Friday, September 4, 2009

GFC - Location workshop invite

The Gauteng Film Commission in association with the Gauteng Film Partnership invites you to attend a workshop on location filming.


Date: Monday, 7 September 2009

Time: 18:00


Parking: Use SCI-BONO underground parking on Miriam Makeba Street Opposite the SAB World of Beer. Kindly produce your invite to access parking


Warm Regards

Seitiso Mogoshane
Locations Officer

Gauteng Film Commission

56 Main Street Johannesburg, 2108 South Africa
PO Box 61601 Marshalltown 2107,
Tel: +27 (0) 11 833 0409
Fax: +27 (0) 11 833 0282 / 0865055772

Cell: +27 (0) 83 608 4324


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Update on IP meeting with SABC

Dear all,

Myself (Neil Brandt), Thandi and Rehad attended on behalf of the IP subcommittee. Apologies
given for Desiree and Pule.

SABC was represented by Nhalanhla Sibisi, Sabelo Silinga and Webster Mfebe.

SARRAL and SAMRO where there but did they did not really contribute. CWU was
also represented.

After much heated discussion the following has been agreed;

1) SABC will provide a written point by point response to the
commissioned IP reports final recommendations. We thought that this was the
point of this meeting but we never made it to any substantive issues as
discussion was primarily around process. This will be received by September
1st. The IP committee should do the same. I will do a first draft for

2) We shall meet again on the 15th September to briefly respond to each
other's positions, but main purpose of this meeting will be to set the
agenda and "ringfence" the issues that will be the subject of an intensive 2
day workshop between the SABC and the IP subcommittee. I imagine this will
happen around the end of September. This will be critical, as the real meat
of what it means to share ownership will be fleshed out. SABC will insist
that all affected stakeholders will also participate in this meeting.

3) Out of this workshop we should have draft positions on the table
that will be put to the industry at an IP Indaba. It is my strong
recommendation that we utilize the resources that the GFC has to host an
industry Indaba to dovetail with this. I am recommending to the GFC that the
main focus of the INDABA (whether we like it or not they are going ahead so
lets make the best of it - currently planned for November) be IP and how
this relates to building a sustainable industry. This can work on a basic
training level for producers on IP, but more importantly also to use the
forum to bring all stakeholders together to negotiate a win-win situation
for the, bring the DTI, CIPRO, SAMRO, NFVF, SABC, SASFED, IPO
ect to the table with pre planned solutions with a view to really once and
for all finding a way that we can work together seamlessly and unlock

4) All the above based on the premise that SABC willing to contract out
of the Commissioning Exception. A parallel process should be undertaken in
which we tackle the long-term vision of changing the relevant laws.

Input welcomed.

Neil Brandt

Further Update on SABC Payment 17 August 2009

Dear Producers,

Following our meeting with the SABC this morning and in response to the queries raised with them around verifications, please note that a special email has been set up and that your enquiries should be sent to The email address will be up and running tomorrow (Tuesday) from midday.

We have consolidated the SABC and TVIEC lists to form one list from which we will work moving forward.

Critical Issues for you as Producers:

1. You need to contact Mandy Branch (use the email address above) to ascertain where in the verification process you stand i.e. what is still outstanding that you need to get to the SABC in order to settle 100%? If this is not done, you will default to a 50% claim, with a further 90 days in which to provide the relevant information so that you can claim the balance owing to you. This has been confirmed by the SABC (one of the queries listed in our earlier mail to them).
2. Category 1 companies/payments have been granted an extension to 19 August 2009 for their submissions.
3. Please ensure that you obtain copies of the bank statements for the production periods. This is critical.
4. We’re awaiting a checklist of deliverables from the SABC which we will forward to you. This will allow you to “tick boxes” against production deliverables so that verification is not further frustrated by a “technicality” e.g. music cue sheets, assets, etc
5. We’re awaiting an SABC revert regarding the date that the invoices must carry (SAP-related issue). We will share this with you as soon as we have word.
6. Interest will be paid, but will be dealt with as a separate issue and invoice.
7. Royalties and repeats will be dealt with separately but is on the agenda.
8. We have asked that the one-on-one meetings with Mvuso and Henk be provisionally rescheduled from the 22nd of August to the 29th of August. We await confirmation of this date. We will inform you, within the next few days, of the process for the scheduling of these meetings.

