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NHU Africa Commissioning Brief: Call for Documentary Submissions

13 January, 2014 - NHU Africa is looking for strong, African based stories that speak to the connections between people, animals and the natural world. We are not looking for proposals focusing anywhere other than Africa and we are not looking for issues, thesis’ or lectures. We are looking for powerful, entertaining, unusual and dramatic stories that provide an insight into the natural world and our place within it.

We are looking for films which will appeal to International audiences rather than simply South African domestic audiences. In particular we are looking to engage audiences in the US, UK, Europe and Asia. We will commission both one off specials at 1 x 60 mins and multi part series with episode lengths of either 30mins or 60 mins. We are particularly interested in the following areas:
Human/Animal interaction:

This ranges from unique single stories like Into The Dragon’s Lair – an intense and frightening personal quest to dive with Nile Crocodiles in the Okavango- to Cheetah Diaries – a light observational documentary series following the ongoing the work of the dedicated staff at The Cheetah Outreach. All films in this area need strong characters, developing story lines and an ability to tell us something new about the needs, desires and connections that drive human relationships with wild animals.
Adventure/Exploration:

Proposals in this area can be unique stories like Ice Man –the story of Lewis Pugh’s one man mission to highlight climate change by swimming in Antarctica – or more entertainment led series based ideas. All submissions whether for series or single films need to be built around strong characters and have a strong sense of a quest.
The Natural World/Blue Chip Natural History:

This ranges from 3 part series like Chameleons of the World- concentrating on one unusual species – to single more personal films like A Kalahari Tale- focusing on one particular individual animal. Proposals in this area must tell strong, unusual and dramatic stories, have their focus on the wild animals and offer high visual values.
Investigation/Revelation:

Proposals in this area will tend to be more journalistic in approach. They can range from stories like The Search for The Knysna Elephants – one man’s attempts to challenge the official view that only one elephant remained in the Knysna Forest – to Free Passage to Angola – testing the notion that elephants are able to detect landmines. Proposals in this area should focus on unusual, difficult or controversial subjects and deliver genuine revelation.

Please don’t hesitate to submit your idea for commission or co-production to geta@nhuafrica.com

Every submission must include:

1 page synopsis.
Treatment (2-4 pages).
Fully itemised budget in ZAR and US Dollars.
Key Creatives biographies.
Screener or showreel, if any.
List of co-production, distribution or finance partners, if any already attached.

There is no closing date for the submissions and we take proposals at any time of year. You will hear back from NHU AFRICA within 4 weeks of your submissions as to whether your proposal has been successful or not.


The 67th annual Cannes International Film Festival (Festival de Cannes) will run from 14 to 25 May 2014 in Cannes, South of France. The festival is the largest international showcase of cinematic art, where new films of all genres including documentaries and short films from around the world are previewed. It is considered to be among the worlds’ most prestigious and publicized film festivals. Anyone can submit a film, and every submission has the chance to be viewed by representatives of the international movie industry. Please check the festival website for application deadline and requirements here

In Namibia, Goethe centre in Windhoek on 25 January 2014: Africavenir invites you to see the screening of the now unbanned film “Of Good Report”, which stirred huge controversy at last years Durban International Film Festival, and became the first film in post-Apartheid South Africa to be banned. Trailer