Friday, January 29, 2016

DFA first newsletter for 2016

Hot Docs names Iikka Vehkalahti as 2016 Doc Mogul 
Attend IDFAcademy Summer School
Call for Nominations: 10th SAFTA lifetime achievers


Sony FS7 for sale

DAFilms Online Documentary Cinema Celebrates 10 Year Anniversary
WGSA: Peter Russell: Secret Patterns of Writing for Different Genres
Business Model Canvas at Durban Filmmart

Medical Research Council need Doc Filmmaking Advisors
IDFA Bertha Fund Classic & IDFA Bertha Fund Europe Calling All Filmmakers
IDFA Bertha Fund - Production & Post-production
ESoDoc - European Social Documentary 2016 ** deadline exteneded**
UnionDocs Documentary Programs: Call for Applications

Call for Films: Urban Films Festival 2016
ZIFF 2016 call for entries
DIFF 2016: Call for Submissions
FIDMarseille, France
Encounters South African International Documentary Festival


ANN7: Camera operator (JHB)
Rabbit: Studio co-ordinator (CPT)
Researcher (CPT)


Sundance rundown: This year’s standout documentaries
Adding Diversity to Cinematography's Palette
Why the BBC is screening mini-documentaries in its news bulletins
Generating a Buzz without Getting Stung: What a Successful PR Strategy Can Do for Your Film


Hot Docs names likka Vehkalahti as 2016 Doc Mogul
Former YLE commissioner Iikka Vehkalahti will receive this year’s Doc Mogul Award during the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Film Festival. The award recognizes individuals who have “made an essential contribution to the creative vitality of the documentary industry, both at home and abroad.” Past recipients include NHK’s Takahiro Hamano, DR TV’s Mette Hoffmann Meyer, Women Make Movies’ Debra Zimmerman and Participant Media’s Diane Weyermann.

Vehkalahti was the commissioning editor for Finnish pubcaster YLE from 1998 to 2015 and is now the executive producer of IV Films Ltd, Rough Cut Service and Dare To Dream Asia. He started his career as a director in 1987 with Finnish prodco Epidem and later launched his own shop, Musafilm. While at YLE, he commissioned The 3 Rooms of Melancholia, Recipes for Disaster, The Steam of Life and The Punk Syndrome.

He is also a co-founder and board member of non-profit organization STEPS, which works with AfriDocs and co-produced the series Why Democracy? He co-authored the documentary filmmaking book Steps By Steps and exec produces for Rough Cut Service, a collective of global documentary editors, as well as the Dare To Dream Asia documentary series, a group of 17 projects in development from Asian filmmakers and aimed at an Asian and global audience. As an executive producer, his credits include several docs produced in Asia, the Middle East and Africa, including all 34 films in the Steps for the Future series. He has also supported The Act of Killing, The Look of Silence and Armadillo.

“It has been a pleasure to witness documentaries emerge as a celebrated global art form throughout my career,” he said in a statement. “Working with filmmakers from Asia, Africa, Latin America, the Middle East and beyond, and seeing these incredible stories get made, often with limited resources, has been very rewarding and fun." 

Vehkalahti will receive the honor during a luncheon on May 2. 

Before he retired from YLE, IDFA Forum organizer Adriek van Nieuwenhuyzen presented Vehkalahti with a parting gift during last year’s Forum in Amsterdam and commended him for his contributions to the event over the years. This year’s Hot Docs will also celebrate American filmmaker Steve James with its 2016 Outstanding Achievement Award, and filmmaker Rosie Dransfeld will be honored with this year’s Focus On retrospective. 

The 2016 Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival takes place from April 28 to May 8 in Toronto.

Attend IDFAcademy Summer School

The 9th edition of the IDFAcademy Summer School will take place July 4-9, 2016 in the heart of Amsterdam. The application deadline is March 1.

The IDFAcademy Summer School is open to: 

  • Directors making their first or second feature documentary (no filmschool students).
  • Ten projects in the script development phase and six projects in the rough-cut phase.
  • Creative documentary projects.

Script Development
Script Development is intended to strengthen film projects by working intensively on a strong narrative in the early stages. Participants are encouraged to focus on both their own film projects as well as each other's work.

Script Development focuses on:

  • Structuring the initial film idea or concept into a film project with a strong narrative.
  • Interweaving different storylines into a solid narrative structure.
  • Choosing the main characters – how do they add to your storyline?
  • Visualizing the story – how should the camera, sound and editing be used to strengthen the narrative?

Editing Consultancy
Editing Consultancy requires shooting to be near completion and a rough cut ready for the start of the IDFAcademy Summer School. The participants will work intensively with an experienced editor for three to four days, during which time they refine the rough cut, depending on the editing stage at the time of the workshop.