Levern Engel

TVIEC slogans

Dear All TV Industry colleagues

Since the fantastic marches in JHB and Cape Town we have held back from calling any direct action. With the imminent threat that will see 70% reduction in spend on commissioning we have no option to keep up the pressure on the SABC to make an appropriate application for a short term finance plan to the DOC/ Treasury who if accepted will put it to parliament. This will only happen if we are able to bring to the attention of the public and their elected representatives the very real consequences of such a cut. We cannot accept our local content quota’s being met by SA corporate funding who then determine who tells our stories and how our stories are told. Our rallying call for a plurality and diversity of voice has to be defended.

To this end we have some planned activity for next week that we need to build support for - get people out to attend. In addition we are planning action for the following week which we need assistance to pull off.

Furthermore Cape Town need to plan an action outside parliament – and attend the interviews for the SABC Board we need to send a message through our presence that they are being watched.

Joburg TVIEC protest action comm. meeting at Atlas Studio Thursday 20th August 4 pm sharp boardroom – this is a task orientated meeting. Please attend if you can help.

Some ideas for slogans

Bail Out Now

for SABCs 24 million viewers

Bail Out for SABC or Bail Out of Viewers

SABC is Public Service that requires support

Advertising Funded Programmes is not the answer

Editorial integrity under threat by Advertising Programmes

Only public funding can guarantee editorial integrity

A CEO for SABC who is a champion of local story telling

We need ideas for slogans.

Rehad Desai

TVIEC guerrilla theatre protest

Hi All

The TVIEC is organising a guerrilla theatre protest action at SABC to keep the pressure on. The plan is to depict the death of local stories and local content. Media will be invited to document the action and to interview picketers.

The feeling is that it would be great if Cape Town organised something similar. I cannot do any organising as I am staying out of town and do not have reliable e-mail or cell phone contact.

I can supply the data base of people interested in the action of the TVIEC and who attended the last picket in Cape Town to whoever is willing to take the task on. E-mail me at:

all the best



This letter is written on behalf of the TVIEC (Television Industry Emergency Coalition) which consists of: IPO (Independent Producers Organization), SASFED (South African Screen Federation), TPA (The Producers Alliance), DFA (Documentary Filmmakers Association), WGSA (Writers Guild of South Africa) as well as the CWU (Creative Workers Union).

Producer Seminar with Angus Finney in Johannesburg

The NFVF has been running a high level producer course led by Angus Finney and Women of the Sun (WoS) have now obtained Finney's services to share some of his secrets in this very special once off Seminar.
Date: Thurs, 20 August 2009
Venue: Atlas Studios
ime: 9:30am for 10:00am
Cost: Women R100, Men R150
RSVP: with Eve 072 143 1825 /

Producers who are aiming to make films for both local and international audiences should not miss this rare chance to participate and learn about the business of film from one of the world's experts.

Angus Finney has been MD of Renaissance Films, a UK-based development, production, financing and sales company a leading international sales company, has executive produced many films incl. Neil Armfield’s CANDY staring Heath Legder (Official Selection, Berlin 2006). And now runs London's premier film finance market, the PFM. Finney has been involved in the raising of more than $120m towards independent film production over the past decade.

Participants should realise that the value of the seminar is made even more worthwhile by the notes/MBA style course pack, which is worth the fee even before they have benefited from the actual seminar.

WoS seminars are aimed particularly to empower women filmmakers, bringing our members together to learn and network, but we encourage all producers both female and male and of all levels to attend.

