Leena Pasanen started her career as a journalist in 1988 at the Finnish News Agency, first as a reporter and later on as a political commentator from the Parliament house. In 1993 she joined YLE, Finnish Broadcasting Company, where she worked as a reporter, political commentator, subeditor and TV presenter for the current affairs magazine program on YLE TV1. After that she was the head of documentaries for YLE TV1 in 1999-2000. When YLE launched new digital channels, she was chosen as the Head of Programs responsible for cultural, factual and fiction programs in YLE Teema, a channel focusing on culture, science and education. She stayed with the channel until November 2005, when she started working as the Director of EDN, European Documentary Network in Copenhagen, Denmark. In 2008 she returned to YLE in Finland as Coordinator of Programs and at YLE Fact and Culture and later as Coordinator and Senior Advisor at YLE Media and Customer Relations. In 2011-2014 she worked in Budapest, Hungary leading the Finnish Institute and also serving as cultural attaché at the Finnish Embassy in Budapest. She is currently based in Leipzig, Germany and working as Managing and Artistic Director of DOK Leipzig, the international film festival for documentary and animated film. She has been a regular expert, tutor and lecturer at several training programmes, for example EDN, Discovery Campus, EURODOC and Television Business School. She was a EURODOC 1999 graduate and a member of the international advisory committee at Hot Docs. She has also been a board member of IDFA Forum, INPUT and the Bonnier’s Journalistic Award in Finland and served as a jury member at several international festivals, among others Sundance and IDFA.
Stefan Tolz is Based in Tbilisi and Cologne, he is a multi-award winning filmmaker and experienced producer with more than 30 documentaries he directed or produced in the past 25 years. He is managing director of Filmpunkt, one of the most successful production companies for art house documentaries in Germany. Latest productions include Thomas Riedelsheimer’s international box office hit “Leaning Into the Wind – Andy Goldworthy” or Heidi Specogna’s “Cahier Africain”. Among his works are three feature length documentaries about Georgia and the Caucasus. He is also supporting talents and media professionals from the region through his work as program director of the ADAMI Media Prize for Cultural Diversity in Eastern Europe. Stefan Tolz holds double citizenship – as a German and Georgian national.
Focus Caucasus Competition
Roman Bondarchuk graduated from the Kyiv State Institute of Theater and cinema (Yuriy Illienko’s class). His graduation film Taxi Driver won the White Elephant prize from the Russian Film Critic Guild and Grand Prix at the Kinoshok Open film festival. “Ukrainian Sheriffs” was his first feature-length documentary which won a Special Jury Award at IDFA 2015, Grand Prix of Docs Against Gravity, was screened at more than 50 international film festivals including Toronto Hot Doc and became the Ukrainian Entry for the Oscar in 2017. Volcano (2018) is his first fiction full length feature film. Roman Bondarchuk is artistic director of the International Human Rights Film Festival Docudays UA.
Andrea Kuhn is the director of the Nuremberg International Human Rights Film Festival. She has started her career as an academic and researcher in the Film Studies field. From 2000 to 2010 she was the director of the silent film festival StummFilmMusikTage Erlangen.
Kuhn served as the chair of the Human Rights Film Network on 2008 and 2009, an international association currently consisting of 42 human rights film festivals from around the world. She is an associate member of ANHAR: The Network for Arab Human Rights Films and serves on the board of Dox Box e.V., an association that emerged out of the DOX BOX International Film Festival in Syria and has transformed into a non-traditional support organization focusing on the strengthening and empowerment of documentary filmmakers in the Arab World while promoting the values and principles of justice, dignity, and human rights . She is currently the chair of the Association of Bavarian Film Festivals, a member of the European Film Academy and a founding member of the section “Festivalarbeit” at ver.di (Germany’s United Services Trade Union) which aims to improve working conditions for freelancers and employees at film festivals.
Andrea Kuhn is also on the board of Stiftung medico international, an aid and human rights organization which focuses on health as a human right and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1999 for their International Campaign to Ban Landmines.
Gediminas Andriukaitis holds a Master’s Degree in International Law from Vilnius University. He established the International human rights documentary film festival “Inconvenient Films” in 2007 and has been the director of the festival ever since. During twelve years of operation “Inconvenient Films” grew from a small-scale human rights awareness raising event to the biggest competitive documentary film festival in Lithuania.
In addition to running the documentary film festival, Gediminas Andriukaitis has been active in the field of human rights since 2002, when he started volunteering and working at one of the oldest human rights non-governmental organisations in Lithuania, the Lithuanian Centre for Human Rights. As a human rights activist he has contributed to a number of human rights projects and activities and has particularly focused on equality and non-discrimination issues.