Editing Consultancy focuses on:

  • Defining the structure of the film.
  • Identifying characters and building the storyline.
  • Fine-tuning the film’s rhythm and dramatic structure.

A total of 16 projects will be selected for participation. Filmmakers who are selected have the opportunity to bring a sparring partner: a creative producer or a co-scriptwriter. In the case of participation in Editing Consultancy the filmmaker must bring an editor.

The application deadline is March 1.

Participants are expected to have a good knowledge of English and to be available for the full duration of the IDFAcademy Summer School. IDFAcademy aims at a broad division of creative projects. Six of the projects, either for Script Development or Editing Consultancy, will be chosen from projects that have already received a grant from the IDFA Bertha Fund, which supports filmmakers from developing countries.

Projects submitted to the IDFAcademy Summer School 2016 can not be withdrawn after selection. After selection of the project, a participation fee for two persons of a total of €1.000,- (excluding VAT) or in case of one person for a total of €750,- (excluding VAT) must be wired to the indicated IDFA account before May 27, 2016.  This fee does not cover travel and food expenses. For international participants accommodation is included. For projects supported by the IDFA Bertha Fund, the Fund will pay the fee, hotel costs and part of the travel costs. 

The following information must be included in the entry form:

  • A synopsis (500 words max.) and a logline (30 words max);
  • A project description, including visual style, description of characters, storyline, background information, etc. (1.500 words max.);
  • A clear indication of the stage of development/production, and a tentative production schedule;
  • A detailed biography and filmography for the Summer School participant(s) (500 words max.);
  • Optional: recommendations from experienced film professionals (film directors, producers, official funding bodies, film schools).
  • A personal motivation for attendance that details the (research/production) stage of the project and the goal(s) to be achieved during the Summer School (750 words max).
  • Still(s) of your project (if available).

If you are submitting a project for Script Development:

  • Previous work (visual material).
  • Visual material of the project (if available).
  • Please note that if you are selected we will ask you to send us a written update on your progress in the time between submission and selection.

If you are submitting a project for Editing Consultancy:

  • Previous work (visual material).
  • An edited sequence of the project (20 minutes).
  • Please note that the Rough Cut should be ready no later than May 23. If not, we cannot let you enter the program.

- See more at:

Call for Nominations: 10th SAFTA lifetime achievers

The National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF), an agency of the Department of Arts and Culture (DAC), extends a call to the industry to send in their nominations for the Lifetime Achievement Award for the 10th South African Film and Television Awards (SAFTAs).

By awarding and recognising the best in the film and television industry, the SAFTAs seek to enhance the talent that exists, celebrate creativity and honour excellence.

The SAFTAs committee presents the Lifetime Achievement Award to individuals who have been instrumental in giving insight into different areas of the South African film and television sectors. These are people whose life experiences have in various ways shaped what ordinary South Africans have come to know as excellent acting, filmmaking, producing, directing and entrepreneurship.

Submissions should include a profile of the person being nominated as well as their CV. All submissions are to be sent to the NFVF by Wednesday, 17 February 2016, at 16h00. All information should be forwarded to


Sony FS7 for sale
R115 000 body only
Metabones and Canon 24-105, 70-200 avail.
4 months old, 100hrs operating time - selling as too large to travel with easily


DAFilms Online Documentary Cinema Celebrates 10 Year Anniversary
Now in its tenth year, the online documentary platform DAFilms celebrates a decade of providing streaming services for online documentaries. The platform is one of the earliest VOD providers in the world and offered online films long before Netflix entered the scene and emerged only months after the launch of YouTube.

The DAFilms portal currently offers over 1300 quality documentary films from 74 countries. They are accessible across the world for online viewing or legal download – for a small fee or even for free. Besides a permanent film catalogue, the portal also offers special weekly events with films for free streaming.

The online documentary cinema DAFilms, originally Doc-Air, was founded already in early 2006. “The beginnings were hard, as none of the producers was inclined towards online film distribution. They all claimed that they only wanted to present films on the big screen. That’s why we started out with twelve films by kindred directors and friends, such as Miroslav Janek, Jan Šikl and Peter Kerekes,” says managing director of DAFilms Nina Numankadić. However, in 2015, the films on the portal focusing on creative documentaries were watched by 130.000 viewers from 81 countries.

DAFilms is currently the main project of the Doc Alliance festival network formed by seven key European documentary film festivals. The portal presents regular world retrospectives of leading filmmakers such as provocative Austrian director Ulrich Seidl, French legend Agnès Varda, director of poetic films with daring concepts Victor Kossakovski, experimental film icon Peter Tscherkassky, maker of Maidan as well as feature films Sergei Loznitsa and Czech documentarist renowned for her long-term observation method Helena Třeštíková. DAFilms further presents archive films and new premiere formats such as the day-and-date release. The portal also offers a subscription; for 3,99 euro a month, viewers can access all the films in the catalogue.