The Seminar
· The Film Value Chain
· Creative material selection
· Project Management
· Financial Packaging Business models and business plan

An MBA style pack will also be available to the attendees. This will cover a range of key issues on international film business.

The Participants

This seminar is aimed at SA producers of:
· local Film & television product drama and documentary;
· international product, that could find TV distribution/multi platforms in key territories beyond SA/Africa, and
· international feature films (including documentaries that cross over to theatrical) that require non-SA financing for distribution and exploitation on a world-wide basis.

Booking Details
Pay at the door or to:
Women of the Sun
Bank: Nedbank,
Branch: Killarney
Acc no. 1916 074804

Entertainment law seminars

The BLA Legal Education Centre will be hosting a series of Entertainment Law seminars in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban.
To register for a seminar contact Keke on 011 403 0802

Johannesburg seminar will be on the 21st August
Cape Town seminar will be on the 28th August
Durban seminar will be on the 11th September

Topics to be covered are:

The overview of the film making process
Legal aspects relating to film
Music industry
Music rights

Private eye at SABC offices

Officials from the auditor-general’s office have set up shop at the SABC’s headquarters in Auckland Park to investigate allegations of widespread mismanagement and corruption. by Buddy Naidu
A team of investigators has occupied the broadcaster’s fourth-floor offices since last Monday after being ordered by Parliament’s portfolio committee to probe the litany of allegations.

The financial and managerial crisis at the organisation eventually saw the previous board dissolved in June. Now the auditor-general’s office has three months to investigate claims made by:

# The former board and its chair Kanyisiwe Mkonza against management;

# Unions, who compiled a dossier alleging a litany of improprieties, corruption and the flouting of fiduciary duties by both the board and management;

# Senior members of management as well as former CEO Dali Mpofu against the board; and

# The interim board and the portfolio committee.

SABC spokesman Kaizer Kganyago said the investigators were receiving “full co-operation” from management, with staff being encouraged to participate.

“Staff and anyone with information are encouraged to interact with them via a special e-mail account that has been set up, while boxes have been allocated for those who wish to provide information anonymously,” he said.

He said the probe was expected to last until the end of this month, after which a report would be tabled before the communications committee in Parliament.

A spokesman for the Auditor-General, Africa Boso, said he was unable to comment on the investigations.

In March, the SABC announced pre-tax losses of under R800-million and it has since gone cap in hand to government for a R2.4-billion bailout.

Communications Minister Siphiwe Nyanda also announced, soon after the dissolution of the board, plans to create a new funding model for the broadcaster.

Nyanda told Parliament that he had approached Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan to form a team to “effect the turnaround”.

He also announced a proposal to radically increase state funding for the SABC.

At present, the broadcaster’s advertising revenues account for about 80%, with the state contributing only 2% and the rest coming from licence fees.

This week Nyanda announced an 11% licence tariff increase — from R225 to R250 — effective as from the beginning of this month.

Private SABC is urged

The Democratic Alliance has called for the SABC to be privatised. DA spokesperson Niekie van den Berg said yesterday that the public broadcaster had decided that to cut costs it would no longer commission any new local content.
But the Television Industry Emergency Coalition warned that this decision would effectively kill the local television industry, with 80000 crew and cast losing their jobs, among other things.

The DA welcomed the SABC’s attempts at cost- cutting, but said the broadcaster’s almost R1billion losses were largely as a result of internal financial mismanagement and mass fruitless and wasteful spending.

“An example of worrying trends at the SABC includes the fact that despite the corporation’s dismal performance, and while being on paid suspension for most of the year, suspended CEO Dali Mpofu received a R2,1million bonus during 2008, 47,3percent higher than the previous year’s R1,4million.

“Mpofu’s salary was also increased by 19,7percent to R4,5million.

“He was also paid out more than R6,5million for the remainder of his contract after being refused reinstatement,” Van den Berg said.

