Isabel Arrate Fernandez, IDFA Bertha Fund / the Netherlands

Isabel Arrate Fernandez finished her MA in Film Studies from the University of Amsterdam in 1996, and worked in festival production, programming and film financing. Since 2002 she is head of the IDFA Bertha Fund, and responsible for general policy and activities. She is a member of the selection committee, oversees the mentoring of supported projects, and regularly participates as a consultant in workshops and pitching forums. The IDFA Bertha Fund has developed into an internationally-renowned institution with a broad network supporting over 600 documentaries projects and film organisations in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, the Middle-East and Latin America. The fund has facilitated notable successes with supported films such as Academy Award nominee for Best Documentary: Of Fathers and Sons (Talal Derki, 2017), Kabul, City in the Wind (Aboozar Amini, 2018) opening film IDFA 2018, Talking about Trees (Suhaib Gasmalbari, 2019) winner Best Documentary Glashutte Award 2019 at Berlinale.

Christa Auderlitzky, filmdelights / Austria

Film professional in distribution and programming, Austria. 1993-2001. director Filmhaus Stöbergasse, Vienna. Academic studies: Theatre-, Film- & Media Science, University of Vienna. 1996-2001, acquisition & marketing for Polyfilm distribution. 2003-2008, artistic director of Austrian Filmgallery (art-house cinema, exhibition hall dedicated to film, film digitalization). 2004-2014, lector at the Institute for Theatre-, Film- & Media Science, University of Vienna. Since 2010, owner and founder of Filmdelights, an innovative sales and distribution company for classical (theatrical, TV, Pay TV, DVD) and digital film distribution. With passion for differently and well-told stories, sensibility and humour, we believe in films that increase awareness in various ways. Customized cross-marketing and distribution strategies support our goal to exploit the optimal commercial potential of each individual film. We also offer our know-how for filmmakers and producers to advise them in finding their audience.

Margit Balogh, EOdocs / The Netherlands

Margit Balogh (1966) is editor-in-chief at EO. Prior to starting her job at EO in September, 2019, she made documentaries for Dutch National Television for over 25 years. Her documentaries focus on topics related to human rights and ethical dilemmas. She dives deep into the topics, which results in, for instance, a series on human trafficking and forced prostitution in the Netherlands, as well as providing an inside view on Dutch youth care and crime. Balogh has always focused on creating a sustainable impact and has set up several projects in regards to this focus. EOdocs (formerly known as IKONdocs) looks for creative documentaries in 4 main subject areas: faith & philosophy, human rights near and far, hope & forgiveness and earth & environment. EO-Docs is committed to social impact and high artistic quality while trying to reach a broad audience.

Agnė Biliūnaitė, Lithuanian National Radio and TV (LRT)/ Lithuania

Agnė Biliūnaitė became Culture Editor in Chief at Lithuanian National Radio and Television (LRT) in June 2019. In 2015-2019 she was appointed as a Lithuanian Culture Attaché to China and South Korea. Before that she worked as Head of Creative Practitioners at the national Creative Partnerships project, Assistant Producer at the Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre, and contemporary dance expert and critic. She has a MA in Culture Management and Culture Politics. Lithuanian National Radio and Television (LRT) is a non-profit public broadcaster that has been providing regular radio services since 1926 and television broadcasts since 1957. The aim is to serve public interest, to create and broadcast educational, cultural and entertainment programs. LRT operates three national television, three radio channels and an internet portal. It also provides satellite and live internet broadcasts, radio and television podcasts. In 1993, LRT joined the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). LRT provides assistance to foreign broadcasting companies covering events in Lithuania.

Ulrich Brochhagen, MDR / Germany

Dr. Ulrich Brochhagen, born in 1961, studied history and political science in Cologne and Munich. Graduated as a Dr. Phil. in 1993. After freelance work for different newspapers and for the BBC, London, he became an editor at the MDR. Ulrich Brochhagen leads the department of history and documentaries at the MDR. He is Chairman of the working committee for history of ARD and the Arte representative for the MDR. Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk (Central German Broadcasting, MDR) is the public broadcaster for the federal states of Thuringia, Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt. Established in January 1991, its headquarters are in Leipzig and Halle, with regional studios in Dresden, Erfurt and Magdeburg. MDR is a member of the ARD consortium of public broadcasters in Germany. MDR broadcasts its own television and a number of radio channels to the three states it serves, and also contributes programming to the first German TV channel (Das Erste) and to ARTE.