Films for Free
DAFilms will celebrate its 10th anniversary throughout 2016. In January, the portal has prepared an anniversary selection of 5 films. Viewers can watch it until January 31 completely for free. Moreover, those who answer the quiz questions concerning the films correctly can win 1 of 10 subscriptions and watch all the films on the portal (there are over 1300).

10 years of DAFilms. 5 films for free and a prize-winning quiz:

WGSA: Peter Russell: Secret Patterns of Writing for Different Genres

This workshop is indeed a once in a lifetime opportunity for all South African performance writers!

DAY 1:
Introduction - the 9 elements of all great movie stories, following by the beats of story (20 essential moments your script should have) following by the Secrets of Writing for Television Drama, with an additional module on character-driven shows like  “True Detective”, season 1.

DAY 2: 
Covering the secret patterns of multiple genres to clarify the functional differences in story structure between genres, as well as for the sake of comparison:
Thrillers (including Mystery Thrillers)
Sci-fi / Fantasy

Why certain genres seem to be more popular than others from a sales perspective. Peter Russell is a long-time story doctor in Hollywood whose clients include Imagine Films, HBO, Participant, Viacom, CBS Television and many more. (His latest project is for Brian Grazer (Imagine Films), consulting on the feature release of PELE (spring 2016 release date.) He lives in Malibu, California.

He teaches film and television pilot creation at the MFA Screenwriting Program at Pepperdine University. He also teaches at UCLA's Entertainment Division of the Extension School (Teacher of the Year 2009).

To watch some video's - click on the links below:

Dates and times:
JOHANNESBURG:  14 to 15 May 2016 from 8:30 to 16:30 on both days
CAPE TOWN:  21 to 22 May 2016 from 8:30 to 16:30 on both days
DURBAN:  12 May 2016 from 9:00 to 15:00

VENUES to be announced.


Two day workshops in Johannesburg and Cape Town:

WGSA members:                                               R4,000 per person
WGSA student members:                                  R3,800 per person
Non-members:                                                   R4,600 per person

Early Bird specials (Buy your ticket before 15 February 2016) and Bulk Sales (minimum of 5 tickets):
WGSA members:                                               R3,500 per person
WGSA student members:                                  R3,200 per person
Non-members:                                                   R4,100 per person

One day workshop in Durban:

WGSA members:                                               R2,000 per person
WGSA student members:                                  R1,900 per person
Non-members:                                                   R2,300 per person

Early Bird specials (Buy your ticket before 15 February 2016) and Bulk Sales (minimum of 5 tickets):
WGSA members:                                               R1,750 per person
WGSA student members:                                  R1,600 per person
Non-members:                                                   R2,050 per person

To secure your booking:  
Contact to request an invoice.   
Please indicate where you are attending: CT, JHB or DBN.

Business Model Canvas at DIFF
After the swift uptake of the Business Model Canvas in 2015, the DFA continues on its mission to bring this empowering tool to more South African producers. The easy-to-use visual tool helps you map your project or your company in a language that makes sense to people who can give you the financing you need.

The Documentary Filmmakers' Association in partnership with the Canadian Film Centre (CFC) Media Lab, and the Durban FilmMart are hosting two full day workshops on the powerful Business Model Canvas Tool for South African filmmakers.

The one day intensive workshops take place over 17 – 20 June at the 2016 Durban FilmMart and tie into industry events at the FilmMart.

The Business Model Canvas is a powerful visual tool that helps filmmakers plan projects. The workshop team will lead you through a series of exercises to help you identify your specific business models and provide a blueprint for current and future projects.


  • It simplified the business of filmmaking.
  • The tool was very easy to adapt and very focused.
  • It has made me think out of the box regarding my project.
  • Mind expanding.
  • The exercises allow you to realise alternative opportunities in your business model.
  • Great perspective into my project by other “attendancers” and a good understanding afterwards of the BMC tool.

At the end of the workshop you will be able to identify the different elements of your business model and integrate them to enhance your work, your company, and the products you deliver. You will also be able to extract key points to be able to deliver a 30 second pitch to investors.

We are looking for 16 filmmakers with projects in development or production to attend the Business Model Canvas workshops.



