Call for Documentary Project: “Language as resistance”

Call for Documentary Project: “Language as resistance”

Call for Documentary Project: “Language as resistance”

“The oppressed struggle in language to recover ourselves, to reconcile, to reunite, to renew. Our words are not without meaning, they are an action, a resistance. Language is also a place of struggle.” – bell hooks, “Choosing the Margin as a Space of Radical Openness”

The National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF), would like to invite all filmmakers to submit proposals for a feature length documentary film that celebrates Khoe and San languages. The call seeks to award funding to two documentary feature films to the value of R750 000,00 (750 Thousand Rand Only) each for the production of a feature length documentary in keeping with the theme of “language as resistance”.


International Mother Language Day was proclaimed by the General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) in November 1999 (30C/62). International Mother Language Day has been observed every year on 21 February since February 2000 to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism. The date represents the day in 1952 when students demonstrating for recognition of their language, Bangla, as one of the two national languages of the then Pakistan, were shot and killed by police in Dhaka, the capital of what is now Bangladesh. In response to the goals of the International Mother Language Day, The National Film and Video Foundation is seeking to approve a project that promotes linguistic and cultural diversity and multilinguism, under the theme “Language as resistance”.

Terms of Reference:

The proposals must demonstrate promotion of a Khoe or San language. Proposals must have a clear central idea, captivating and compelling story, inspiring character/s, and bold visual style. The films that are produced out of this initiative will have to meet the NFVF’s requirements for content that informs, educates, entertains, and offers unique, diverse perspectives.

The NFVF is seeking to approve two proposals.

Both of the proposals we are seeking to approve must highlight Khoe and San languages. Preference will be given to submissions received from members of this community. Preference will be given to first time recipients of a special call fund. Concepts must be production ready.

Selection Criteria for Projects Proposal

Applications must include:

  • 1-2 page motivation
  • 1-page synopsis
  • Proof of Character participation where necessary (i.e. a document signed by main character confirming they will participate in the documentary)
  • Visual Treatment
  • Detailed outline or Documentary Script.
  • Archive Research Plan
  • CVs of key creative team with showreel/portfolio of work
  • Budget
  • Finance and recoupment plan
  • Proposed development and production schedule
  • Marketing and distribution strategy and plan.
  • All Tier 3 applicants must indicate they have a project supervisor.


In order for a production company to be considered for this opportunity, the applicant must meet the following requirements:

  • Producer/s must be either a South African citizen or be a permanent resident of South Africa.
  • 51% black-owned and managed companies with a unique proposal.
  • Tier 1, 2 or 3 Production Company. This is defined in the NFVF Funding Policy as:
    • Tier 1 (Experienced filmmakers who have a proven track record for developing and producing 3-5 feature-length documentary films.)
    • Tier 2 (Filmmakers with limited experience in the film industry, but who have developed and produced 1-2 feature-length films, television fiction and/or, 2-3 documentary short films seeking to venture into feature film development and production)
    • Tier 3: New entrants into the industry, particularly recent film school graduates from historically disadvantaged backgrounds. This intervention is geared towards first time filmmakers having a “calling card” in the film industry.
  • Production company should demonstrate an understanding of packaging and marketing of documentary films.

Who does not qualify?

  • Previous recipients of NFVF slate funding including animation slate, documentary slates, youth and female filmmaker project are NOT eligible for this fund.
  • Individuals and/or Production Companies that have 4 (four) active NFVF funded projects across the value chain i.e. development, production, post-production, marketing and distribution, training, and festival funding support.
  • Production companies that have current projects active in production funded by the NFVF.

Compulsory Requirements:

All applicants must submit the following compulsory documentation:

  • BBBEE certificate.
  • Valid Tax Clearance Certificate or Tax Clearance Status Pin Document (not older than one year) *
  • Recently Certified ID copy (dated certification stamp not older than six months) *
  • Company registration document

Applicants need to register and complete the online application form using the following link:

Failure to submit the above-mentioned compulsory documentations will render the application incomplete and therefore disqualified. The Closing date for applications is 20 January 2023 at 5PM. Any queries maybe directed to For any queries regarding technical issues with submissions please contact: Thandekile Hlatshwayo – Applications Officer, email: