Distribution, Co-production and Sales Workshop

A key area affecting the South African film industry is distribution and co-production. Due to lack of information and networks, filmmakers are not easily finding co-production partners nor are they sufficiently exploiting the various avenues of distribution available: DVD, Television (local and international, satellite, cable, terrestrial) and digital downloads/VOD.

Other elements of distribution that need clarification include contracts, marketing and playing the Film Festival Game. We believe that if filmmakers can attain business fluency it can maximise profits and exposure and increase capacity in the industry.


Encounters, the Cape Film Commission and the Documentary Filmmakers Association (DFA) are hosting an open and interactive workshop on Distribution and Sales facilitated by international and local experts. The facilitators to be invited are:

  • Diana Holtzberg: Vice President – Acquisition, Project Development Sales for Film Transit. Leading Documentary Sales Agent
  • Claire Aguilar: Director of Programming. Independent Television Service (ITVS), USA.
  • Don Edkins: Executive Producer, Why Democracy? Series.

Full biographies of Holtzberg, Aguilar and Edkins and their spheres of interest see below.

The Workshop will be held in Cape Town only on Friday 4 July from 09h00 – 12h00 and 14h30 – 17h00 at the Protea Hotel Victoria Junction, cnr Somerset and Ebenezer Rd, Greenpoint.

The workshop is open to all. Seating is limited. Places will be allocated on a first come first served basis. To register please email Lisa Mini at lisa@encounters.co.za or Tel: 021 4654686

One-on-one meetings:

Locally there is a marked absence of Distribution, Co-production and Sales opportunities specifically for the documentary genre. Diana Holtzberg, Claire Aguilar, and Don Edkins will be available for one-on-one meetings with filmmakers who have a project in development, a rough cut, or a completed product.

DVD facilities will be available at the meeting venue for those with film material.
Filmmakers in one-on-one consultations will be given direct feedback on their product and advice on distribution and how to sell or co-produce into the international market.
In order to secure a slot with one of the experts please send a one page profile, a synopsis of your film including information on the status of the project, your budget and partners to Lisa Mini - lisa@encounters.co.za - by 23 June 2008.

These meetings will take place on Saturday 5 July: 09h30 – 13h00 and 14h30 -17h30 at Runway, Waterfront Studios, 1 Port Rd, Waterfront.

Claire Aguilar

Claire Aguilar is vice president of Programming at the Independent Television Service (ITVS), where she oversees all aspects of program initiatives, including programming strategy, funding calls, peer panel review and funding recommendations. She commissions programming with US independent producers and with international producers for ITVS’s International Media Development Fund. She co-curates the Independent Lens series, a series of independent programming on PBS which premiered in February 2003. Prior this position she was manager of Broadcast Programming at KCET/Los Angeles. She has also been a film programmer at the UCLA Film and Television Archive. She has served as a programming consultant and panelist for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Rockefeller Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts, the Pew Fellowships in the Arts and other media and funding organizations. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications Studies and a Master of Arts in Film and Television Studies from UCLA. She serves on the board of Women Make Movies.

Independent Television Service (ITVS) is a service in the United States which funds and presents award-winning documentaries and dramas on public television, innovative new media projects on the Internet, and the weekly series Independent Lens on PBS. Funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), one of ITVS's missions is to present plurality and diversity in public television.

ITVS was established through legislation by the United States Congress in 1988 to champion independently-produced programs that take creative risks, spark public dialogue, and serve underserved audiences. The service began fulfilling its mission in 1991.

ITVS is based in San Francisco.

Diana Holtzberg

Diana Holtzberg is VP - Acquisitions, Project Development, Sales for Films Transit International, Inc., a leading worldwide documentary film sales company with an impressive catalogue, founded in 1982 by Jan Rofekamp. She executive produces and often acts as creative consultant on a select number of films (five in 2008) which the company represents each year. Diana has sat on panels and conducted workshops at the Sundance, IDFA, Sunnyside of the Doc, Hot Docs, Guadalajara and Galway Film Festivals, among others. Her career spans television production and magazines and she has co-authored numerous articles regarding documentary distribution, with Jan Rofekamp, and is currently completing work on a book based on the documentary film Still Doing It for the Penguin Group, co-authored with Deirdre Fishel.

Don Edkins

Don Edkins is a documentary filmmaker and producer. He was born in Cape Town in 1953 and left South Africa in 1976 for political reasons. In 1994 he returned to South Africa to vote in the first democratic elections. With an academic background in Development Studies and African Languages, he has extensive work experience in the field of media and development. In Lesotho he published a national popular educational magazine, and founded a mobile video cinema in 1993 that distributes and screens films at a community level. His films include Goldwidows (1990), The Colour of Gold (1992), and The Broken String (1996). He produced the Southern African series on truth and reconciliation Landscape of Memory (1998), and the multi-awarded documentary project Steps for the Future (2001/04) – a collection of 38 films about Southern Africa in the time of HIV and AIDS <www.steps.co.za>. He is Executive Producer of the STEPS International global documentary project Why Democracy? <whydemocracy.net> 10 long and 18 short films.



    2008 Festival Dates

19–29 June 2008

Cape Town
3–13 July 2008
Booking Details

    South African International
    Documentary Festival

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