Firas Fayyad is an award-winning Syrian filmmaker. He has directed, edited and produced several films, both documentary and fiction. He has participated in international film festivals and received recognition for his work about contemporary Syrian issues and the political transformation in the Arab world. His latest film, Last Men in Aleppo, won the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize for Documentary at the 2017 Sundance FilmFestival; the prize for Most Innovative Documentary at the second annual Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards; the IDA Courage Under Fire Award and received two nominations from Cinema Eye Honors.
The Good Life
Award-winning documentary filmmaker, Jens Schanze, was born in Bonn in 1971. In 1987, he spent a year living in the United States. In 1990, he embarked on a Forestry degree at Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich and, in 1992, began working in television as an assistant director. In 1994, Schanze spent a year in Bolivia working on a project for Conservation International before he began his studies at the University of Television and Film in Munich in 1995. Through Mascha Film, the production company which he co-founded with Judith Malek-Mahdavi in 2002, he has directed numerous prizewinning documentaries including Winterkinder (2005) and Plug & Pray (2010). In 2014, he became a professor of film and video design.
Anne Scheschonk, born in 1977, studied Media Sciences and Cultural Anthropology with a focus on Visual Anthropology. She worked as an editorial assistant and set manager for television productions before finishing the Professional Media Master Class (PMMC) for documentary film in Halle, Germany, in 2011. Today, she works as a freelance author and filmmaker. Her documentary works portray those perceived as “other“, who are often socially stigmatized: the intellectually disabled mother, the transgender kid… Scheschonk believes that sensitive portraits of such individuals raise questions about identity and point to the relevant issues of our times: inclusion, equal rights, and transphobia. She lives with her son in Halle, Germany.
Fiasco – Fragments based on the novel by Imre Kertész
Katja Pratschke’s artistic projects include Natural Born Digital (1998), Transposed Bodies (2001/03), Rien ne vas plus (2005), Fiasco (2010), Hidden Cities (2012), Potential Space (2014), Rope (2016) and Territories & Occupation (work in progress). Since 2006, she has organized photofilm projects together with Thomas Tode and Gusztáv Hámos, with whom she has collaborated since 1998. She is co-editor of the publication Viva Photofilm – Moving / Non-moving, and is co-founder of the Concrete Narrative Society association (Berlin). www.potentialspace.de
Gusztáv Hámos is an artist, curator, author and publisher. His artistic work includes film, video, photography and installations that have been exhibited at Documenta, Venice Biennale, and the Ludwig Múzeum Budapest. His films and videos have been shown, among others, at Tate Modern London, ZKM Karlsruhe, Triennale of Photography Hamburg, 63 Mostra Internazionale d’arte cinematografica di Venezia, and YBCA San Francisco. His work is included in the collections of the MOMA New York, Centre Pompidou Paris, NBK Berlin, ZKM Karlsruhe, Art Collection NRW, Ludwig Múzeum Budapest, C3 Budapest, and Saint Gervai SIV Genève.
Days of Youth
Yulia Lokshina was born in Moscow in 1986, and moved to Germany in her early teens. Along with culture and language studies, Lokshina has worked on various theatre and film projects, and curated a short film festival “CrankCookie”. In 2011 she shot her first documentary, At Home, on post-soviet immigrants in Israel. She began her studies of documentary directing at the University for Television and Film in Munich in 2011, and was awarded a media program scholarship by the Heinrich Boell Foundation.
Comparing Now and Then
Taste the Waste
Valentin Thurn was born in 1963 in Stuttgart, Germany. He is married and has three children. Thurn has directed and authored television documentaries for the national German channels ARD and ZDF, the French-German channel Arte, the international channels Deutsche Welle TV and Transtel, the regional channels SWR, WDR, NDR, BR, ORB and HR, and the Swiss Television, DRS. In 2003 he founded the film production company, THURN FILM, in Cologne, Germany. Thurn has written radio features and articles for magazines such as Die Woche, Die Zeit, Natur & Kosmos, and Merian. He has also published the books WüstenErde on desertification, Klassenfeind Natur on environment in Eastern Europe, and the Directory of Environmental NGOs in Central and Eastern Europe. He has taught at international congresses and workshops including: the Goethe Institute in Bombay, India; Foundation Miguel Alemán in Mexico City; Ecotourism congresses in Johannesburg, South Africa; Guayaquil, Ecuador; RTL Journalistenschule in Germany; Ecopresscenter in Macedonia; Third World Journalists Network in Germany; The Ethics in Economy Network of Germany; Fachhochschule Köln (University Cologne, Germany); and the 2008 International Congress of Investigative Journalists in Lillehammer, Norway. Thurn has served as a member of the founding board of the International Federation of Environmental Journalists (IFEJ), and Secretary General from 1993 until 2001. He is also a member of Reporters Without Borders, Netzwerk Recherche (investigative reporter’s network), and AGDOK (the German association of documentary filmmakers).
Jo Müller was born and raised in Essen, and graduated from Gymnasium Essen-Werden in 2011. His first experiences in visual media were gathered through his internships with a photography studio and television production company. In 2012 he did a voluntary year of social work, living and working in the Dominican Republic, and upon his return to Germany, took up studies in cinematography at ifs international filmschule köln. Müller graduated with a Bachelor of Arts specialized in Visual Arts. His first short films, Sockenwäsche (2014, 5’) and Update Required (2016, 3’), animated films, allowed him to try out the roles of writer and director. His first feature-length film, Aislado (82’), completed in 2016, is a documentary film he spent three months filming in the Dominican Republic. He has worked at bildundtonfabrik (btf) in Cologne since September 2016.
Zoltan M. Geller was born 1991 in Sombor (Serbia), but was raised in the beautiful provinces of Southern Germany. After his high school graduation he voluntarily served in the civilian service for six months at a school for disabled children. After an internship as an assistant cameraman at a Munich-based production company he started an internship in the editing department, where he discovered his dedication to film editing. In 2012 he attended the study program, “Editing Picture And Sound“, at ifs international film school in Cologne, and graduated with a BA in 2016. Since 2016, he has worked as a freelance film editor and member of the German film editors association BFS.