Call Out to Documentary Filmmakers

Made in Africa

3rd and 4th May at INPUT2008 in Johannesburg, South Africa

A training opportunity brought to you by Input 2008 hosts:

The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC)


CBA-DFID Broadcast Media Scheme

The UK Documentary Filmmakers Group (DFG)

The Thomson Foundation (UK)

Mosaic Films

A two day workshop for documentary filmmakers from across Africa

Made in Africa is a unique training project aimed at giving international broadcast production opportunities to new and emerging documentary filmmakers across the continent of Africa. The initiative will be launched at INPUT 2008 in Johannesburg, South Africa with a workshop.

What is the workshop about?

This is a two day workshop on 3rd and 4th May, 2008, prior to Input, in Johannesburg. Its aim is to give up to 300 documentary filmmakers the following:

  • A better understanding of the editorial and creative requirements of UK, European and International broadcasters, in terms of short documentaries, longer format factual programming and news/current affairs pieces.
  • An understanding of international documentary feature film finance, including editorial and creative requirements and funding schemes/opportunities that are available.
  • An improved understanding of what global broadcasters and funders really want to know about programme projects and the people making them.
  • An opportunity to learn how to make a written proposal more sellable and to better understand the importance of the pitch – and how to avoid some of the more common pitfalls!
  • Explore the rich history of African storytelling and locate its relevance in the 21st century Broadcast environment.
  • To enhance the development of personal marketing skills and core business skills for programme makers.

Who is it for?

This workshop is aimed at emerging filmmakers from all over Africa who wish to acquire or develop their skills with regard to international production of documentaries, storytelling, and how to develop and pitch ideas internationally. However, the invitation is extended to all directors and producers of documentary films who feel they may benefit from this workshop.

What will happen during the two days?

Saturday 3rd May

09:00 Delegates Register

09:30 Introduction to Speakers and Outline of Weekend (Andy Glynne/Sally-Ann Wilson)

10:00 Introduction to Pitching and Proposal (Christina Burnett)

This is an interactive session which takes a unique look at how to begin pitching an idea and how to market yourself as an individual filmmaker and/or producer. There will be discussion of what commissioning editors really want to know about you and your project. The session will end with an introduction to the five selected delegates who will be pitching their projects over the weekend.

11:30 Coffee Break

12:00 – 13:30 Giving Your Project Legs (Andy Glynne)

This section of the workshop focuses on improving understanding of the ways in which different broadcasters want stories to be told, and current trends in storytelling, including an analysis of the authored documentary, creative documentary, feature vs. broadcast, formatted factual programmes, arts and history documentaries and news/current affairs docs.

There will be an emphasis on how to approach broadcasters with your idea; establishing co-production partners, what different broadcasters are looking for in terms of content, different models of funding – including commissioning, pre-sales, and acquisitions. This session also focuses on discussing the launch of the Made in Africa Production Scheme.

13:30 – 14:30 Lunch

14:30 – 16:00 Storytelling and Narrative (Sylvia Vollenhoven)

This session looks at the rich legacy of African Storytelling traditions and its relevance in the 21st Century Broadcasting Environment. Drawing from examples of African documentaries, this session celebrates the rich tradition of African storytelling and shows the importance of narrative within a film. The session also analyses how projects can be developed into a product suitable for both African and wider international broadcast markets. A prominent African filmmaker as well as a traditional storytelling performance will enhance this session.

Sunday 4th May

10:00 -11:30 Pitching Session (Christina Burnett)

The five pitching delegates will be coached through their projects in front of the wider audience. This is an interactive session, inviting comments from all audience members.

11:30 Coffee Break

12:00 Les Saignantes – A Case Study

Chaired by Sylvia Vollenhoven this session involves clips of the award winning African Science fiction film and a discussion with the Fespaco award winning film maker Jean Pierre Bekolo.

12:00 Pitching Session (Private Session)

This is a behind-closed-doors session for the five pitchers.

13:00 Lunch

14:00 Pitching Session

The weekend will culminate in a pitching session in which each of the 5 participants with selected projects will pitch in front of a panel of industry professionals including Executive Producers and Commissioning Editors; The pitching event will be similar to the structure of the International Pitching Forums (such as IDFA or HotDocs). Pitch length will be 7 minutes max, including any visual material.

16:00 Day Ends

How to apply?

You may either apply as a General Participant or a Participant wishing to submit a Project.

General Participants

Anyone can apply to this workshop as a general participant as long as you are registered for Input 2008. Please see the website at for registration details.

To apply, please contact Maganthrie Pillay. You can email her at

You can also call Nerissa Solomon at the Input 2008 offices:

+27 11 482-8511/8518 or (011) 482-8511 if you are calling from South Africa.


Participants with Projects

We’d like to hear from those of you who have an idea for a ten minute documentary that explores the importance of sport within the context of the 2010 World Cup. Beyond the events, the games and the personalities we are looking for stories about our relationship with sport. For instance about 70 percent of South Africans are spectators while only about a third actually play any sport. Why do we get so much fulfilment as we slump into couch potato mode to watch sport? How effective is sport as driver for real change in the way we live our lives?

We’re asking you to send us a one-page proposal of an idea you may have, and if you are selected then you will develop your idea with Christina Burnett, an international pitching trainer from the UK, over the course of the two days. Some of your training sessions will be in front of the whole audience, which is good practice for pitching in some of the international forums. On the 2nd Day, you will pitch in front of a panel of experienced producers and commissioning editors.

The winning pitches will receive SABC and CBA-DFID Broadcast Media Scheme funded places (each worth £10,000) on the Thomson Documentary course in Cardiff 2008.

Please submit:

1. Your CV

2. A one page letter of intent stating why it is important for you to make this film and why you should be selected for the pitching workshop

3. The name, job title and contact details for an industry professional who we can contact as a referee.

4. Your Proposal (Please note this is an application for the training workshop only. Your proposal will be developed during the two days for the purposes of training)

On one side of A4 with the following information:

  • Proposed title
  • Story and contents of the film: what, who, where, when
  • Structure and form: how will you tell the story
  • Visual and aural style
  • Any other relevant information about the context of the story


Applications received after this time will not be considered.



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