Friday, June 16, 2006

Sithengi insists doc co-production forum will go ahead in 2006

South African documentary makers will have noticed that Sithengi has, unlike previous years, made no mention of the Documentary Co-production Forum (DCF) on their website this year.

Kwailawai* has contacted them and according to Sithengi, it will happen and information and details will be made available soon on their site soon.

This is excellent news for local documentary making as the DCF brings documentary commissioning editors from the some of the worlds largest TV networks, armed with their considerable checkbooks (by South African standards), ready to fund South African docs.

Kwailawai* has attended both the previous two years' pitching sessions and was concerned that last years poor showing may have dissuaded the international broadcasters from attending.

All the projects pitched had to already have had some promise of funding by the SABC. Unfortunately the SABC pitching requirements were so politically correct that very few of the projects the SABC wanted to fund, was found to be of any interest by the international panel.

During the pitching question and answer session, when asked whether it helps that a documentary is produced by a black producer an emphatic "no" come from the panel, and BBC Storyville Commissioner Nick Fraser put it more bluntly. "I don't care who you are", he said.

In the light of the recent debacle where the SABC declined to air documentaries deemed to be politically sensitive, one has to hope that Sithengi excepts documentaries that have not been necessarily been pre-approved and part funded by the SABC. For this to happen Sithengi will have to put an independent panel in place.


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