people accessing online spaces through mobile phones, data costs still remain extremely high."
For Smith, Sunshine Cinema's potential to become a platform for broader interaction and engagement is what draws her to the work.

"At the end of the day, we are in love with cinema," she said of the Sunshine Cinema team. "We are media junkies; we watch thousands of films and have access to them. To be able to share them with people who might not have that same access is so important. We don't just want to show information-based content; we want to show content that provokes dialogue and discussion and see these stories used to create local networks." 

Africa in Motion celebrates ten years of African cinema
Africa in Motion is Scotland’s annual celebration of African cinema. The programme this year will be packed with an array of films, director Q&A sessions, masterclasses, music events, an African TV lounge and children’s workshops.

The theme of Africa in Motion 2015 is connections, exploring the interrelatedness of the myriad aspects of African experiences. The programme of films and events engages with the many diverse interpretations of connections - from political connections, artistic collaborations, generational ties, lost and restored cultural links, and pan-Africanism.

Highlights include the creatively curated documentary, The Dream of Shahrazad, that blends together multiple stories of art and activism. The rich traditions of African storytelling will be further discovered through a documentary about one of the most prominent female African writers in The Art of Ama Ata Aidoo. Family ties, kinship and lost relations are the focus of films such as Dis Ek, Anna (It’s Me, Anna) and Ayanda, both by South African female filmmaker Sara Blecher.

Audiences will venture down African streets to discover the continent’s cities in films such as the Egyptian classic Cairo Station and the UK premiere of the Ugandan feature film The Boda Boda Thieves.

Lost connections with the African continent will be uncovered in the powerful documentary Bound: African vs. African American. Fragments and disconnections within contemporary Africa are explored through a strand of experimental films, including the striking Rwandan feature Things of the Aimless Wanderer.

The festival will open in Edinburgh on Friday, 23 October, with Senegalese director Djibril Diop Mambety’s towering masterpiece Hyènes (Hyenas), an intimate story of love and revenge, and a critique of neo-colonialism and the effects of consumerism on African cultures. The screening will be followed by an opening party celebrating the 10th edition at Summerhall, an evening filled with African beats, circus acts, and African-style cocktails and snacks.

The tenth Africa in Motion Film Festival will be host to a number of UK premieres, and will be attended by a number of esteemed African filmmakers, including Philippe Lacôte (Run) Sara Blecher (Dis Ek, Anna and Ayanda), Samba Gadjigo (Sembène!), Kivu Ruhorahoza (Things of the Aimless Wanderer), and Yaba Badoe (The Art of Ama Ata Aidoo).

Other significant aspects of this year’s festival include the Nigerian-Scottish Film Odyssey, which explores the connections between the film industries in Nigeria and Scotland through red carpet Nollywood film screenings, director Q&A sessions and an industry day. The newly inaugurated AiM TV Lounge located in the Old Hairdressers, Glasgow, will present a daily selection of popular African television shows including soaps, sports shows, mockumentaries, and cooking programmes. In keeping with the festival theme, a strand entitled ’The Unrepaired Past’ will focus on connecting the histories of slavery and colonisation to the present. Once again, the festival will be presenting films outside of the traditional theatrical setting, through the Nomad Cinema series, which will see films being viewed in a great diversity of settings, including lecture theatres, community centres, cafes and more.

AiM will also present a special exhibition of photographs on the theme ‘Ways We Watch Films in Africa’, which captures the diverse and innovative film-viewing habits across the African continent. This exhibition is comprised of a selection of photographs that were submitted to AiM as part of a competition and will be displayed in Filmhouse, Edinburgh and The Old Hairdressers, Glasgow for the duration of the festival. Further competition strands include the annual Africa in Motion Short Film Competition, this year rebranded as the Aduna Award for Best Short Film, and a brand-new documentary competition strand.


Beyond Beyond
Artist: Kali van der Merwe
Curator: Jackie Ruth Murray
Thursday 8th October 18:00
Cameraland 68 Long St Cape Town
parking at Park on Long 55 Hout St
includes November First Thursdays (5th November)
Exhibition closing  – Saturday 7th November

Opening night includes:
a ‘couch conversation’ exploring plant intelligence and consciousness:
common and endangered fynbos flowers and insects.