  1. You are a South African citizen, have permanent residency status, or refugee status in South Africa.
  2. You have at least one credit as either Producer, Director, or Writer (doc, short, fiction).
  3. Describe the project for which you are currently trying to work out the business model.
  4. Briefly describe your business approach for your proposed project: finance plan, resources, customers, distribution channels and potential revenue. 
  5. Provide your filmography, headshot and contact details. 
  6. You are able to cover your costs to attend the workshops at the Durban FilmMart.

NB! Only one member per organisation will be considered.

Please complete the online application form if you would like to participate:     

Email queries to:

Read more on the BMC:  




Medical Research Council need Doc Filmmaking Advisors
My name is Nick Malherbe, I am a researcher at the South African Medical Research Council. Later this year, myself as well as a number of other researchers at the SAMRC, are facilitating a participant-led documentary. The documentary itself will be produced by community members living in a township in northern Johannesburg known as Thembelihle, and will chronicle their lives and stories that they have to tell.

As we are all very new to the method, I was wondering if you had any advice to give us in this regard, if you would perhaps be willing to speak with us in this regard, or if you could perhaps put me in touch with any South African film or documentary makers that would be able to come and speak with us.

Nicholas Malherbe -
Violence Injury and Peace Research Unit
South African Medical Research Council
Francie van Zijl Drive, Parow Valley | Cape Town | Western Cape

IDFA Bertha Fund Classic & IDFA Bertha Fund Europe Calling All Filmmakers
Submissions are now open for the next selection round of the IDFA Bertha Fund with calls for the IDFA Bertha Fund Classic and IDFA Bertha Fund Europe. The submission deadline for the first selection round is 1st of February 2016. The IDFA Bertha Fund supports documentary filmmakers in and from Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and parts of Eastern Europe (eligible countries) by offering them financial contributions to develop and realize their projects.

The fund is looking for new creative documentary projects from these countries, that use strong visual treatments to tell compelling stories and have the potential to reach a global audience. Projects can be submitted within the following funding schemes:

IBF Classic: Directors or producers from a country on the DAC-list can apply with a documentary project for the following categories:

  1. Project Development (max. contribution € 5.000) 
  2. Production and post-production (max. contribution € 17.500). 

IBF Europe: Projects can be submitted for the following categories:

  1. International Co-Production (contribution € 40.000): European co-producers based in a MEDIA sub-program country can apply with a documentary project that has a director from a country on the DAC-list and is realized through international co-productions, in which at least one European and one non-European producer is involved. 
  2. NEW: Distribution for International Co-Production (contribution € 30.000): This category is designed to support innovative distribution plans for documentaries realized through international co-productions in which at least one European and one non-European producer (DAC-list)  is involved. Distribution plans should seek to reach a broad global audience. Applicant should be based in a MEDIA sub-program country and be a rights holder (producer, sales agent, distributor, o.a.) of the film.


The deadline to submit a project for the first selection round of 2016 is February 1. There are different regulations for every category. For the regulations, the online entry form and submission FAQ please go to our website.

Submit through MyIDFA
In order to submit a project to the IDFA Bertha Fund, you need a MyIDFA user account. On the IDFA website you can register for a MyIDFA account. With this account you can then submit entry forms to the IDFA Bertha Fund, as well as to IDFA, Docs for Sale and IDFA Forum. For more information feel free to contact us at

IDFA Bertha Fund - Prod- & Post
The IDFA Bertha Fund (formerly known as the Jan Vrijman 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 from these countries, which can be submitted in the following categories: (1) IBF Classic: Project Development (max. contribution €5,000), and (2) IBF Classic: Production and post-production (max. contribution €17,500).

Event deadline: 01 February 2016

ESoDoc - European Social Documentary 2016

Submit your application on

There’s still time to apply for ESoDoc 2016!

ESoDoc is the training initiative for cross-thinkers and media professionals, who want to use the power of media to encourage social change.

ESoDoc offers you three intense one-week residential sessions held over a period of six months, combined with extended online sessions for project tutoring, international coproduction and networking with festivals and other market events.


We welcome professionals from different areas: documentarians, journalists, web-designers and programmers, game designers, NGO-communication representatives. ESoDoc participants are committed to social issues and eager to explore new creative forms and communication strategies.

The workshop is open for professional with or without an own project.
We accept up to four participants from non-EU countries.


Sabine Bubeck-Paaz - ESoDoc Head of Studies (Germany)
Mark Atkin - Crossover Labs (UK)
Sebastian Baurmann - Miiqo Studios (Germany)
Katerina Cizek - NFB (Canada)
Sarah Mosses - Together Films (UK)
Sibylle Kurz - (Germany)
Stefano Tealdi - Stefilm (Italy)


  • Session 1: May 3-9, 2016 - Tromsø, Norway
  • Session 2: June 20-26, 2016 - Goldrain, Italy
  • Session 3: Palermo, Italy (September 2016, dates t.b.c.)


