Al Jazeera Pitching Forum Call At The 17th Encounters South African International Documentary Festival

Encounters, in partnership with Al Jazeera, is calling African filmmakers to submit proposals for the Al Jazeera Pitching Forum taking place in Johannesburg during the 17th Encounters South African International Documentary Festival on 10th June 2015.

Encounters is pleased to announce that it will host the 4th Al Jazeera Pitching Session and a maximum of 12 African filmmakers will be selected to pitch to Al Jazeera commissioning editors.

The Call is open to projects at any stage of development or production and Encounters is offering a limited number of travel grants to selected African filmmakers from outside Johannesburg and South Africa.

Each filmmaker selected will have a maximum of seven minutes to pitch their film, with an additional 7 minutes allocated for feedback and questions from the Al Jazeera commissioning editor. Projection equipment will be provided for those that have DVDs or other visual presentations to augment their pitch.

Pitching Workshop

All filmmakers who have been selected to pitch must be available for a one-day pitching workshop that will take place the day before the Pitching Forum.

These filmmakers will have an opportunity to discuss their pitch with an experienced filmmaker who will serve as a Tutor. The Tutor will assist filmmakers to hone their ideas, the structure of their stories in order for them to present a well-constructed pitch to the panel. During the workshop, the tutor will provide inside knowledge on working with Al Jazeera.

Al Jazeera Networking Session

Encounters will also host an Al Jazeera information and networking session before the Pitch program begins.

Submission Details:

Interested parties should send not more than:

  • A one-page synopsis of their film
  • A one-page biography of the filmmaker and producer, including complete contact details (telephone number, city of residence, home and work addresses)
  • One page of further background information and/or visual treatment of the subject.
  • A brief motivation for a travel grant to attend the Pitching Forum, if applicable
  • Links to previous works and promo of proposal, if available.


To: on or before 4pm (South African time), Tuesday 2nd June 2015.

Any questions can be sent to the email address or call 021 4615962


Al Jazeera English is an international news channel, with over sixty bureaux spanning six different continents. Established in 2006, it has continued to grow in reach and popularity due to its global coverage, especially from under-reported regions. The channel currently broadcasts to over 250m households across 130 countries. Its in-depth approach to journalism has won it numerous awards and plaudits over the years, including RTS News Channel of the Year 2012, Freesat Best News Channel, the Columbia Journalism Award, a DuPont award, and a George Polk award.

Al Jazeera is one of the world’s leading media corporations, encompassing news, documentary and sport channels. It was 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 – Al Jazeera English, Al Jazeera Arabic, 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.

The 16th Encounters South African International Documentary Festival takes place from 5 -15 June 2014 in Cape Town and Johannesburg. The Festival is supported by the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund, National Film and Video Foundation South Africa, Bertha Foundation, Al Jazeera, Wesgro, City of Cape Town, The Times and HCI Foundation.

By Andrew Germishuys

Founder of SAMDB, Andrew has worked full time in the film industry since the early 2000's. He has trained as an actor, completing his LAMDA Gold Medal, and attending many courses in Cape Town acting studios, with masterclasses with some of the international industries top directors, producers and filmmakers. Working as an actor and armourer in the film and television industry have given Andrew a great balance of skills across the board when it comes to the entertainment industry. Catch him on Twitter: Instagram: IMDb:

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