History of the DFA

In July 2005 documentary filmmakers in Cape Town met at the Encounters Documentary Festival to discuss the formation of a representative body. It was unanimously agreed that there is a need for a documentary filmmakers’ association. An interim voluntary committee was set up to draft a mission statement and constitution. Suggestions from this workgroup were used as the basis for discussion at a documentary filmmakers’ meeting in Johannesburg in August, where it was agreed that a national body would be established. On 21 April 2007 the DFA held it’s first Annual General Meeting and the constitution was unanimously accepted.

Core Objectives

  • to actively engage with broadcasters and funders to advance a sustainable production, funding and distribution model for documentary films;
  • to further diversification in all areas of production and by so doing to reflect and encourage the plurality of voices in all geographic regions in South Africa;
  • to further transformation of the documentary industry. Specifically, recognising the imbalances brought about during the political past of the country, to allow a demographically appropriate spread of race and sex in the industry, to recognise that there is sufficient space for many voices in the industry, and to protect the interests of the existing industry players who are committed to transformation;
  • to serve as a resource for both professional and aspirant documentary filmmakers in advancing skills in the field of documentary filmmaking;
  • to serve as an industry lobby in defence of the establishment of fair and equitable relationships with trade and funding resources;
  • to lobby for protection of practitioners’ rights with regards to intellectual property;
  • to network with local and international organisations of like interest to further the Association’s and members’ objectives;
  • to raise the profile of the South African documentary industry;
  • to promote the documentary industry as an industry in its own right.