Coming to Theatres Soon!
After fifteen incredible years the DFG is coming to an end. Don't despair though!
We're merging with the European Documentary Network (EDN)
DFG started in 2001 as a small collective of documentary filmmakers in London who wanted to share ideas, watch documentaries together, and feel a sense of community in the (then) quite isolated world of independent documentary film. Back then there were very few documentaries in the cinema, no training opportunities outside film school, no online community and very little access to the “industry” - both in theUK and elsewhere - for most independent filmmakers.
We changed that. We started regular events - at first above a pub (the Crown and Two Chairman in Soho),then to Golden Square, then to London Film School and finally to The Other Cinema. These events became almost weekly, attended by audiences in their hundreds! And as their numbers grew, so did the remit of DFG. By 2005, we were the largest factual training provider in the UK, running one day, two day,one week courses, and long overseas residential courses in Poland (anyone remember the Film Farm?), Morocco, Senegal, India and elsewhere. DFG had its own production arm - DFG Films - purely aimed at helping new and emerging filmmakers - and we set up production schemes such as Five Bites (for ChannelFive), Reel London (for ITV) and a whole host of other initiatives helping filmmakers both in the UK and around the world make award-winning broadcast content and get that all important first foot on the ladder.At Sheffield DocFest we ran Newcomers Day for years, which eventually morphed into 'DFG Day' offering pitching and networking opportunities, workshops and masterclasses.
Our membership continued to grow - from a few hundred to the four and a half thousand that exist today.And DFG’s role still evolved. We introduced Skills Masterclasses in London and elsewhere; we hosted the(now infamous thanks to Lisa Salem and Kerry McLeod) 10x10 evening, created the MiniMeetMarket withDocFest, and became more and more involved in working with overseas members - organising pitching workshops and training initiatives in India, South Africa, Kenya, Egypt, Jordan, UAE, Latin-America,Georgia, Turkey…. and the list goes on…
We lobbied for independent documentary filmmakers - we did research on barriers to entry, commissioning experiences, rights and legal issues, and often had direct dialogues with broadcasters, unions and other organisations to share the experiences of our members. We created free resources for all members - legal documents, forms, budgets and databases of funding and commissioning editors.
We did a lot! And now look how much the landscape has changed. We are in a digital age where the opportunities for factual content are incredible. Documentaries are everywhere, including a now dedicated space in DocHouse in London (who were DFG’s first ever partners in training thanks to Liz Wood’s amazing support). Training opportunities have grown incredibly with short courses and post-graduate courses - and the barriers to entry are fundamentally different from ten years ago. It’s an exciting time, but also a challenging one too. With an ever-expanding international membership, we want to be able to meet everyone’s needs. And when we look to the future, we know that by joining forces with an organisation that has its finger on the pulse of documentary, with a reach throughout Europe and beyond, and with a strong agenda to campaign for, advocate and lobby for documentary filmmakers and the genre of documentary film, we know we can do so much more with EDN than we can do alone. We’re excited about what the next 15 years hold!
So, it’s a farewell from DFG as you know it - and a welcome to the European Documentary Network. We’re still going to be here in London to work with you, give you advice, and serve the documentary community. Our burnt orange logo will go and a nice new blue one will emerge in it's place!
At such a punctuation point its worth extending gratitude and the most sincerest of thanks to a (nonexhaustive) list of amazing people who created what we became - THANK YOU - you should know who you are, and how you helped.
So what happens now? All members will be contacted by EDN in the coming weeks explaining the process of joining and giving you more information about what you need to do.
With many thanks for all your continuing support,
Founder and CEO, DFG