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SA FILM SITE FAQ

Version 3.0. Last Update: September 11, 2003

Q. WHAT IS THE SOUTH AFRICAN FILM SITE?

Q. HOW CAN I HELP OUT?

Q. WHAT IS AN INDEPENDENT FILMMAKER?

Q. WHAT IS UNDERDOG ENTERTAINMENT/PRODUCTIONS?

Q. WHAT KIND OF FILM INDUSTRY IS THERE IN SOUTH AFRICA?

Q. WILL YOU LIST MY FILM FESTIVAL ON THE SA FILM SITE?

Q. DO HAVE ANY INFORMATION ON A PARTICULAR FILM?

Q. DOES UNDERDOG TAKE ON FILM INDUSTRY TRAINEES?

Q. WILL YOU HIRE ME IF I LIVE IN SOUTH AFRICA?

Q. WILL YOU HIRE ME IF I LIVE OUTSIDE SOUTH AFRICA?

Q. I AM AN ACTOR WILL YOU USE ME IN YOUR FILM?

Q. DOES UNDERDOG ACCEPT UNSOLICITED SCRIPTS: WILL YOU READ IT?

Q. WILL UNDERDOG PRODUCE MY SCRIPT?

Q. I AM A MUSICIAN/MANAGER OF A BAND - WILL YOU USE OUR MUSIC IN YOUR FILM?

Q. HOW DO I CONTACT UNDERDOG PRODUCTIONS/THE SA INDIE FILM SITE BY POST/PHONE?


Q. What is The South African Film Site?
The South African Film Site is a web site that is aimed at providing information resources to the SOUTH AFRICAN independent filmmaker. While our focus is on South African filmmaking, anyone, anywhere can of course make use of the site. We aim to provide regular relevant news as well as listing contact details of various film-related organisations that may be of use to SOUTH AFRICAN filmmakers, such as training schools, trade unions and other organisations. We also list a variety of local and international film festivals. The site was created and is administered by Underdog Entertainment - an up and coming South African film production company.


Q. How can I help out?
You can help us out by contributing to the site - with either reviews of local films, reports on events that have taken place, or simply rants and thoughts on the film industry - generally from a South African angle. This would make the site much more exciting and representative.


Q. What is an Independent Filmmaker?
That's a tough one. There are as many definitions of Independent film and filmmakers as there are people making films. These are our thoughts on the matter: An independent film is one that largely reflects the vision of a writer or director (often the same person). These filmmakers are usually given a great deal of creative control over the project - with no studio interference. (This can be achieved because budgets are generally lower than with mainstream films.) Originally the term "Independent Film" meant a film not financed by a Hollywood studio. In South Africa, this definition would apply to almost every local film made as we have no large studios to speak of in the country. In the USA the term Independent has been co-opted by the major studios that are in fact financing a great deal of "Independent" films. (For example, Miramax - once an "independent" distributor and financier - is now owned by Disney.) Therefore we at Underdog prefer to look at the definition in terms of attitude. Ie: does the film reflect the vision of the filmmaker/s? Is it prepared to challenge ideas, values and norms more honestly than mainstream films? Is it a small budget self funded film? The independent film stands out from the mainstream through its innovative and challenging approach to filmmaking and content. As to whether either The English Patient and There's a Zulu On My Stoep qualify as independent films - we'll leave it up to you.


Q. What is Underdog Entertainment?
Underdog Entertainment, part of Underdog Productions, is a new-generation, cutting-edge entertainment company that understands both digital and traditional media. We make use of some of the finest award-winning film and television directors, writers, web designers and multimedia gurus to redefine the conventions of media entertainment both in form and content. As traditional and digital media become increasingly meshed, entertainment projects need to have their conception and production planned through a comprehensive interdisciplinary media strategy. Underdog aims to play a part in developing and creating content for the innovative new media platforms that will revolutionise the entertainment industry. Underdog's film and video producers and directors produce creatively cutting-edge work within an understanding of the marketing and brand-building objectives required on projects. Our development and production teams combine technical and creative skills with vital communication and storytelling expertise across multiple media - from television to the web. Underdog has produced a wide variety of work over the last few years from its Johannesburg, South Africa offices. For more information on Underdog Entertainment and its past, present and future projects visit http://www.underdog.co.za