Another disconcerting fact was that the SABC’s biggest debtor was national and provincial government, which owed it over R300million in advertising fees. The money is for airtime sales and outdoor broadcast ventures. – Sapa

SABC cancels local productions

The Television Industry Emergency Coalition (TVIEC) is raising a red flag in alarm at the proposal by the SABC to freeze, cancel and delay various local productions in order to cut costs.
As per the SABC’s 2008 Request for Proposals (RFPs) from the independent production sector, we have been informed that only 12 out of the 47 productions due to have been incepted in April 2009 will be going ahead this year. The balance will be delayed or cancelled. There will be no 2009 RFPs for production in 2010. Furthermore, numerous existing/renewable contracts have been postponed or deferred.

This appears to be the turn-around plan that has been proposed to the interim board. If implemented, the move will save the SABC an estimated R500-million over the next year. Instead of the SABC creating a viable new business plan, the independent production sector will end up taking the hit for the broadcaster’s internal mismanagement. While the SABC will appear to have a quick turn-around, the impact has deep consequences that the industry, viewers, and next board will have to face:

Companies will close and many will find themselves in debt and potentially liquidated as they had geared for the anticipated annual work flow. Only a very few big production companies with long running soaps will be able to survive.

The substantial investment made by SABC in training and developing new entrants in the industry will be lost – people will have to find other employment.

Key creative talent will migrate and be lost. This is no small issue – producers, writers and directors take years to develop and are pivotal to production success.

Suppliers and facilities will be forced to sell off equipment – most likely outside of the country – which will leave the local industry with an increasingly smaller pool of suppliers, pushing up prices etcetera.

The SABC will enter into a schedule of repeats (which has already started) even in prime time slots, thus directly affecting audiences and very likely future revenue. As viewers decrease, so do advertising rates. Surely this must also have serious effect on the SABC meeting its ICASA requirements – but no reliable quota statistics are forthcoming from either the broadcaster or the regulator. Furthermore, the TVIEC is concerned about how and when repeat fees will be paid – given the fact that final payments have still not been made on some of the properties that are now going to be repeated!

What happens to the SABC staff employed to commission, oversee and work on the many productions that will be cancelled and deferred? Will they be retrenched as part of the cost saving exercise too?

In addition we are being informed that the SABC intends to “bulk commission” local programming to further reduce costs. While we can see that this may provide some savings, we highlight that it will only serve to grow a handful of production companies that have capacity to manage bulk. These are mainly established facility owner/producer companies and will most likely advantage the already advantaged. We believe this goes against the very spirit of the SABC’s commitment to diversity and developing the industry – as well as ICASA’s recommendations. Bulk commissioning is a dangerous notion of cost savings as it is not applicable to all genres (eg drama or documentary) and will thus start to shape the type of content the SABC puts on air – cheap and studio-based. It is also open to abuse and inappropriate commissioning. We are concerned that there are already discussions on bulk commissioning taking place with large facility/producer companies, and that open and fair tender will by bypassed.

We believe that an attempt to turn the SABC around by cutting their key product – programming – will cause irreparable damage to the independent production sector and to the SABC’s credibility. In our view this can be likened to an airline making a saving by buying less fuel. Cost savings must be made from areas of fat or that are non-core to the SABC’s business. Programming is at the core of their offering to viewers. We strongly oppose this process.

We are of the view that the SABC should be looking at a combination of selling off non-core assets, downscaling internal units that have been overstaffed, cutting back on unnecessary spending in non-program areas and applying for funding in the form of a bail-out or a loan whilst implementing long term cost savings within its business models.

The TVIEC will continue to campaign. We will lobby all stakeholders and mobilize public opinion for a short term policy intervention which will require Treasury to allocate additional budget to the SABC in 2009 so that its anticipated schedule of local content can be produced.


This letter is written on behalf of the TVIEC (Television Industry Emergency Coalition) which consists of: IPO (Independent Producers Organization), SASFED (South African Screen Federation), TPA (The Producers Alliance), DFA (Documentary Filmmakers Association), WGSA (Writers Guild of South Africa) as well as the CWU (Creative Workers Union).

