This page is over 10 years old. Some things have changed since then.

DFG and Channel Five Films call for entries

DFG FilmsThere is a month left to get applications in to the FiveNews / Documentary Film Group Five Films competition. The new talent initative, now in its second run, sets out to produce five three-minute topical documentaries using the medium in 'an innovative way'. The application deadline is October 26th, with shortlisted applicants invited to pitch to a panel at the Sheffield DocFest on November 2nd. The films will be broadcast after Five News in December 2006


DFG are looking for:
  • strong, contemporary domestic story-lines, from all over the UK, with emphasis on the cultural richness and diversity of Britain;
  • filmmakers from a range of ethnic backgrounds who have their own take on life in the UK.
Experience of shooting and/or directing documentary material is necessary, for example to AP level or beyond; however DFG will provide camera and sound crew, and close support throughout the project.

There will be a short intensive training and research programme attached to the scheme. It is obligatory that all selected filmmakers take part in this programme.

5 films will be commissioned. Applications deadline: 5pm, Thursday 26th October 2006

PROJECT OUTLINE (from scheme page)

We are looking for directors to make well-structured and crafted 3 minute films with an emphasis on current affairs and creative storytelling; however they don’t have to be hard news and can be quirky and individual in style and content.  These will be innovative films made with limited resources on a tight schedule; a basic level of research and access is essential.  We expect that the directors who complete these films will progress to directing other films for UK broadcasters and for other platforms.


The ideas must be topical and domestic but does not have to be immediate news. There are no set themes for the commissions. We will be looking for authored work by emerging documentary directors who are interested in news.

Below are some pointers to help you put together your application.  This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it will give you an idea of the kind of things we may be looking for:
  • Authored pieces about a subject close to the filmmaker but which impacts on Britain as a nation, or a particular community
  • Films about extraordinary or unique individuals or circumstances; narratives that, by looking at the extraordinary, tell us more about the ordinary;
  • Films about people who find themselves in extraordinary circumstances;
  • Films that look at national trends, institutions or stories from a fresh perspective 
  • Films that cover previously unpublicised issues
We welcome the use of humour and irreverence in your film, within the parameters of a primetime pre-watershed slot.

Support and training throughout your project, including mentoring from Five News
A director’s fee, for the shoot period only
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.
You will be given a one day online at the SKY offices with a news editor
The opportunity to showcase your film on a primetime slot for Five News, and gain valuable experience of the news production process


People with experience of the documentary medium will have an advantage, as the selected filmmakers will be expected to be ready to direct, although hands-on 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.


A panel comprised of representatives from DFG Films and Five News will make their decision on the basis of the following criteria:
  • One-off news documentary projects, i.e. no series
  • Experience of the production process
  • Final duration 3 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 (1 to 2 days of shooting, 2 days editing)
  • Suitability for Five News transmission
  • The film cannot be dependent on excessive use of archive or lengthy and expensive shoots
  • Films should be researched to at least a basic level before application, including access to main subjects/characters
  • Filmmaker must be able to make themselves available to work on the project from the second week of November up to completion on first week of January 2007, and MUST be available to attend the pitching session at Sheffield Documentary Festival on Thursday 2nd November
  • 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.


Send 2 copies of the following:
  • Your CV
  • 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 attached to this pack.
Short-listed applicants will be asked to provide show-reels, please do not send a show-reel unless contacted by DFG Films

Send to:

Five Films
Lucy Baxter
DFG Films
225A Brecknock Road,
London N19 5AA

If you have any queries, please contact DFG on 020 7428 0882 or lucy[at]dfgdocs[dot]com

The Proposal:
On one side of A4 with the following information:
  • Proposed title
  • Story and contents of the film: what, who, where, when
  • Structure and form: how will you tell the story
  • Visual and aural style
  • Any other relevant information about the context of the story   
Applications by email will not be accepted, please send only hard copies.

Applications deadline: 5pm, 26th October 2006

Pitching for short-listed applicants: 2nd November 2006

Training / Production starts: 2nd Week November 2006

Shooting: 20th November to 1st December 2006

Postproduction: 4th December to 15th December  2006
Delivery: 15th December 2006


Provide TWO copies of your application. Copies will go to representatives from DFG Films and Five News for decision-making.  

Mark everything you send with your name and the title of your proposal.

Please complete the application form in type or hand write in block capitals on one side of the paper.

Tapes and other material will only be returned if a stamped SAE is included.

do not send originals - DFG takes care to safeguard materials submitted but will not be held responsible for any loss or damage.

Unsuccessful applicants will be notified by email. The Panel’s decisions are final.

Any queries not covered in this information pack, please contact Lucy Baxter on 020 7428 0882 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.