Thomas Righetti – ESoDoc project coordinator

UnionDocs Documentary Programs: Call for Applications
UnionDocs is currently looking for documentarians to join their five-week Summer Documentary Intensive, a program taking place in July and August this Summer. 

An additional opportunity for documentary filmmakers to develop their professional skills is the 10-month Collaborative Studio program, also offered by UnionDocs. The deadline for early applications is 4 March 2016.

The UnionDocs Summer Documentary Intensive is a 5-week program for a select group of emerging filmmakers from the US and abroad. Based in one of NYC’s most exciting neighborhoods, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, the program explores contemporary approaches to documentary film, offers a stronger understanding of the best practices and business of production, and helps to develop the foundation of your independent project.

The UnionDocs Collaborative Studio (CoLAB) is a 10 month program for a select group of media artists from the US and abroad. Based in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, CoLAB offers a platform for exploring contemporary approaches to the documentary arts and a process for developing an innovative collaborative project. The program consists of weekly production meetings, seminars, screenings and other public programs, along with regular masterclasses and critiques with visiting artists.

For more information about the two programs and how to apply, please visit the following link:

About Uniondocs
UnionDocs (UnDo) is a Center for Documentary Art that generates and shares big ideas. UnDo aims to bring together a diverse community of experimental media-makers, dedicated journalists, critical thinkers, and local partners on a search for urgent expressions of the human experience, practical perspectives on the world today, and compelling visions for the future.


Call for Films: Urban Films Festival 2016
Created by RStyle and supported by the CNC (French National Cinematographic Center), the Urban Films Festival is, in France, the main international films festival dedicated to the city and to all practices and lifestyles that come from it. Over 10 years, this festival created a reference by discovering films related to the city: Stories, dance, movement, communities, street culture, sports, all of the aspects of the city and urban cultures are represented.

This Urban Films Festival proposes also: screenings of historical or unreleased films about Hip Hop Movement, parties, professional meetings, and a short-movie competition animated by a famous jury - professionals from the cinematographic industry, urban culture activists or journalists -. For this occasion, talented film-makers of all ages and from all over the world – from Seoul to Rio passing by Seattle, Paris or Ouagadougou – are invited to submit their films by a web channel (YouTube or Vimeo) by February 28, 2016.

4 categories of films will be awarded:

  • Fictions: 15 min max.
  • Animations: 15 min max.
  • Performances: 7 min max.
  • Documentaries: 17 min max.

Best directors from each category will be rewarded by a grant, purchase and distribution of their films or by materials.  Submit your movies before February 28, 2016

ZIFF 2016 call for entries
The Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF) recently announced that submissions for the 2016 edition are now open. Festival director Martin Mhando has confirmed that despite the fears that Zanzibar's two major festivals will be cancelled next year, ZIFF 2016 will be holding its 19th edition from 9 to 17 July 2016 in Stone Town, Zanzibar.

Following the announcement of the cancellation of the Sauti ya Busara music festival for 2016, many had feared ZIFF would follow suit in an attempt to encourage more government support for the two festivals.

Each year ZIFF exhibits more than 60 films made in Africa, Middle East, Europe, Latin America, USA and Asia. The theme of the 2016 Festival is This Journey of Ours: Ndiyo hii Safari Yetu. The main competition for the Golden Dhow and Silver Dhow awards is open exclusively to filmmakers from the Dhow countries. These include countries of the Indian Ocean Rim and Indian Ocean Islands, including Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan; and all African countries. The Sembene Ousmane Award Competition is only for African and Diaspora filmmakers and partner producers.

ZIFF is accepting feature, short, fiction, documentary and animation film submissions, with a particular focus on films produced by African and Dhow country directors. Online submissions from Tanzania are free, as well as music video entries from East Africa.

Films can be entered in a range of categories such as:

  • Documentaries: Open to all countries in all formats
  • Feature Films: Open to all countries in all formats
  • Films in Development: Open to films by Africans, African Diaspora and partner producers.
  • Music Video: This new category is dedicated to outstanding and creative production of music videos from East Africa.
  • Short Films: Open to all countries in all formats
  • Animation: Open to all countries in all formats

All films are judged by an independent jury panel. Submissions for ZIFF 2016 should be done via the online platform where all rules and submission details can be found. Participants can also visit the ZIFF website for more information, or the festival's Facebook page. The deadline for submissions is 29 February 2016.

DIFF 2016: Call for Submissions
The Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) invites filmmakers from across the world to submit their Short-, Documentary- or Feature Fiction films to screen in the festival from the 16 to 26 June 2016

The 37th edition of the festival is organized with key partnerships with the Durban Film Office, eThekwini Municipality, KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission, National Film and Video Foundation and other valued funders and partners.