At the August 4 mass meeting of the TVIEC, the steering committee reported back on our meetings and dealings with the minister, SABC operations and the SABC interim board. The protest march and subsequent lobbies have given us a powerful voice – but the struggle for a new SABC has only just begun.

As was reported at that meeting, the SABC seems intent on slashing local production over the next year as a means of saving money. See the press release at the end of this document for our position on these proposed measures.

Our industry is facing yet another very serious crisis and we have decided that we have no option but to continue with our protest action strategy.

Next Protest Action

Within the next few weeks the TVIEC will be staging a guerrilla theatre protest action at SABC. This will be a mediation and picket, not a mass protest action. The plan is to stage industrial theatre that depicts the death of local stories and local content. Media will be invited to document the action and to interview picketers. We need to keep the pressure on.

The plan is to stage similar protests regularly after this. We are urgently calling on TVIEC members to join us. Bring us ideas for protest pieces and help the protest committee stage these. We need volunteers to join us on 20 August for a meeting to plan the protest action.

Writers and actors, express your outrage at the SABC’s killing off of local content. We need passionate individuals to join the pickets and speak to the media about their concerns. Contact Charl on 082-6813680 if you can help.

As the protests continue, the thrust will increasingly be on job losses. Actors, writers, service providers and crew need to come forward and tell their stories. The focus will also be on viewers. Soon SABC will be serving us a diet of repeats. Do you have any ideas on how to engage with the issue of viewers? Let us know.

Reporting Back: A New System

It is proving difficult to effectively report back to TVIEC members and affiliates on the myriad meetings and lobbies that we are engaged in – such as nominations for the new SABC board and issues of payment and operations at SABC.

We are proposing that each member body of the TVIEC nominates two to four people that can meet with us for report backs. They will then report back to their members. Please can you nominate members and let us know by mailing us on

Mpofu gets R12m to leave SABC

Former SABC boss Dali Mpofu has ended his R20-million legal dispute with the broadcaster and will pocket R12-million for his troubles. by Buddy Naidu
Mpofu and the SABC’s interim chairman, Irene Charnley, announced at a rather jovial news conference on Friday that they had reached an “amicable agreement” whereby he will drop his legal case for wrongful dismissal against the broadcaster.

The two said “ongoing costly legal battles are not in the interests of public broadcasting”.

Mpofu also signed a restraint-of-trade agreement valid for 18 months.

He has already been paid R6.7-million, or the remainder of his contract, after his axing. He will pocket a further R900000 as part of his package, and the Department of Communications will pay him R4.4-million as part of the restraint-of- trade deal. As part of the agreement, signed to “safeguard the SABC’s protectable interests”, Mpofu will be prevented from working for any entity in competition with the broadcaster, even as a consultant. He will also receive R2.1- million for legal fees he incurred during his battle with the former board, which initially suspended and then axed him early last year.

Charnley said the scrap between Mpofu and the previous board, which was dissolved in June, had cost the broadcaster R4.8-million in legal fees alone.

A jovial Mpofu said he was relieved the saga was over and insisted he had no intention of applying for his old job, which is advertised in national newspapers today.

“Fairness, in principle, was what I was fighting for,” Mpofu said.

He maintained that his tenure was a “success” — saying his record “speaks for itself” — and praised his senior management team for their work.

“I’ve no regrets. .. people will see the kind of contribution we’ve made as a collective.”

He also took a dig at the former board, saying he paid no heed to their attempts to publicly discredit him. “(I) don’t worry about people who are ignorant about how the SABC functions.”

DA spokesman on communications Niekie van den Berg said it was ridiculous that Mpofu could walk away with a R12-million payment when his inability to manage the state broadcaster led to its financial crisis. “I hope this is a lesson for the ANC as Mpofu was a political appointment.”

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