Neraida Cukali, Albanian Public TV / Albania

Since its launch in December 2016, Neraida Cukali is editor-in-chief of RTSH MOVIE & DOCU TV channel. She has been working in media for many years as an editor, journalist and producer in private radio and TV channels in Tirana, before starting at RTSH. Albanian Public Television, RTSH, is the only public broadcaster in Albania, founded in 1960 in Tirana, and was for a long time the only broadcaster in the Albanian territory. In the past 3 years it has enlarged its platform adding 12 free new digital TV channels and 5 radio stations, aiming to offer the public a large variety of programs. One of the recently-opened channels is RTSH MOVIE & DOCU TV channel, a 24/7 digital channel that broadcasts a large selection of foreign documentaries and movies in Albania. For the moment, the channel broadcasts all genres of documentaries, docu-series and movies, and has fast-growing audience interest.

Aleksandra Derewienko, CATS & DOCS / France

Aleksandra is Sales Manager in the Sales and Acquisitions department of CAT&Docs, a Paris-based sales agent company specializing in promoting and distributing internationally documentaries from all over the world. CAT&Docs is run by Catherine Le Clef. CAT&Docs is looking for original documentaries, always associated with a high standard of content and form. Pertinent and impertinent films on topical questions and timeless subjects; documentaries that are carefully researched; documentaries that rigorously explore the subject matter, that are audacious, open to the diversity of the world and have their place within the international scene; documentaries that question the world and propose new ways of looking at it. Documentaries that keep us from closing our eyes. Rigor, respect, curiosity, diversity and innovation: the editorial choices of CAT&Docs must meet the demands of international markets. CAT&Docs latest acquisitions include: Buddha in Africa, Confucian Dream, Duck Academy, Once Aurora, Our Time Machine, The Last Male on Earth, The Magic Life of V, Transnistra, Winter’s Yearning, to mention a few.

Tijana Djukic, Taskovski Films / UK

Tijana holds a degree in Art History, and has 15 years of experience in the cultural & cinema sector in political and operational functions. Since the beginning of 2015, Tijana has worked at Taskovski Films as head of sales and acquisitions as well as creative producer on selected film projects. Taskovski Films welcome innovative, playful and risky forms of filmmaking capable of engaging and surprising audiences around the globe. We have a passion for discovering new talent and author-driven stories in the fields of arts and culture, history, society, the environment and politics, while still maintaining a high criteria when it comes to production value, content and form. Taskovski Films works with some of the finest creators today, including European Academy Awarded directors Audrius Stonys and Helena Trestikova, Oscar winner Tilda Swinton, Oscar nominee Kristi Zea, as well as Cannes winner Radu Jude.

Karlo Funk, Estonian Public Broadcasting (ERR) / Estonia

Karlo Funk is a film journalist and professional currently acquiring documentaries for Estonian Public Broadcasting (ERR). He has worked as head of development and production at Estonian Film Foundation, headed the Estonian Institute, and managed acquisitions at the telecom company Telia. Among other projects, he is running Estonian Film Days in Madrid and co-managing the European genre film development initiative European Genre Forum. ERR operates 3 TV channels in two languages and 5 radio stations. The documentary films are broadcast mainly on the second channel ETV2, with slots for creative documentaries, arts, history and popular science. Documentaries on current affairs and nature are programmed on the main ETV channel. While the focus of ERR is not on commissioning and co-production, we are seeking to support documentary filmmaking within the limits of the available resources.

Aleksandar Govedarica, Syndicado / Canada

Aleksandar Govedarica was born 1987 in Sarajevo, graduate of University of East Sarajevo as well as Vancouver Film School. He started working as a film programmer at Kriterion Sarajevo, the only art-house cinema in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Aleksandar was part of the organizing committee of the Serbian Film Festival in Vancouver. With three years of previous experience in sales and distribution, Aleksandar runs the Toronto-based world sales and production company Syndicado. He produced two documentary films and has experience in all aspects of filmmaking including directing. Aleksandar is tutoring at workshops such as Dok Incubator, East Doc Platform and Duna Dock.

Gitte Hansen, First Hand Films / Switzerland

Gitte works on daily basis with project development, executive producing, financing & marketing strategy, and sales & acquisition of non-fiction films/series. Recent titles she executive-produced for FHF include Humanity on Trial (by Jonas Bruun, Hansen & Pedersen with DR, SVT, YLE, RUV, IKON), A Thousand Girls Like Me (by Sahra Mani, Marmita & Les Fils du Tambour de Soie with Sundance, Bertha, Chicket &Egg, RTS, UR, RTBF, GNT, WMM, Al Jazeera, ORT, Mubi, EBS). Gitte is head of acquisitions at FHF. Previously she worked on the international distribution of feature films, production at DR, and film promotion at FkN. She serves as lecturer/moderator at events such as Nordic Forum, DOK.incubator, EDN workshops, Crossing Borders, Pitching du Réel and Greenhouse. Gitte has served on juries at international film festivals and holds a MA in Film & Rhetoric from the University of Copenhagen.