Q. What kind of film industry is there in South Africa?
South Africa was one of the earliest countries in the world to produce film. It however never developed a vibrant film industry for a number of mainly political and social reasons. Nevertheless, the country has a well-developed television and commercials industry. There are currently five local television channels broadcasting a fair amount of local content (although not enough). The broadcast industry was tightly regulated in the past, but is now opening up, with a new free to air broadcaster being created soon. The commercials sector is highly advanced with many local commercials production houses producing international commercials locally with local talent. The standard of commercials is often internationally acclaimed at the large award festivals. From a technical and infrastructure perspective South Africa is well positioned. Most high quality film and video equipment is readily available - from cranes to lenses to steadi-cams. The standard of crew is also very high as is the standard of post production with facilities boasting the latest in telecine, audio, animation, editing and other technologies. In fact a number of international feature films (such as the Ghost and the Darkness) have been shot and posted right here in South Africa using South African technicians and facilities. While most of the ingredients for a thriving film industry are there, Apartheid's fragmentation of the country's artists has left a void in writing and storytelling skills. It has also left us a legacy of a fractured local audience with little film appreciation skills and until very recently no government support mechanisms for film.


Q. Will you list my film festival on the South African Film Site?
Yes, we will list any film festival from anywhere in the world on our site as long as it accepts entries from South Africa. Please send us the following information:
*Type of festival and what genres are accepted for submission (eg shorts, animation, documentary etc...)
*Deadline for submissions.
*Date of the festival.
*What formats are accepted for submissions (both for preview and screening).
*Entry fees (if any).
*Full contact details.


Q. Do you have any information about a particular film?
Probably not. We're stumped here. There is no central database or archive of South African film. Your best bet is to search the Internet Movie database at: http://uk.imdb.com/.


Q. Does Underdog take on film industry trainees?
As we are still a fledgling company, producing a relatively small amount of productions a year, we go through periods of development in which we are not actually shooting anything. It is therefore difficult to bring in trainees all the time. We can make use of trainees only when in production of a project. We will consider trainees (and have done so in the past) if you send us your CV and contact details. Please note this is only open to South African citizens.


Q. Will you hire me if I live in South Africa?
We welcome the opportunity to work with and meet new people. Please send us your CV and contact details. Please remember, as we are a fledgling company involved in a relatively small amount of productions a year we go through periods in which we are not actually shooting. Therefore we tend to hire people on a part-time/freelance basis and not permanently.


Q. Will you hire me if I live outside South Africa?
No. It is generally impractical to hire people over long distance except in a few exceptional circumstances.


Q. I am an actor. Will you use me in your film?
We are always looking for new and exciting acting talent. If you are an actor or trying to break into acting, and would like to work with us, please send us your resume as well as some photos of yourself. If a suitable project comes up we will contact you and arrange a possible audition or meeting. Again this is only practical if you are a SOUTH AFRICA actor.


Q. Does Underdog accept unsolicited scripts: Will you read it?
Yes. We enjoy reading and giving feedback on scripts. Bear in mind three conditions. 1) We may not have the time to read your script at all and may not get back to you for a long time. 2) If you send us an unsolicited script please include a letter indemnifying Underdog Productions from any and all legal actions as a result. While we are vehemently opposed to the idea of anyone ripping off anyone else's ideas we need to cover our backs. Send the letter signed together with your script. It's your decision to make. 3) Please send the script via post or courier - we do not accept scripts via e-mail as we are then required to spend time and resources printing them out.


Q. Will Underdog produce my script?
No. Not right now. Underdog is still a fledgling company producing a relatively small amount of productions a year. At this stage we are focusing our resources on finding the financing and backing to produce our own concepts and properties. It is therefore not generally viable at the moment to also develop and produce other outside feature film scripts and projects. As the company expands this policy will change.


Q. I am a musician/manager of a band - will you use our music in your film?
There's only one way to find out. Send us a demo. The most we can promise you however is that we will consider your music if any suitable project comes along. If that is the case we will contact you and proceed from there.


Q. How do I contact Underdog Entertainment/The South African Film Site via post/phone?

Underdog Entertainment
PO Box 30
Melrose Arch 2076
South Africa

Phone: +27 11 214-4000
Fax: +27 11 214-4040

www.underdog.co.za


FAQ History: Version 2.0 Luiz DeBarros

 

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