Kali van der Merwe: Featured Exhibition Artist
George Davis: SANBI Fellow with the CareTakers Biodiversity Film Project
Virginia Mac Kenny: Michaelis School of Art Associate Professor in Painting, art critic, and writer with a special interest in environmental issues
Hanien Conradie: Fine Artist whose work searches for answers to questions around belonging and uniqueness.
Gerhard van Deventer: Environmentalist and educator, Sandberg Fynbos Reserve

A percentage of sales will be donated to Sandberg Fynbos Reserve  - educating youth to be environmentally responsible global citizens

TCFF2015 opens in Cape Town, October 2 – 10 
#TCFF2015 continues its travels around the country with a five-day run of social impact films in venues across Cape Town. Our excellent selection of films deal with a broad range of issues from corruption, social justice to state surveillance and open up spaces for discussion and debate. For more information on this year's selection please download the 2015 catalog below.


Thursday 08 October  
The Fugard Theatre – Corner Caledon & Lower Buitenkant Street
Book tickets here.

Friday 09 October  
8:30pm RED LINES
The Fugard Theatre – Corner Caledon & Lower Buitenkant Street
Book tickets here.

Saturday 10 October  
The Fugard Theatre – Corner Caledon & Lower Buitenkant Street
Book tickets here.

Saturday 10 October 
The Khayelitsha Green Point White Hall
Elements Film Lab
8 - 10 October 2015 | Cape Town Club
Elements Film Lab is an initiative of the shnit Expanded Talent Focus programme for Playground Cape Town in 2015. Over the festival weekend filmmakers will participate in a series of workshops, discussions, conversations and engagements that will further their paths in making world-class short films. This year Elements Film Lab will be hosted at the historical Cape Town Club on Queen Victoria Street, a short walk from the festival hub at the legendary Labia Theatre.
See more at

On Sunday 22nd of November 2015, between 10.00 am. and 1.00 pm., EDN organises the Annual General Assembly. The venue will be the Zuilenzaal in the Compagnietheater in Amsterdam, the same spot where the Forum activities take place. More information and the Executive Report on 2015 will be sent to you soon.

In order to allow us to organise the meeting in the most efficient way, we should be grateful if you could let us know whether you intend to be present. We would highly appreciate receiving a confirmation message from you on before November 10th, 2015.

CAPE TOWN WGSA presents: Writing is memory...

DATE:   17 OCTOBER 2015
TIME:    9h00 to 15h00
VENUE:  SAE Institute South Africa, UNIT A307, Woodstock Exchange, 66 Albert Road, Woodstock

When you face the flashing cursor and begin to write you can draw from two main sources, other movies and books OR your own life experiences. What you have done, seen and heard about in your own life. Often the first results in imitation, the second in fresh innovation. Learn how to incorporate your life experiences into all your work from drama to sci-fi, the stronger work is the one where you put a bit of yourself into it.

Matthew has an MA in Screenwriting from the Northern Film School, Leeds, UK and has been teaching and writing screenplays for the last 15 years. He has written on various TV shows including the international Emmy Award winning, SOS.

His scripts and plays have received various funding and awards from institutes such as Yorkshire and Humberside Arts, The National Arts Council, The South African Screenwriting Institute and The National Film and Video Foundation.

He has held lecturing positions, and given guest lectures, at various institutions including the University of Cape Town, City Varsity, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, AFDA Film School and TISH at NYU, to name a few.

Bookings essential: Bookings close on 15 October at 12h00

WGSA Student members - R50
Members / Students with valid student card / Affiliated organisation:  R200
Non-Members:  R300

To secure your booking:  Please pay the required cover charge to our bank: 
WGSA Current Account
Standard Bank, Melville
Branch No: 006105
Acc No: 300082444
Acc type:  Current

Please use your name and surname as reference / CT_17/10


Emerging Black Filmmakers Transformation Fund 
The National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) and the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) are inviting emerging black filmmakers to submit proposals for consideration under the Emerging Black Filmmakers Transformation Fund (EBFTF). Launched in 2014, the EBFTF provides financial, marketing and other related support to emerging black filmmakers. The fund has been designed to support black directors who have released fewer than five feature films.

