24 May – 14 June 2010

The 2nd annual Durban Short Film Challenge starts today (24 May 2010)! The challenge is an innovative filmmaking competition open to all South African filmmakers, organized by the Durban Youth In Film Society in association with the Durban International Film Festival.

The concept behind the challenge is that participating teams have three weeks to write, shoot and edit a short film or video based on a specified theme. The top 12 films will be selected by a panel of independent judges for screening during the 2010 Durban International Film Festival taking place from 22 July to 1 August, whilst the director and writer of the winning film will secure positions in the National Film and Video Foundation’s Sediba SPARK programme.

“During this official competition period, the idea is that all creativity will take place, including but not limited to, writing the script, rehearsing, costume and set design, filming, editing, rendering, sound designing.” explains Tiny Mungwe, co-ordinator of the challenge. “Teams are able to establish their organising creative team, cast, equipment and scouting and securing locations before this period, but can only begin once we have announced the theme.”

The themes for the 2010 challenge were announced today on the “Film Tower” Facebook group




The Durban Short Film Challenge runs from 24 May 2010 up until and including 14 June 2010 and all films entered have to be exactly 5 minutes in duration, excluding opening and end titles, and can be in any genre. The final films have to be submitted on or before 15 June 2010.

For those who havn’t yet checked out the rules on the Durban Film Office website, here they are :

The following rules apply to each participating group / production team :

1. Time Period : The Durban Short Film Challenge will run from Monday 24 May 2010 to midnight Monday 14 June 2010 inclusive.

2. Participating groups must complete their film work in time to submit by midnight on the closing date. On the final day of the challenge, participants need to upload their films to Vimeo and send the link of the completed film to

3. The Durban Film Challenge is open to filmmakers across South Africa. Submitting teams must send an email to to indicate their intention to submit.

4. During the official competition period, all creativity will take place, including but not limited to :

  • Writing the script
  • Rehearsing
  • Costume / Set Design
  • Shooting
  • Editing
  • Rendering
  • Sound Design

5. The only work to begin prior to the official competition period is :

  • Organizing Crew
  • Organizing Cast
  • Securing Equipment
  • Scouting / Securing Locations

6. All footage must be shot within the challenge’s time period. No stock footage or footage shot or created at another time may be used. Animation and special effects are permitted, but must be created during the challenge time period. Still photographs are permitted, provided that the team has the rights to them. The photos do not need to be created during the competition time period.

7. All cast and crew must be volunteers.

8. The finished film must be a exactly five (5) minutes in duration, with credits duration limited to 60 seconds for both the opening and end sequences.

9. Any type of video or film camera may be used, however, a maximum of two cameras may be used. Cellphone cameras and stills cameras may also be used.

10. The finished film must be submitted on a DVD on or before 15 June 2010 and formatted to play on a DVD player. Please note that other file formats (eg .avi, .mov etc) on DVD will not be accepted. For DVD submission details, please send an email to

11. Tape preparation : Finished film should have a minimum of 5 seconds of bars and tone and 5 seconds of black, then the following slate should have the “Team Name” and “Film Title” before the film begins.

12. Music : Participating groups must have the rights to any music used in its film. Groups are encouraged to work with local composers and / or musicians to write and record music for the films. It is permissible for a participating group to use pre-recorded music (e.g. royalty-free music, a friend’s band’s music) but the group must have a signed release.

13. Credits at the end of each film are limited to a maximum of 60 seconds. This is in excluding the 5 minute time limit. (For example, you may have a 5 minute film plus 1 minute of credits for a total running time of 6:00:00.) Films longer than 6:00:00 are not eligible.

14. Films must include the following credit : “This film is made as part of the Durban Short Film Challenge 2010 in association with the 31st Durban International Film Festival”.

15. A panel of independent judges will select twelve films which will be screened at a special event during the Durban International Film Festival (22 July – 1 August 2010).

Word on the ground is that the standard of this year’s Durban Short Film Challenge is set to be unprecedented. Good luck to all participants.