Wieland Speck filmmaker, actor, programmer, was head curator of the Berlinale Panorama 1993-2017. He currently serves as Advisor to the Official Programme of the Berlin International Film Festival. Speck was born in Freiburg in 1951 and has lived in Berlin since 1972. He studied German Literature, Drama and Ethnology at the Freie Universität Berlin. Throughout the 70s he was working on video and film projects and was a writer and publisher. In his work he focuses on the men’s movement and homosexual identity. In addition he has worked as an actor for several acclaimed film directors, among them David Hemmings, Robert van Ackeren, Ulrike Ottinger, and Ian Pringle. In the late 70s he was managing director of the “Tali-Kino”, an independent arthouse cinema in Berlin Kreuzberg. As a director Wieland Speck started out with several video documentaries and art videos. From 1979 – 1981 he studied film at the San Francisco Art Institute. He is director, author and producer of several TV and film productions, amongst them “Westler – East of the Wall” (1985) and “Escape to Life” (2000). He has worked for several film institutions and events like the Filmhaus Berlin, the Filmbüro Baden-Württemberg, and the Berlin European Short Film Festival. He has also taught at universities and film institutes. From 1990 – 1998 he served as a member of the Landesfilmförderung Berlin, and on the board of the Hamburger Filmförderung (institutions for film subsidies).
Since 1982 Wieland Speck has been working for the Panorama section (then Info-Schau) of the Berlin International Film Festival. From 1982 – 1992 he was assistant to the head of the section, Manfred Salzgeber, being responsible for artistic and organizational matters as well as short film programming and special programmes. In 1987 he initiated the Berlinale’s (Gay&Lesbian – now:) Queer Film Prize, the TEDDY AWARD. In 1992 Wieland Speck was appointed director of the Panorama section. In 2017, he handed over the curation to his long standing team of three main collaborators. Wieland Speck has been curating numerous programs for German and international film festivals and continues his work also as a member of jurys at international film festivals.
Focus Caucasus Competition
Haruka HAMA is a coordinator of the Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival (YIDFF) since 2001 and the director of Tokyo Office since 2015, and also works for Cinematrix, a film distribution company based in Tokyo. Hama coordinated programs at YIDFF like “Okinawa: Nexus of Borders: Ryukyu Reflections,” “Islands / I Lands—Cinemas in Exile,” “Vista de Cuba” and more. She co- founded with the art curatorial unit cimarcus. She also curated the film program for the Aichi Triennale 2016, in which Takamine Go’s feature-length film “Hengyoro (Queer Fish Lane),” the film that Hama produced, premiered.
Focus Caucasus Competition
Julie Nederkoorn (1984) started working for the Movies that Matter Foundation in The Netherlands three years ago. She programmes and coordinates the Activist programme, which is one of the main competition programmes at the Movies that Matter Festival held annually in the Hague. It’s organised in cooperation with Amnesty International and presents documentaries about human rights defenders who are invited to the festival. Besides this, she also works for the International Support programme at Movies that Matter, which promotes and supports screenings of human rights film worldwide. We offer grants, advice and training to human rights film festival organisers. Julie runs the secretariat of the Human Rights Film Network, a partnership of more than 40 human rights film festivals worldwide. Furthermore in 2015 she joined the voluntary neighbourhood committee of Amsterdam East who every month financially support small-scale community projects in the area. She obtained a BSc in Cultural Anthropology and Development studies at Radboud University Nijmegen and a MA degree in Conflict Studies & Human Rights at Utrecht University.
Rehad Desai is a Producer/Director who runs his own company Uhuru Productions. Following his return from political exile in the UK Rehad worked as a trade union organiser, a health and safety/media officer for a chemical workers union and a Director of a HIV prevention NGO. In 1997 he completed his Masters Degree in Social History at the University of the Witwatersrand. Rehad then entered the TV and film industry as a current affairs journalist, and soon after moved on to focus his energy on historical and socio -political documentary film.
In 2009 he completed a post graduate diploma in documentary through Eurodoc. He has produced over 20 documentaries, many directed by himself that have been broadcast internationally, accepted into numerous festivals and been received with critical acclaim. Miners Shot Down has won local and international critical acclaim garnering over 25 prizes including the Taco Keiper award for investigative journalism and an International Emmy for best documentary. He is also a well known social justice activist that chairs the Human Rights Media Trust and the South African Screen Federation.