Liene Kalnaella, Latvian Television (LTV) / Latvia

Liene Kalnaella is acquisition manager at Latvian Public Television (LTV). She selects films for the main documentary slots of LTV1 and LTV7, on the topics of current affairs, lifestyle, science, natural history, travel and adventure, as well as creative documentaries. She also selects fiction films. Kalnaella is a member of the jury of the documentary film project Latvian Code, a series of documentaries selected through a project competition organized by LTV. She has directed several documentaries, including Tev, Rūķi! (2016), which was awarded the Best Debut prize at the National Film Festival. LTV is a state-owned public service television. The company is funded by grant-in-aid from the Latvian government (around 60%), with the remainder coming from television commercials. LTV operates two channels, LTV1 in Latvian, and LTV7 in Latvian and Russian. LTV1 is the annual broadcaster of Eurovision in Latvia; LTV7 broadcasts many sporting events such as the Olympics. In 2017, LTV launched an online channel Visiem LTV (VISIEMLTV.LV) for foreign viewers, mostly targeting the Latvian diaspora. The programming is a mix of LTV1 and LTV7 broadcasts that are not restricted by copyright laws.

Anas Khelawy, Al Jazeera / Qatar

Anas Khelawy is a Senior Producer commissioning for Al Jazeera Documentary Channel. Before taking this position in 2014, he produced documentaries for Egyptian TV/ Nile News Channel, and served as production manager on several feature and documentary films. He joined Al Jazeera Media Network as an associate producer in 2005, and assisted launching Al Jazeera Documentary Channel in 2007. Al Jazeera Documentary Channel is a pan-Arab satellite Arabic language film and documentary channel, and a branch of the Al Jazeera Media Network based in Doha, Qatar. It aims to provide viewers with high-quality documentaries, which cover and analyse a breadth of topics, including history, science, politics, art, and travel. The channel produces 15% of broadcast material in-house, while obtaining the rest from Arab and global producers. It also co-produces documentaries for Al Jazeera Arabic and assists in producing documentaries for other Al Jazeera channels such as Al Jazeera English. The channel was the first of its kind in the Arabic-speaking world. The aim of the Production Department is to commission documentaries from around the world that deal with human stories, people, environments and their interaction with each other, in order to bring viewers to the heart of fascinating stories. We are looking for documentaries that have credible content, tell genuine stories, explore major current affairs around the world and above all, respect the cinematic language. We are looking for modern and original story-telling approaches that reflect the target themes.

Jo Lapping, BBC / UK

Jo Lapping is an experienced broadcast Executive and Producer with a strong track record in commissioning and acquiring distinctive international content for BBC audiences. With over 20 years of experience, Jo has worked as the Strand Manager for Storyville, the BBC’s multi award-winning feature documentary strand and as a pan genre buyer and producer for BBC Factual Commissioning. Jo has been involved with over 600 documentary projects including: The Furthest, The Cult that Stole Children, Kings of Pastry, The Chinese Mayor, The Great Hip Hop Hoax, If A Tree Falls and Knuckle.

BBC is a British Public Service broadcaster with television, radio and online services that cover the nations and regions of the UK.

Hidetoshi Nakamoto, NHK / Japan

Hidetoshi Nakamoto is a Senior Producer currently working for NHK World Documentary, developing, commissioning and co-producing more than 100 documentary films every year. He has worked as NHK documentary director since 1991, covering a wide range of affairs for the news and documentary programs. Commissioned Titles: Why Slavery, ISIS Leaks, Cleaners, Wandering Chef, The Last Ring Ladies. Strand/Genre: current affairs, politics, social issues, environment, science, technology, modern history, health, human interest, sports and experimental documentaries. Length: one-hour. NHK, Nippon Hoso Kyokai (Japan Broadcasting Corporation) is Japan’s only public broadcaster. As a public broadcaster funded by fees received from TV viewers, NHK delivers a wide range of impartial, high-quality programs, both at home and abroad.

Lars Säfström, SVT / Sweden

Lars Säfström works for the Swedish Public Service SVT, Sveriges Television, as a commissioning editor in the documentary department in Stockholm. He has a background as a documentary film editor, filmmaker and producer, who has worked with documentaries since the seventies. He has also worked with light entertainment and as head of the SVT drama department in the early nineties, and head of programmes in the southern district of SVT in Malmö. He commissions and buys documentaries for three major slots: Current Affairs, Sunday 22:00, Feature documentaries, Mondays 22:00, and mainly Swedish documentary films, Fridays 21:00. SVT also has a culture documentary slot primetime Fridays.

