The National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) has defended itself against a group of aggrieved film-makers who were rejected when they applied for the latest funding opportunity by the film-funding government institution.
This comes after the affected film-makers threatened to picket outside the NFVF offices to voice their dissatisfaction with the rejection letters.
One of them is Zama Qampi of Sollywood South Africa, a film company that runs the Soweto International Film Festival, film school and other initiatives.
Qampi said even though his application had merit, it was still declined without a proper explanation except for a generic letter of rejection that looks the same for other rejected applicants such as himself.
Qampi and others said they have not been given an opportunity to challenge the rejection.
However, last week, the foundation said it does give applicants a window of opportunity to appeal the decision should they feel aggrieved.
“The NFVF communicates to all applicants (successful and unsuccessful) regarding outcomes of their applications. They are all sent an email, guiding them of who to contact should they need further particulars or next steps.
“Tier 3 applicants (who are new entrants into the film industry) are automatically given summary notes on their applications in order to catapult improvement on the quality of their applications given that they are new entrants, while all other applicants (tiers 1 and 2) who are more experienced and familiar with industry requirements and processes can request feedback notes using the email address supplied on the rejection letter,” NFVF spokesperson Lerato Mokopanele said.
Mokopanele added that for tier 1 and 2 applicants, feedback notes are also available on request.
“When tier 1 and tier 2 applicants request feedback notes, they are responded to within two days on average or at most a week (subject to the volume of requests) as sometimes more than 80% of applicants could be rejected due to fund limitations versus number of applications,” she said.
She said due to the high number of applications with each funding period, sometimes it becomes difficult to communicate with each applicant, adding that those who want to appeal the decisions are always welcome to do so.
“Projects which are approved by the NFVF’s council have been placed through a rigorous process of evaluation for compliance by NFVF officials and quality by an independent panel of expert industry officials based whose scores and rationale per project are kept on record.
“This ensures that the outcome for all projects is as a result of a rigorous and thorough process that reflects integrity. Those who are still not happy with notes given are given further opportunity to appeal,” Mokopanele added.
However, a film-maker who did not want to be named said when they try to communicate with officials, they are disrespected and told that they are busy with personal matters.
In one of the conversations between the applicant and the official, which “The Star” has seen, the official tells the applicant that he is busy with the Saftas awards, while in another, an official says he is grieving.