Five TV Newsbites Offered to New Filmmakers

DFG logoChannel 5 News logoChannel 5 and DFG are challenging emerging filmmakers to look for strong, contemporary and domestic story-lines, from both London and the regions, with emphasis on the cultural richness and diversity of Britain, for network broadcast as part of Channel 5 news. They offer support and facilities to new filmmakers to meet their brief.  

Called Five Bites, this is a new initiative, produced by DFG Films in partnership with Five News. Five Bites gives filmmakers the opportunity to produce five 3-minute topical news films, from a fresh perspective, using the documentary medium in innovative and inspiring ways, and have them broadcast on Five News in summer 2006. 

DFG say they are looking for strong, contemporary and domestic story-lines, from both London and the regions, with emphasis on the cultural richness and diversity of Britain. Some experience of shooting and/or directing documentary material is necessary, 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. All selected filmmakers will have to take part in this programme. In all 5 filmmakers will be commissioned and the deadline for applicationsis 11th April 2006.

It is expected that these will be innovative films made with limited resources on a tight schedule.  Directors who complete these films will be expected to progress to directing other films for UK broadcasters and for other platforms.


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

The company says the kind of things we may be looking for could include

  • Authored pieces about a subject which is 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 or stories from a fresh perspective
  • Films that cover previously unpublicised issues

DFG say the use of humour and irreverence in films will be welcome, within the parameters of a primetime pre-watershed slot. They aim to produce produce programming of quality, style and good content ready to engage a demanding, uncompromising and diverse audience.


Selection will be made by a panel comprising representatives from DFG Films and Channel Five. They will make their decision on these criteria:

  • One-off news documentary projects, i.e. no series
  • Familiarity with the production process
  • Final duration 3 min
  • Originality of the proposal
  • The ability of the applicant to deliver the proposal
  • The likelihood of realising the proposal in a schedule of 2-day 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
  • Filmmaker must be available to work from 1st week of of May up to end of June completion
  • Individual applications only - 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.


  • Support and training throughout the project, including mentoring from Five News
  • A director’s fee for the shoot period only
  • DFG Films will be producing the films
  • DFG provide crew, kit, training, DV stock, editing facilities
  • One-day online at the SKY offices with a news editor
  • Film showcase opportunity on a primetime slot for Five News
  • 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. Applicants need to be 100% committed to the project and flexible in your approach. Some decisions affecting the film will be influenced by the constraints of broadcast compliance.

Further information, including application downloads, from DFG website