With screenings of cutting-edge cinema from around the world, containing as always a special focus on both South African and African films, the festival exhibits films in a range of diverse venues in and around the city of Durban. DIFF is the premiere platform for the launch of African films and a key gateway to the African film industry. The festival also includes an annual local and international awards component.

Only films completed in 2014, 2015 and 2016 will be considered, and there is no charge for entry. Submissions will be accepted via an ONLINE SCREENER. All submissions must be entered via the DIFF Visitor Page online at . In order to submit a film, an account needs to be created if this has not already been done in previous years. The deadline for all entries (short films, documentaries and feature fiction films), including delivery of screeners, is 29 February 2016.

This year’s festival will feature a focus on the important issue of HIV and Aids within film; DIFF invites filmmakers with films on this subject to submit for consideration in this category.

Each edition of the festival features an extensive Industry Programme with seminars and workshops comprised of both local and international filmmakers and industry professionals. The programme is made up of the 9th Talents Durban (17 to 21 June 2016), presented in co-operation with Berlinale Talents, and the 7th Durban FilmMart (17 to 20 June 2016), presented in partnership with the Durban Film Office, as well as various other streams of programming.

For more information check out the festival Submission FAQs or visit: or email Enquiries can be directed to Mitchell Harper on Tel: (+27) 0312601650 or email:

FIDMarseille, France
FIDMarseille is a film festival with a program made up of the official selection (international competition, national competition, competition of first films), parallel screens, round tables, etc. FIDlab is part of the FIDMarseille. FIDlab offers a meeting place for discussing film projects selected from all over the world, in order to offer film-makers an opportunity to make useful contacts and network with producers, distributors, international sales agents, sponsors, and broadcasters.

Each year 10 international projects are selected, chosen with no specific format requirements regarding format, length, or subject matter, and including both fiction and documentary films whether they are at the writing stage, in production, or post-production. Festival deadline: 25 March 2016

Encounters South African International Documentary Festival
South African International Documentary Festival. "Encounters" will present both South African and International films. Other events include Q&As with filmmakers, Master Classes, Workshops and Industry events. "Encounters" is a South African distributor dedicated to distributing documentaries to the South African public. Encounters makes sales of films to television, theatrically and on DVD. 

Festival deadline: 27 March 2016

Contact Person: Nazeer Ahmed
Telephone + 27 21 465 4686


ANN7: Camera operator (JHB)
Camera operating for television news channel
Driver’s licence and own transport 
Hardworking, passionate and enthusiastic.

If you meet the above requirements and you are interested in pursuing this opportunity, kindly email your detailed CV to This position is based in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Rabbit: Studio co-ordinator (CPT)
One to two years' experience in admin/secretarial/project management
Proficiency in Word and Excel
CRM experience
Familiarity with Google apps

Interest in rapid manufacturing
Knowledge of 3D printing
CAD skills
Design skills
Social media

Personal skills:
People skills are a must
Organisational skills
Able to use your initiative
Have a likeable personality
Eager to learn

Interested candidates can send their CVs to

Researcher (CPT)
A Cape Town based film production company is seeking a researcher for an Islamic magazine style show.

At least 2 years research experience
Proven track record with references
Journalism qualification
Thorough knowledge of Islam
Contacts within the Muslim community
Good writing skills
Ability to conceptualize ideas for television and magazine style inserts

The ideal candidate must be able to join the team immediately for a contract position. Please mail your CVs to Lauren Neethling at


Sundance rundown: This year’s standout documentaries
Child gangs in Afghanistan, prostitutes in Mexico and two moviemakers kidnapped by Kim Jong Il are festival highlights. Documentary filmmaking has undergone a revolution in the 27 years since Michael Moore’s “Roger and Me” took the Sundance Film Festival by storm. Since then, the number of people making documentary films has increased exponentially, and the reach of documentaries, mostly thanks to cable television and Internet streaming, has expanded even more. Sundance remains one of the few international brands that champion the intersection of artistry and journalism and push the form in ways meant to provoke. (via Al Jazeera America)

Adding Diversity to Cinematography's Palette
Cinematography goes beyond aesthetics and technical aspects. There is a connectedness based on humanity, emotion and trust. Having a different or deeper understanding of a situation or group of people because of your ethnicity, culture or background helps to inform the dimension and depth of your work.

