The Encounters South African International Documentary Festival is pleased to announce the Al Jazeera English pitching session at the 14th edition of the Festival.
For the first time, Al Jazeera English, in partnership with Encounters, will conduct a one-day pitching session with filmmakers from South Africa and the rest of Africa in Cape Town. We are looking for powerful films that tell engaging stories in a meaningful way. 16 to 20 documentary filmmakers will get the opportunity to pitch to one of the only international broadcasters that focuses on the documentary film genre.
To be held on Monday, 11 June 2012 in Cape Town, three Commissioning Editors from Al Jazeera (see bio’s below) will see between 16 to 20 people. Each person will have a maximum of five minutes to pitch their film and there will be an additional 10 minutes allocated for feedback and questions from the panel. Visual aids will be provided for those that have DVDs or presentations during the pitch.
Al Jazeera English is an international news channel, holding over sixty bureaus spanning six continents. Since being established in 2006, it has continued to grow in reach and popularity due to its global coverage, especially from underreported regions. The channel currently broadcasts to over 250m households across 130 countries.
Al Jazeera English’s in-depth approach to journalism has won it numerous awards and accolades over the years. It is the current RTS News Channel of the Year and Freesat Best News Channel. In the last year, Al Jazeera English has also picked up the Columbia Journalism Award, a DuPont award, and a George Polk award.
Al Jazeera English is part of the Al Jazeera Network – one of the world’s leading media corporations, encompassing news, documentary and sport channels. Al Jazeera started out more than 15 years ago as the first independent news channel in the Arab world dedicated to covering and uncovering stories in the region. It is now a media network consisting of over 20 channels, including Al Jazeera Arabic, Al Jazeera English, Al Jazeera Balkans, Al Jazeera Sport, Al Jazeera Mubasher, Al Jazeera Documentary, the Al Jazeera Media Training and Development Center, and the Al Jazeera Center for Studies.
South African-born Blair has been making documentaries for more than 30 years. He has won an Oscar, two Emmys, a British Academy Award and an International Documentary Association Distinguished Achievement Award, amongst other accolades. His documentary work has spanned current affairs, history and popular culture. Blair left South Africa permanently in 1966 when he was drafted into the Apartheid regime’s army, but returned illegally in 1976 to make the first film for international television about the Soweto Uprisings, ironically entitled There Is No Crisis. Blair is currently contracted to Al Jazeera English as Acting Commissioning Editor for Major Series, Specials and Discussion Programmes.
Dominique is a Senior Producer based in Al Jazeera English’s bureau in London. She commissions a wide range of documentaries on African and Middle Eastern subject matter, for broadcast in the channel’s flagship observational documentary strand Witness, as well as other documentary seasons.
Witness is the flagship, observational documentary strand on Al Jazeera English, broadcasting one 25’ film and one 48’ film each week. Witness films are character-led, first-person stories which set the context to the daily news agenda and provide an insight into key events of the day as they impact on the lives of ordinary people. Witness documentaries are inspirational and provocative, with a global resonance and appeal. As far as possible, our stories are told by local filmmakers and our films aim to showcase the work of established and emerging documentary talent from around the world.
Diarmuid Jeffreys is an award-winning journalist and television producer with almost 30 years experience in the media industry. Since late 2008, he has been an Editor and Executive Producer at Al Jazeera English.
Based in London, he is responsible for Al Jazeera English’s People & Power investigative current affairs programme and a range of other documentaries across the network.
People & Power is a multi-award winning documentary current affairs and investigative strand. Broadcast throughout the year and with a new half-hour edition every week, it pursues stories from all over the world; combining hard-hitting, revelatory and incisive television journalism with high-quality filmmaking, probing deep into stories of global significance and investigating everything from political and corporate wrongdoing, human rights abuses and the origins of conflict to the plight of the world’s most vulnerable peoples.
Over the last 12 months it has filmed everywhere – from Pakistan to Peru, from the USA to Afghanistan, from Italy to Nigeria and especially across the Middle East as it went behind the scenes to produce award-winning coverage of dramatic events in Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain, Syria, Algeria and elsewhere.
In 2011, Jeffries’ output also included several films as part of AJE’s much praised coverage of the Arab Awakening. In the last three years, his series have won an Amnesty Award for Best Television Documentary 2010, the Rory Peck Best Features Award 2011, Best Documentary 2011 from the Human Trafficking Foundation and twice (2010 and 2011) been commended in the Best Investigative Documentary category by the Association of International Broadcasters.
In May 2012, another of his recent series, Africa Investigates (in which African journalists target corruption and human rights abuses across their continent), won a One World Media Award. Previously Diarmuid has produced, directed and commissioned current affairs and investigative documentaries in the UK for the BBC (Newsnight, Panorama, The Money Programme), Channel 4 (Dispatches) and ITV (World in Action, This Week) as well as programmes for PBS in the US and other broadcasters around the world.
He is also the author of three non-fiction books: The Bureau – Inside the FBI; Aspirin – The Remarkable Story of a Wonderdrug and Hell’s Cartel – IG Farben and The Making of Hitler’s War Machine.
Interested parties should send a one-page synopsis of their film, a one-page biography of the filmmaker, and complete contact details to email@example.com on or before Sunday, 27 May 2012.
For further enquiries contact:
Lesedi Oluko Moche
+27(21) 461 4686
Sasfed Member Organisation, NPO Number: 51-722, National Association Founded 2007 DFA PAIA Request Documents