The art of film development

Not even the most skilled director can make a good film from a bad script.

Creating a script that speaks to genre and audience is the first step towards making a distributable film. Our development process involves engaging with the producers and writers from conception to a final script that is ready so that finance can be raised for production.

Once we commit to developing a script, our development executive will work with the writers to create well-rounded characters and a meaningful journey that audiences can engage with. This process covers the delivery of a treatment and character bible, up to three drafts and the final polish draft that is signed off by Indigenous Film Development.

We acknowledge that no process has a 100% success rate, but our intention is to be able to create, through script development, projects that we become equity partners in – through production and on to distribution.

Indigenous Film Development is seeking concepts that cover four main regions:

  • International: Films made locally that can attract international commercial sales;
  • World: Films that may not be commercial, but that will gain critical acclaim from leading local and international festival circuits;
  • Continental: Films that will have strong commercial appeal both locally and on the continent; and
  • Urban: Films that will have strong local commercial appeal.

Script writing is a carefully honed skill that requires intense workshopping and a strong understanding of the requirements of a good story, including character, journey, plot and resonance; it is only through full commitment to feedback and engagement that we stand the best chance of creating stories that have a chance of going into production.

So you want to make a film?

Several sources of film funding are available in South Africa for both early and advanced development

Each funder provides a specific set of guidelines. There are rules and conditions applicable in each funding category. Read these guidelines carefully before submitting an application as they will help you deliver the strongest application possible.

National Funders

Department of Trade & Industry (dti) 

The South African Government offers a package of incentives to promote its film production and post-production industry. The incentives consist of:

  • The Foreign Film and Television Production and Post-Production incentive to attract foreign-based film productions to shoot on location in South Africa and conduct post-production activities.
  • The South African Film and Television Production and Co-Production incentive, which aims to assist local film producers in the production of local content.
  • The South African Emerging Black Filmmakers incentive, a sub-programme of the South African Film and Television Production and Co-Production incentive, which aims to assist local emerging black filmmakers, and provide them with the skills and experience they need to take on big productions, and contribute towards employment creation.

Industrial Development Corporation (IDC)

The IDC’s Media and Motion Pictures business unit aims to grow the local film industry and help local filmmakers turn their creative visions into reality.

It offers funding for the production of motion pictures, including feature films, animation and television series. The IDC also helps boost audience development, supports local television broadcasting and funds post-production facilities.

National Film & Video Foundation (NFVF)

The National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF), an agency of the Department of Arts and Culture, provides funding for the development, production, marketing and distribution of films, and also the training and development of filmmakers. Film and video-related funding is offered in the broad categories of Education and Training; Development (feature films, documentaries and TV concepts); Production (feature films and documentaries); and Marketing and Distribution.

Provincial Funders

Gauteng Film Commission

The Gauteng Film Commission (GFC) develops, promotes and coordinates the film and television production industry in the province. The GFC’s Industry Support and Development unit helps develop film, television and interactive media projects through support programmes and focused investment facilitation. This includes assistance with funding, financing facilitation and negotiation of co-productions, as well as partnership projects with all major public and independent distributors, broadcasters and their content commissioners. Scriptwriters and filmmakers can submit scripts and projects to the GFC for further assistance.

KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission (KZNFC)

The KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission (KZNFC) created the KZN Film Fund to stimulate the growth of the film industry in the province. The fund targets KwaZulu-Natal based companies and companies producing films in KwaZulu-Natal, and provides film-related funding in four broad categories: Development Funding, Production Funding, Marketing and Distribution, and Markets and Festivals.