Subsequent to the launch last year, a call was made to South African black filmmakers to apply for support from the fund. The call was aimed at identifying a pilot film project that would be used to refine the EBFTF process from selection through to contracting and releasing of the film.

The NFVF and the IDC have announced that after a vigorous selection and consultation process, Finders Keepers, a film directed by Maynard Kraak, was selected as the pilot project. The film is currently in post-production.

Call for 2015 proposals:
Black directors and producers are requested to submit proposals based on the following criteria:

  • Films directed by emerging black SA directors with a budget capped at R5.2 million (excluding marketing and company statutory costs);
  • Director and producer must be black South African citizens;
  • The films must be commercially viable;
  • The films must demonstrate economic and creative merit;
  • Films must be at the level of theatrical release;
  • Scripts must be at second draft;
  • Cast must be South African;
  • Compliance with the dti South African Emerging Black Filmmakers Incentive
  • Rights:
    • Both the emerging black producer and black director must collectively own at least 75% of the film rights.
    • Where the producer is black, but not emerging (>5 feature films), the black director must own at least 50% of the film rights;
    • Where the producer is not black, the black director must own at least 75% of the film rights; and a young black producer must be mentored.

 Information to be provided with the application must include:

  • Script ( second draft)
  • Two page concept document outlining:
    • Genre
    • Target market
    • Log line
    • Synopsis
    • Directors Treatment
  • CV (production team):
  • Producer
  • Director
  • Writer
  • DOP
  • Summary budget (Amounts to be spent at pre-production, production and post-production):
    • Declaration that the applicant owns the rights as per criteria above
    • Declaration that the application complies with the dti criteria for the Emerging Black Filmmakers’ Incentive.
  • Tax clearance certificate
  • Production schedule
  • Cashflow schedule
  • Project information:
    • Location of principal photography
    • Jobs created (In the same format/details provided for the dti application)
    • Skills development and skills transfer plan
  • Details of the post-production company and their experience
  • Chain of title documentation including script, music etc

Interested parties are invited to email their applications and queries to


  • Late entries will not be considered
  • Projects that do not meet the criteria will not be considered
  • Projects that do not have developed scripts will not be considered
  • Budgets that are above the fund amount of R5.2 million will not be considered

Applications will close at 00h00 on Wednesday, 14 October 2015.

NFVF Cycle 3 Funding Call for Applications
The NFVF calls for applicants for the following areas of funding: Development Funding, TV Formats Funding, Production Funding, Documentary Archive, Markets and Festivals Attendance Funding. 

Closing date is 17 October 2015.

As the target for the year has been met and exceeded, the NFVF can only consider filmmakers attending the following festivals, for funding:

  • International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam
  • Rotterdam International Film Festival
  • Pan African Film Festival
  • RIO Content Market
  • Berlin International Film Festival
  • Festivals, Marketing and Distribution Funding

For these funding categories, the NFVF will still accept applications for Cycle 3.

All applications and supporting motivation must be hand delivered or posted to the NFVF at 87 Central Street, Houghton, Johannesburg, 2198. No e-mail submissions will be accepted. Closing date for applications is 17th of October 2015. Please note that all applicants should provide a copy of tax clearance certificate.

See details at

The NFVF will inform applicants of the outcome of the applications at the end of January 2016. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Applications received after the deadline will only be considered for the following quarterly meeting of council.

Application forms can be accessed from the NFVF website or on the following link:
DISCOP 50% discount on Registration
DFA has negotiated a 50% discount on DISCOP Johannesburg tickets for our PAID UP DFA members! Should you be interested in attending DISCOP in Johannesburg 4-6 November 2015 please reply to this address  with your name, company name, projects you want to take to DISCOP and motivation of WHY YOU would like to attend.

Please note that this discount is for your DISCOP ticket and does NOT include accommodation or travel expenses to the event. Should you be based outside of JHB this is for your own account. This is also ONLY VALID if you are paid up for 2015. DFA will confirm your membership status and send your details on to DISCOP AFRICA for further communication.

