NHU Africa submission call


The Natural History Unit of Africa (NHU Africa) is currently making an urgent call for submissions. All production companies and filmmakers are asked to submit proposals for the 2013 funding year.

All proposals that meet NHU Africa criteria will be reviewed. The deadline for proposals is the 15 October 2012.

The NHU Africa is a commissioning body and production house that produces some of Africa’s finest natural history and wildlife programming. We are urging South Africa’s most talented producers to propose films and series dealing with one or more of the various focus points within the natural history genre. These focus points include the following: Human-Animal Interaction, Adventure/Exploration, Blue Chip/The Natural World and Investigation and Revelation.

Commissioning Editor of NHU Africa, Vyv Simson outlines what is most likely to make a strong/successful pitch “A successful pitch will contain some or all of the following: a strong story intriguingly told; engaging human and animal characters; a dramatic visual style; a sense of something we have not seen before; a fresh insight or approach to something we thought we’d seen before.’

Commissioning Brief

NHU Africa is looking for strong, African based stories that speak to the connections between people, animals and the natural world. Stories should have a focus on Africa with powerful, entertaining, unusual and dramatic stories that provide an insight into the natural world and our place within it. Furthermore we are looking for films which will appeal to International audiences rather than simply the South African domestic audience. In particular we are looking to engage audiences in the US, UK, Europe and Asia. We will commission both one off specials at 1 x 60 mins and multi-part series with episode lengths of either 30mins or 60 mins. We are particularly interested in the following areas:

Human/Animal interaction:

This ranges from unique single stories like Into The Dragon’s Lair – an intense and frightening personal quest to dive with Nile Crocodiles in the Okavango – to Cheetah Diaries – a light observational documentary series following the ongoing the work of the dedicated staff at The Cheetah Outreach. All films in this area need strong characters, developing story lines and an ability to tell us something new about the needs, desires and connections that drive human relationships with wild animals.


Proposals in this area can be unique stories like Ice Man – the story of Lewis Pugh’s one man mission to highlight climate change by swimming in Antarctica – or more entertainment led series based ideas. All submissions whether for series or single films need to be built around strong characters and have a strong sense of a quest.

The Natural World/Blue Chip Natural History:

This ranges from 3 part series like Chameleons of the World- concentrating on one unusual species – to single more personal films like A Kalahari Tale- focusing on one particular individual animal. Proposals in this area must tell strong, unusual and dramatic stories, have their focus on the wild animals and offer high visual values.


Proposals in this area will tend to be more investigative in approach. They can range from stories like The Search for The Knysna Elephants – one man’s attempts to challenge the official view that only one elephant remained in the Knysna Forest – to Free Passage to Angola – testing the notion that elephants are able to detect landmines. Proposals in this area should focus on unusual, difficult or controversial subjects and deliver genuine revelation.

Every submission must include:

• 1 page synopsis.
• Treatment (2-4 pages).
• Fully itemised budget in ZAR and US Dollars.
• Key Creatives biographies.
• Screener or showreel, if any.
• List of co-production, distribution or finance partners, if any already attached.

Please submit your idea for commission or co-production to geta@nhuafrica.com


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