Documentary asked Michelle Crenshaw (Bridging the Divide: Tom Bradley and the Politics of Race), Nadia Hallgren (The New Black, Citizen Koch) and Kalyanee Mam (Inside Job, A River Changes Course) to share their insights about the beauty of working as cinematographers and how being women of color influences their work. (via IDA's Documentary magazine)

Why the BBC is screening mini-documentaries in its news bulletins
The emphasis on showing the scale and quality of the BBC’s foreign coverage alongside its range of knowledgeable correspondents is aimed at showcasing the value of the BBC’s news service. News-gathering is all about budgets. Ask newspaper editors across the world who have been forced to cull their foreign correspondents due to falling revenue. The BBC’s unique funding by licence fee has given it a measure of protection from instituting cutbacks. But it is under pressure as never before. (via The Guardian)

Generating a Buzz without Getting Stung: What a Successful PR Strategy Can Do for Your Film
The allocation of funds is tricky for documentary filmmakers, but it's particularly difficult to determine what monies should be set aside to promote a film. If the filmmaker is also the producer—or the producers are individuals, as opposed to a corporate entity—hiring a PR agency to pitch the concepts and themes of the film to the media and opinion-makers, can be a difficult and expensive decision to make. (via IDA's Documentary magazine)

Until next time...

Warm regards
Liezel Vermeulen
DFA Newsletter Editor

How to join the DFA:
Visit the DFA webpage 

Membership options:


In an attempt to support transformation in the film industry, BURSARY MEMBERSHIP is awarded to deserving individuals at tertiary institutions that excel in their studies as well as winners in DFA competitions like FAWA & MyTown. If you enjoyed a BURSARY membership last year, you will now be invoiced in FULL.

Member Benefits as well as the Member Directory can be viewed online.

The DFA is VAT and TAX exempt due to its NPO status and you may claim certain NPO contributions in your tax.


All members who renew (no matter what time of year they renew), as well as new members who pay after 01 July and before 31 December of a year will pay 100% of the annual membership fee and their membership will expire again at 01 July of the following year.

New (first time) members who join and pay after 01 February of a year and before 01 July will pay 50% of the annual membership fee, but their membership will still expire by 01 July of that year, at which time they will need to renew again.

Membership renewal fees will be invoiced annually to all members (after the member first joins), by the incoming board.

Membership will fall due immediately to continue to qualify as a member of the organisation.

WGSA Muse Awards 2015/2016

Shortly on the heels of their excursion with 20 member writers from South Africa to the NATPE Miami market, and their call to member screenwriters to apply for the London Screenwriters' Festival and Los Angeles Story Expo, and announcing the Secret Writing Patterns for different film genres workshop in May that will be presented by renowned story structure expert Peter Russell from Hollywood, the Writers' Guild of South Africa (WGSA) has another spotlight event up their sleeve.

The WGSA 3rd annual Muse Awards! 

Date: Saturday, 02 April 2016 
Time: from 17:00 until late
Venue: the prestigious Soweto Theatre, Johannesburg

The WGSA MUSE Awards is the brainchild of former WGSA Chairperson, Harriet Meier, and was launched in 2013. Now in its third year it has proven to be a sought after competition for screen-, stage- and radio play writers, as well as web series and game narrative writers (also known as "performance writers" since the work will be performed in some way)

Awards are given to produced as well as spec (unproduced) work and based solely on the actual writing.

The primary objective of the WGSA Muse Awards is to recognise the hard work done by our members in the SA film, TV and entertainment industry. In the words of Harriet Meier, “It is an award by writers for writers, which finally shines the spotlight on the often forgotten custodians of SA arts and culture”.

These awards are only open to Members of the Guild but anyone may attend the ceremony. 

The red-carpet event will kick off with welcoming drinks and snacks, followed by the awards ceremony and a show to entertain the attendees, and conclude with dinner and networking.

The WGSA Muse Awards forms part of the WGSA’s schedule of initiatives to strengthen the writing profession, as well as protecting the interests of South African performance writers.

Only 150 tickets are available to the public, so book your seats NOW. April is closer than you think!

How to get your ticket:
Contact: to book your tickets
Cost per ticket: R200.00 (two hundred rand only) per person

For more information about the award, go to

Thursday, January 28, 2016



Supporters of the victims of the Marikana massacre will assemble on Friday 29 January, to show their anger at the long delays in the compensation process.

The lawyers representing those injured and arrested in Marikana in August 2012, and the families of the slain miners, will be meeting attorneys appointed by the state for the first time on Friday, 29th January, to begin talks about compensation.

The Marikana Commission of Inquiry evidence leaders concluded in their heads of arguments that compensation for the victims could circumvent very lengthy and painful civil claims cases. Despite this, Judge Farlam omitted any recommendations in this regard in his final report.

On 29 September 2015, President Jacob Zuma announced to the press that he supports “swift compensation for bona fide claims” against government arising from the 2012 Marikana shootings.