Apply to EuroDoc 2016

  • If you are looking for an in-depth analysis of your documentary  or cross-media project in development,
  • if you want to test its appeal and potential abroad, to get advice and follow-up on complex budgeting and financing, legal and technical aspects of co-production,
  • if you are seeking to present your project to the main commissioning editors from Europe & beyond, in one-to-one meetings, in a friendly and privileged setting,

Submit your application and join the EURODOC network

The programme
EURODOC is a training programme specifically designed for co-producing creative documentaries at the international level, a documentary think-tank covering a wide variety of narrative styles and production modes with the aim of defending the documentary genre.
Programme fundamentals include widening your horizons to discover new territories of cooperation and experiencing new outlooks together with around 30 professionals from Europe and beyond.

To tackle every aspect of the development process of a film project, more than 50 experts, currently active in the field of documentary production and financing take part into the training programme:
producers, lawyers, co-production consultants, commissioning editors, distributors and financiers.

A new outlook
For two years now, we have been organizing short Master Classes with major players in the audiovisual world and new media.

Considering the significant changes occurring in the fields of production, distribution and broadcasting, the objective is to gain in-depth understanding of how the main protagonists tackle them today.

Although the training programme is mainly focused on the development of the projects presented by each producer, the idea here is to provide a personal approach to understanding the future direction television channels are planning to take and how they make their decisions.

The network
Today, EURODOC is a strong and influential network of nearly 900 professionals from 57 countries.

See the list of produced films

Who can apply?
Independent producers of documentary projects with international potential,
Commissioning executives from the documentary departments of broadcasters or from partners in the sector, financiers, distributors.

30 participants are selected to take part to the programme, 5 of them coming from non-European countries.

Under the responsibility of the Head of Studies, Serge LALOU (producer, LES FILMS D'ICI - France), two language–based working groups (French and English) are established.
They are led by two talented tutors: Matthieu BELGHITI, producer (WHAT'S UP Films - France) and Heino DECKERT, producer & distributor (MA.JA.DE. Filmproduktion - Germany).

2016 Calendar
The programme is composed of 3 one-week sessions spread out over 8 months.
SESSION 1 – Development / March 2016
SESSION 2 – Budgeting, Financing, & Packaging / June 2016
SESSION 3 – Meeting the Commissioning Editors / October 2016

APPLICATION DEADLINE IS OCTOBER 16, 2015  For more information:

Good Pitch Kenya
At Durban Filmmart, part of the Durban International Film Festival, a new joint initiative has been announced between UK-­based documentary organisation, BRITDOC and the East African documentary film funder, Docubox. The two organisations are collaborating to produce the pitching forum Good Pitch² Kenya, which will connect Africa’s best social justice documentaries with new partners and founders.

Good Pitch is a project of BRITDOC in partnership with the Ford Foundation and Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program. Since 2009, Good Pitch has been bringing together documentary filmmakers with foundations, NGOs, campaigners, philanthropists, policymakers, brands and media around leading social and environmental issues – to forge coalitions and campaigns that are good for all these partners, good for the films and good for society.

The Good Pitch 2 programme was developed in 2011 to enable regional organisations to host their own Good Pitch 2 events. In 2015 there are Good Pitch programmes operating in the US, Europe, Australia, South East Asia, Argentina and now Kenya. Good Pitch 2 Kenya will be taking place in Nairobi in October 2016. It will present up to seven film-making teams to pitch their feature documentary and its associated audience engagement campaign in front of a live audience of funders and changemakers.

Once selected, these teams will receive sustained mentorship and professional development over the course of a year. This will include two campaign development workshops, taking place right after project selection and again on the eve of the live event.

The organisers are looking for six independent film teams from across the African continent ready to join the 2015/16 programme:

  • Films that tackle a significant national or global issue or have something important to show us about the world and ourselves
  • Film teams who are looking for partnerships and funding to help their film create change around leading social and environmental issues
  • Films that are currently in production and will be 60+ minutes in length when finished
  • English-­speaking filmmakers who are citizens of an African country

The call for entries is now open and will close on November 2nd , 2015.

