Published On: Tue, Sep 10th, 2013

Funding for Documentary Film on Maasai, Tanzania

Deadline: 30 September 2013

Open to:  filmmaking teams with fluency in English and Swahili and filming in extreme  environments or in similar countries to  Tanzania

Remuneration: up to €22,000 to complete the  documentary


Minority Rights Group International (MRG) invites independent  documentary filmmakers to tender for a documentary film on the adverse effects  of international tourism on a Maasai community in Tanzania.

To a brief decided in collaboration with MRG, you will co-produce,  direct, shoot and edit a festival and mainstream broadcast quality documentary  of about 30 minutes in length. They are looking for a filmmaker to  bring their unique combination of journalistic news-gathering and cinematic eye  to cover an issue which is currently under-reported.

Approximately €22,000 is available for the film.

The documentary will differ from the usual not-for-profit-commissioned film,  in that it is not to be made about MRG’s work per se (i.e. you are not filming  one of our projects to market MRG directly), but instead about the issues faced  by people they support through their work. MRG is looking to produce a  hard-hitting documentary that says something new about the issue, where your own creative input will be highly important.

The main purpose of the film is to counteract the idea that  pastoralism, international tourism and wildlife conservation cannot co-exist,  and show that pastoralists such as Maasai have successfully lived with wildlife  in a mutually beneficial relationship for generations.

The film must also highlight the efforts the Maasai community, and those who  support them, are making to fight the injustices brought upon them, or perhaps  show examples of more positive resolutions of similar disputes between  indigenous communities and tourism companies.

The filmmaker should choose a central character or family group from the  community, who will help the audience to understand this complex scenario. MRG  has a strong commitment to expose how minority and indigenous women often face multiple discrimination, and would appreciate this issues being  addressed in the film.

Given the inter-community divisions referred to earlier in the brief, and how  these have been exploited by Thomson Safaris, the filmmaker must seek to ensure  that the voices of individuals from different clans are heard.

The filmmaker will work closely with MRG’s partners in Tanzania, the Pastoral  Women’s Council, and Maasai community leaders from the villages in question.


Owing to the nature of the subject, and context within which the filmmakers  will be working (remote communities accessible only off-road, harsh climate,  potential security concerns for those appearing in the film and filmmakers), MRG will apply the  following criteria when short listing submissions:


  • At least one member of the team must have fluent English
  • At least one member of the team must have fluent Swahili
  • Experience of film making in Tanzania or a similar country in the region,  including being aware of local and national bureaucratic hurdles to film-making  and fact-finding missions
  • Experience of film making in extreme environments
  • Experience of working with grass roots and non-governmental  organisations
  • High sensitivity to security concerns of both film crew and those appearing  in the film


  • In depth knowledge of Tanzania and Maasai
  • Experience working with minority and/or indigenous communities
  • At least one member of the crew to be female, in order to facilitate  sensitive relations and communication with women in the Maasai community


The deadline for applications is 30 September 2013. Please send  the organizers:

  1. An outline of your approach to the story, which should be around 500 – 800 words and  include: any background you think might inform the story (three key points of  what makes this newsworthy), and how the story might be filmed and framed in  terms of narrative, style and approach.
  2. Your Filmmaker’s CV.
  3. A proposed budget for the project to include  pre-production, production and post-production, which includes all costs  (travel, per diem, translation, subtitling etc). Also a schedule covering days  needed to film, as well as an editing schedule.
  4. Three copies of a showreel on DVD and/or links to your film  work online, to be sent to: Emma Eastwood, Director of Policy and  Communications, Minority Rights Group International, 54 Commercial Street,  London, E1 6LT or by email to

The approximate date for completion of the film is March 2014. This film  is being produced as part of MRG’s Minority Realities Programme, which is funded by the  European Union. Watch a previous documentary film produced by MRG HERE.

For more information please contact Emma Eastwood, MRG’s Media  Officer, at Further background information  and links are available on the official website HERE.


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