11188203_876211995751250_3959617520296309842_nThe Encounters South African International Documentary Festival, in collaboration with Bertha Foundation and The Guardian (UK), has announced a new opportunity for African documentary filmmakers – Brief Encounters: An Online Short Documentary Pitching Forum & Development Prize.

Filmmakers from across the continent are invited to pitch ideas for documentaries of between 5-20 minutes in length. 10 – 15 projects will be pre-selected and these filmmakers will pitch in one-on-one sessions with Charlie Phillips, The Guardian’s Head of Documentaries. The event will take place during the Encounters Documentary Festival on Saturday, June 4, 2016 in Cape Town.

Selected applicants who cannot attend will be able to participate via Skype.

The winning pitch will receive a Bertha-Encounters-Guardian Development Prize of US $2,000. The award is intended for research, development and initial production of the winning pitch.

The process will be mentored by Charlie Philips and Rebecca Lichtenfeld, Director of Social Impact Media at Bertha Foundation. The winner, however, is not guaranteed a commission from The Guardian.

Applicants should submit a one page proposal that includes a brief synopsis and treatment; Biographies of filmmakers should be no more than a paragraph; Links to previous works and promo of proposal, if available; a Skype address.

Only the first 100 submissions will be considered.

Send to: pa@encounters.co.za with Brief Encounters in the subject line.

Submission deadline: May 20, 2016 at 4pm SAST.

Brief Encounters is aimed at relevant, original, stand-alone films (ideally not shortened versions of feature length films) that will appeal to a wide audience. Projects can be on any subject and it is strongly advised that interested filmmakers watch as many of The Guardian docs as possible to get a sense of the kinds of subjects and style. Do so here.