To find out more information and apply, click here or contact Judy Kibinge, Docubox: or Elise McCave, Britdoc:


SA Writers' Guild: Muse Awards 2015
Following the second very successful WGSA Muse Awards, which culminated in a highly acclaimed awards ceremony in April this year, the 2015 WGSA Muse Awards are about to launch with a bigger, better list of categories and a televised awards ceremony on Saturday, 2 April 2016. 

The WGSA Muse Awards, launched by the Writers’ Guild of South Africa (WGSA), is the only award in the country that honours the South African Performance Writer exclusively and allows the local content production industry to celebrate and promote the creativity, quality and writing excellence of local writers.

Entries will be accepted for the 2015 WGSA Muse Awards in eight different script categories:

  1. Screen (Feature Film, Short Film)
  2. Telefision (Drama, Soap, Sitcom/Comedy)
  3. Documentary (Feature, Series, Short)
  4. Stage Play
  5. Radio Drama
  6. Animation (Feature, Series, Short)
  7. Games
  8. Web Series
  9. Unproduced Scripts may be entered in any genre.

A panel of independent judges will be looking for excellence in concept and theme, characterisation, genre, language and style, story and structure, pace, dialogue, and professional format and presentation. Every nominee will receive a personalised Nomination Certificate, and each winner will receive a personalised Winner’s Certificate and a beautiful specially designed WGSA Muse Trophy.

The WGSA is a registered Non-Profit Organisation (NPO) and a Public Benefit Organisation (PBO and is the only organised  industry association in South Africa with the sole purpose of protecting, developing and empowering performance writers in the local film, television, radio, stage, animation and new media (internet – mobile and digital distribution, and gaming) industries. The WGSA is a key member of SASFED (The South African Screen Federation).

The judging process will take place during November 2015 to middle February 2016, with the nominees announced at the end of February 2016. This will be followed by the award ceremony, which will take place on Saturday, 2 April 2016 at the Soweto Theatre.

Entries for the 2015 WGSA Muse Awards open on Tuesday, 1 September 2015 and the deadline has been extended to midnight on Sunday, 25 October 2015. All entries have to be submitted online. The online entry system, competition rules and regulations, FAQ and entry details can be found on the WGSA website at
Screendance Africa calls for dance films from Africa
Screendance Africa will be curating a selection of African dance films for the Tanzrauschen Festival in Germany, to be screened at a ‘Looping Cinema’ at the festival, taking place from 28 to 31 January 2016. Screendance Africa welcomes any genre of dance on screen: dance video, narrative or non-narrative, experimental, student and/or professional. Screendance Africa is looking for dance videos that activate the crossover of dance, choreography and the cinematic medium. The festival curators will select dance videos that demonstrate a clear intention, that use the dance, location(s), choreography, camera movement and the edit to activate this.

Requirements for submissions:

  • Films should be of good quality, produced and completed during or after 2014.
  • All films must be produced in Africa, preferably made by Africans.
  • Not shorter than two minutes and not longer than ten minutes.
  • Recordings of live stage performances will not be considered.

Selected applicants will be requested to send their films in an mp4 file via WeTransfer. Entrants are required to submit a private online YouTube link with the following details before 1 November 2015:

  • Title
  • Director's name
  • Nationality
  • Producer
  • Choreographer
  • Dancers/Company
  • Length
  • Date of production
  • First premiere
  • Screenings

All links and information can be emailed to

Thessaloniki Documentary Festival, Greece
The TDF is carried out every March in Thessaloniki since its inception in 1999. Through tributes and retrospectives, the TDF focuses on filmmakers internationally renowned for their contribution to the documentary genre. 
Early deadline: 04 September 2015
Festival deadline:  27 November 2015

IFEMA, Sweden
IFEMA 2016 offers one week of films – documentaries, features and shorts. We will screen films all over Skåne and present a programme with films, seminars and guests in Malmö. IFEMA gives the possibility to see films not presented in Swedish distribution, to experience stories we do not know, to get a perspective on reality we might not even think existed. All films are of course directed by women.

Interested in screening your film at the coming festival?
Send an E-mail to, or send us a DVD to:

Imagenes del Sur
c/o Filmcentrum Syd,
Monbijougatran 17 E
211 53 Malmö

Submission open until the 20th of December 2015

To subscribe to the DFA newsletter contact them on their website: