About The DFA

Who We Are

And What We Do

The Documentary Filmmakers’ Association (DFA) was established to nurture and develop the interests of documentary filmmakers in South Africa.


The documentary film genre is unique.  It stimulates public discourse, reflects on social, political, cultural and current events, explores history, commemorates heritage and unearths the mysteries of the universe and the planet. Documentaries tell stories of ordinary and extraordinary people and communities – they celebrate, question, investigate and reflect. The most accessible genre of filmmaking, it is often marginalised by the broadcast industry and by other sectors / genres within the film and video production industry. The DFA aims to unify documentary filmmakers and gain recognition for the genre.


It remains the only association in South Africa with the sole purpose of assisting, protecting and promoting documentary filmmakers. The DFA is a key member of SASFED (The South African Screen Federation).


Full SASFED Member Organisations: A.S.A. – Animation South Africa / DFA – The Documentary Filmmakers Association / IPO – The Independent Producers Organisation / PMA – The Personal Managers’ Association / SAGA – South African Guild of Actors / SAGE – South African Guild of Editors / WGSA – Writers Guild of South Africa


The DFA is a registered Non Profit Organisation (NPO) that is solely dependent on fundraising. Its mandate is governed by a constitution and a board. All activities are executed by the board members and those they appoint to tasks.

Where It Started

Our History

In July 2005 documentary filmmakers in Cape Town met at the Encounters International Documentary Festival and agreed unanimously to form a representative body. An interim voluntary committee drafted a mission statement and constitution. At a documentary filmmakers’ meeting in Johannesburg in August 2006, a national body was formed. The DFA held its first Annual General Meeting on 21 April 2007 where the constitution was unanimously accepted.


The DFA launched its new board at Encounters Film Festival on the 13th and 22nd of July 2007 in Johannesburg and Cape Town. Since then the DFA Board has responded to several industry issues, such as the DTI Rebate, started a bursary scheme for DFA membership, and initiated a communications strategy by web site, Facebook, and e-mail newsletters.


In order to assess progress and design more effective and efficient ways to execute its mandate, the 2008 board and some members attended a Strategy session on the 9th of January 2008.  On 22 January 2011, the board once again came together to assess its mandate.