Andreas Dalsgaard has directed documentaries for over a decade. Educated in anthropology at Aarhus University and Paris VII, and film directing at The Danish National Film School, his award-winning films have been shown at more than 200 festivals worldwide. Dalgsaard is also a co-founder of the production company Elk Film, and writes and directs fiction for both film and theater.
Obaidah Zytoon was born in Zabadani, Syria in 1976. She studied English literature at the University of Damascus before becoming a radio host and producer, working both in Syria and internationally. In 2008, Obaidah produced her first documentary film, Through Women’s Eyes. Following the 2011 Syrian uprising, Obaidah co-founded the Syrian artist-activist collective Waw Al-Wasel, which produces multi-media art and short films related to the Syrian conflict. She has also coached and trained young Syrians entering media and radio production. The War Show is Obaidah’s first film as a director.
See You in Chechnya
Alexander Kvatashidze was born in 1977 in Tbilisi, Georgia. In 1996 he graduated from Nikoladze Art College with a qualification as a sculptor. In 2001 he earned his BA degree in Art and Humanities at Tbilisi State University. In 2005-2006, Kvatashidze studied at the film department of California State University in San Jose. Since 2006 Alexander has worked as a director, DoP or producer on various projects, most of which were documentaries. He founded Lokokina Studio in 2009.
Filip Jacobson graduated from the Film Studies line at Lodz University in Poland, and the Gdynia Film School in Poland as a director. He currently studies at the Academy of Media Arts in Cologne, Germany. Along with taking part in a student exchange program at EICTV in Cuba, Jacobson has participated in several workshops: EsoDoc Workshops, Goshort Talent Campus, Polska Doc, and the Berlinale Talent Campus. He is involved in social documentary projects that search for new forms of expression in internet-based projects and through quasi-documentary forms. He has also organized film workshops for children and youth in Turkey, Romania and Poland. His first short film, Walk was awarded the Student Jury Prize at the Krakow Film Festival in 2012. In 2015, together with artist Angelika Herta, he created a web-documentary, www.Bobkowski-co-dalej.pl. The project was shot in France and was based on the journey of the Polish writer Andrzej Bobkowski. He recently finished shooting his feature-length debut, Foreigner, in Cuba.
No Country for the Poor
László Bihari has designed online campaign videos for non-profit organizations for the past nine years. He is one of the founders of the creative team, ZPOK. This is their first documentary film production.
Mr Gay Syria
Ayse Toprak is a filmmaker based in Istanbul. She received a BFA in Film & television from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, and an MA from the New School. She has worked for Channel Thirteen/PBS in New York, and produced for Al Jazeera in London, Doha and Istanbul. Toprak is focused on how documentaries, their subjects and colorful characters can have a far-reaching impact on society; films that manage to trigger a national dialogue on neglected issues, eradicate prejudice or breach hitherto taboo subjects are her favorite medium, as well as personal and professional ambition. She is fascinated by people pushed to the peripheries of society who have personal, vivid, and compelling stories. Her conviction in filmmaking comes from her wish to tell the stories of such people to share their different and unique ways of looking at the world.
The Long Distance
Daniel Andreas Sager was born in Berlin in 1985, and grew up in Moscow. He studied social anthropology and philosophy at Leipzig University, and directing at the Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg. Sager attended the film school UCINE, in Buenos Aires, for one year with a grant from the State of Baden-Württemberg. He also participated in the Script Masterclass, Docu-Village, at the Haifa Film Festival in Israel with a scholarship from the Filmakademie BW. His diploma film. The Long Distance, received the NOFEAR! Award in 2015. He is currently a master-class student pursuing his Ph.D. at the Filmuniversität Babelsberg Konrad Wolf, and participates in the Nipkow Program as a Nipkow grant-holder. He also works as a writer and editor for ze.tt (zeit online), and as a freelance writer, director, journalist and cinematographer, living in Berlin.
LEAVE/STAY: Sweet Home
Loránd Balázs Imre is a co-founder of SpeakEasy Project, and founder of SpeakEasy Project Berlin. He has worked on a number of documentary films since 2012, and is the director and producer of the Erasmus EuroMedia Awarded documentary series, LEAVE/STAY.
Bálint Tusor began his film career in 2003, and has since worked on numerous international productions as assistant editor. He completed his Masters in film and television at the National Film and Television School in 2012, and in the last five years has mainly worked as a documentary film editor. Verzio will screen his first documentary directorial debut, co-directed with Loránd Balazs Imre.
Last Men in Aleppo
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.