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REEL LONDON Documentary Call


DFG FilmsA call for submissions from emerging documentary makers has gone out from DFG Films in partnership with Film London and ITV London. Reel London offers filmmakers an opportunity to produce diverse and distinctive films using the documentary medium in new and innovative ways, and have them broadcast on terrestrial television, mid week, in a pre-watershed slot.


Film LondonDFG are looking for strong story-lines and thought provoking ideas, with richness and diversity in content and portrayal, that would make an absorbing half-hour documentary film. The documentaries will be transmitted on ITV London in September 2006.


The films must be shot in London and there will be close guidance and support throughout the production process. A short intensive training programme will be attached to the scheme. It is obligatory that all selected filmmakers take part in this programme.

UK Film Council

Three films will be commissioned and the applications deadline is 5pm, Friday 17th March 2006


For application guidelines and to download an application form, go to and click on Reel London


These will be innovative films made with limited resources on a tight schedule. DFG expect that the directors who complete these films will progress to directing other films for UK broadcasters and for other platforms.

There are two distinct categories for the commissioning of films:

  • Category 1 – Documentary

  • Category 2 – Documentary (Artists working in Film and Video) ITV

When making your application, please select the appropriate category.

Category 2 is aimed at film and video artists, working in the context of contemporary moving image practice, who produce work with strong narrative elements which will appeal to a mainstream television audience.

DFG Films are looking to commission three films in total: two films in Category 1 and one film in Category 2.


There are no set themes for the commissions. DFG will be looking for authored work by emerging documentary directors.

DFG offer some pointers to help anyone putting together an application. This is not an exhaustive list, but it will give you an idea of the kind of things DFG may be looking for:...

  • Authored pieces about a subject which is close to the filmmaker and/or explored in a personal way;

  • A real or imaginary (emotional, psychological) journey;

  • Films about extraordinary or unique individuals; narratives that, by looking at the extraordinary, tell us more about the ordinary;

  • Films about people who find themselves in extraordinary circumstances;

  • Films that use alternative storytelling techniques.

DGG say they welcome the use of humour and irreverence in proposal films. They would also like to hear from individuals with ideas that challenge the boundaries of the documentary form.

DFG Films aims to produce programming of quality, style and good content, ready to engage a demanding, uncompromising and diverse audience.


A panel comprised of representatives from DFG Films, Film London and ITV London will make their decision on the basis of these criteria:

  • One-off documentary projects, i.e. no series

  • The filmmaker must be based in London and the film must be shot in London (but the subject matter does not need to be London per se).

  • Final duration 23 min.

  • Originality of the proposal

  • The ability of the applicant to deliver the proposal

  • The likelihood that the proposal can be realised within the schedule (around 5 days of shooting and 2 weeks of editing)

  • Suitability for ITV ‘pre-watershed’ evening transmission

  • The film cannot be dependent on excessive use of archive or lengthy and expensive shoots

  • Filmmaker must be able to make themselves available to work on the project from the first week of April up to completion on the second week of June 2006

  • Individual applications only, i.e. no production companies, no joint applications

  • Student projects will not be considered

  • All rights must be cleared for UK broadcast transmission.

The decision of the panel is final. DFG Films cannot enter into any communication regarding unsuccessful applications.




    Tailor-made training for your project

    A director’s fee of 3k

    DFG Films will be producing the films and will be responsible for providing crew, kit, training, DV stock, editing facilities, and support throughout the project.

    The opportunity to showcase your film on a primetime slot for ITV London.



    People with experience of the documentary medium will have an advantage, as the selected filmmakers will be expected to be ready to direct and possibly shoot the film on their own, although hands-on training and support will be available throughout. You will have to be 100% committed to the project and be flexible in your approach - if this is your first encounter with broadcast television you will find that some of the decisions affecting the film are influenced by the constraints of broadcast compliance.




  • Send the following:

  • Your CV

  • A short show-reel, clearly labelled, on DVD or VHS (PAL),

  • A 1 page proposal

  • A 1 page letter of intent – this will be on one side of A4, and will say why it is

    Important for you to make this film and why you should be selected.

    The completed application form from DFG.

    Send to:

    Reel London

Lucy Baxter