While we welcome the fact that the meeting is taking place, we hope that the promise to expedite the process is genuine and that we will not see further delays in this process which we believe can, and should in the interests of justice, be swiftly concluded.

We also note that 17 mineworkers face serious charges, and will be facing a pre-trial hearing in April. This process is going ahead, while at the same time there has been slow movement on the recommendations arising from the Farlam Commission (Farlam report) to appoint a senior counsel to lead a team to investigate 100 police officers to see whether they have committed crimes themselves.

We also note that summonses have been served on a number of people by the legal teams representing the victims. We urge the NPA (National Prosecuting Authority of South Africa) to act independently and swiftly to ensure that all remain equal before the law.

The demonstration will take place on Friday 29 January, assembling at 12pm, 81 Maud Street, Sandton.

For more information call:

Spokesperson: Rehad Desai - 083 997 9204
Coordinator: Trevor Ngwane - 079 0307657

Story Expert Peter Russell coming to South Africa

The WGSA is proud to present to you:

The Secret Patterns of Writing for Different Genres
by Peter Russell

In its quest to advance performance (screen, stage, radio and games) writers in our beautiful country the Writers' Guild of South Africa (WGSA) is saving writers the time and money to get passports and visas, buy airplane tickets to- and pay for accommodation in America. They are doing this by flying in Peter Russell from Hollywood to Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban in May 2016.

From Peter Russell's website:
Film and television stories are changing. It’s no longer enough to ‘Save the Cat’. A lot of times now, the cat gets killed. Complex, dark heroes on TV like Walter White, and Don Draper. Slick superheroes in movie fantasy like Tony Stark. 

So many genius screenwriters and producers have no idea how to teach what they do. But Peter Russell and his partner, Cecilia Stewart Russell, do (and Peter was UCLA’s Teacher of the Year in 2009 already, so that shows how accomplished his teaching style is). 

It’s Peter and Cecilia's passion to help writers.

Peter and Cecilia started as story analysts in the 1990's, and have read over 6,000+ screenplays for major film and television giants including Imagine Entertainment, Participant Productions, HBO, CBS, Walden Entertainment and dozens of others.

As Peter and Cecilia read these scripts, they started seeing deep, hidden patterns in the best stories. They wrote these down and started getting jobs FIXING writer’s stories. And they are good at it — really good.

What Peter has in store for South Africans:

DAY 1:

Introduction - the 9 elements of all great movie stories, followed by the beats of story (20 essential moments your script should have) followed by the Secrets of Writing for Television Drama, with an additional module on character-driven shows like “True Detective”, season 1.

DAY 2:

  • Covering the secret patterns of multiple genres to clarify the functional differences in story structure between genres, as well as for the sake of comparison:
  • Thrillers (including Mystery Thrillers)
  • Horror
  • Action
  • Sci-fi / Fantasy
  • Drama
  • Why certain genres seem to be more popular than others from a sales perspective.

To secure your booking: Contact to request an invoice and please inform us where you will be attending; JHB or CPT.


Two day workshops:

JOHANNESBURG: 14 & 15 May 2016

CAPE TOWN: 21 & 22 May 2016

Normal ticket prices:
WGSA members: R4,000 per person
WGSA student members: R3,800 per person 
Non-members: R4,600 per person

Early Bird Special (Buy your ticket before 15 February 2016):
WGSA MEMBERS: R3,500 per person
WGSA STUDENT MEMBERS: R3,200 per person
NON WGSA MEMBERS: R4,100 per person

Bulk tickets (minimum of 5 tickets):
WGSA MEMBERS: R3,500 per person
WGSA STUDENT MEMBERS: R3,200 per person
NON WGSA MEMBERS: R4,100 per person

One day workshop:

DURBAN (only): 09 May 2016
Durban, you have not been forgotten or forgone. The WGSA is bringing Peter Russell to you too! But what is taught in two days in Johannesburg and Capetown is going to be presented you in one day. Especially since the group of writers in Durban is still small and intimate. It's your time to get into the action!

To secure your booking: Contact to request an invoice and please inform us that you will be attending in DBN.

Normal tickets (Durban only):
WGSA members: R2,000 per person
WGSA student members: R1,900 per person 
Non-members: R2,300 per person

Early bird tickets (Durban only) (Buy your ticket before 15 February 2016):
WGSA members: R1,750 per person
WGSA student members: R1,600 per person
Non-members: R2,050 per person

Bulk tickets (Durban only) (minimum of 5 tickets):
WGSA members: R1,750 per person
WGSA student members: R1,600 per person
Non-members: R2,050 per person

For more information on Peter Russell and his published books click here.