Markéta Štinglová, Czech Television (CT) / Czech Republic

After graduation from the Film and Television Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (FAMU), Markéta joined the production company K2 Ltd. as an executive producer, focused mainly on documentaries about people whose personal stories were influenced by the political events of the 20th century in Central Europe. Since 2001 Markéta has been working for Czech Television in various positions. She was in charge of co-operation within the EBU, fundraising/financing TV projects from EU funds and others. Currently she works as Head of International Co-productions and is responsible for international co-operation across genres. After the conclusion of the Association Agreement with ARTE in 2013, she is in charge of co-operation between CT and ARTE and periodically attends ARTE programme conferences. Markéta also participates in international co-production and pitching forums and she is also occasionally a member of festival juries (Rose d´Or, Banff Festival, etc.) where she represents Czech Television. In 2016 she was elected to the Bureau of the EBU Documentary Experts Group. Czech Television is a public service broadcaster in the Czech Republic. Currently Czech Television is broadcasting 6 programmes on 5 Channels.

Sergei Trofimov, Current Time TV / US

Sergei Trofimov is a Prague (Czech Republic) based media professional focused on TV-series and documentary acquisition, production and distribution. Sergei graduated from the Baltic Film and Media School (Tallinn, Estonia) with a bachelor in Cross-media Production. During the last 15 years, Sergei was involved in audio-visual production across different media platforms such as print, online and video. He worked as a professional press photographer for Estonian outlets and news agencies such as Xinhua, RIA Novosti, Scanpix; producer and cameraman for TV shows and documentaries, and has editing and filming skills. In the period from 2015-2017, Sergei worked for Estonian Public Broadcasting as an acquisition executive acquiring features, animation and documentaries for ETV+ (channel in Russian). From 2017 Sergei works for Current Time TV (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty) as an acquisition & commissioning manager. Funded by the U.S. Congress, and led by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in co-operation with Voice of America, Current Time has gathered top-rate independent journalists to deliver the news from Russia, Ukraine, Central Asia, the Baltics, Europe, and the United States. And with 100 new titles per year, Current Time offers the largest compendium of Russian-language documentaries.

Jenny Westergaard, YLE / Finland

Jenny Westergard graduated as a journalist from Helsinki University and has been working for YLE since 1985. She is currently working as Commissioning Editor for documentary films in the YLE co-production department. She is commissioning and acquiring for the YLE Fem/Teema broadcast channel, and also serving the online platform YLE Areena, focusing on contemporary, human-interest stories with strong visual style, interesting storylines and good characters set in a social, political or philosophical context. YLE is the national public service broadcasting company in Finland with duties laid down by law. YLE operates 3 national television channels, 6 radio channels, and a growing internet service. YLE ranks first in television viewing in the country. YLE is a limited company mainly owned by the Finnish state and since 2013 financed by taxes. YLE is a media company free from commercial and political affiliations, and its programs carry no advertising. YLE was established in 1926 and joined the EBU, the European Broadcasting Union, at the very beginning in 1950.

ONLINE DECISION MAKERS

Steve Burns, CuriosityStream / USA

Steve Burns is Chief Content Officer for CuriosityStream, the award-winning streaming and on-demand destination for world-class documentary features and series exploring science, space, technology, history, nature, health and more.

CuriosityStream, founded by John Hendricks, founder of Discovery Communications, premiered in March 2015, and Burns has been in this role since launch.  He is responsible for CuriosityStream’s entire library of original productions and acquisitions including award-winning titles and series such as Stephen Hawking’s Favorite Places and David Attenborough’s Light On Earth.

Burns’ career in documentary and non-fiction filmmaking spans more than 25 years from National Geographic cinematographer/producer to senior executive positions at Discovery Communications, including Executive Vice President and Chief Science Editor at Discovery Networks, as well as General Manager of Science Channel.  In 2007, he returned to National Geographic as Executive Vice President of Global Content for NGC Worldwide.

Burns was also recently a freelance Executive Producer for 5 seasons of WNET/ NY’s long-running series Secrets of the Dead for PBS in the U.S.

Burns has won multiple industry awards, including two Emmys® for 5 Years on Mars and Spirit of the Rainforest. His teams have been nominated for two Academy Awards, over 250 Emmy® nominations, including dozens of wins, and two Peabody Awards.

Madeline Robert, Visions du Réel’s / Switzerland

Madeline Robert is a member of Visions du Réel’s (International Film Festival – Nyon, Switzerland) selection committee since 2015 and special advisor of the artistic director since 2017. After various experiences in festivals, in France and elsewhere, she dedicates her career to documentary films and settles in Lussas (France) in 2008, within the Documentary Village. There, she founds the production company Les Films de la caravane where she currently works and mainly produces first documentary films. In 2012, she takes part in setting up the Doc Corner, a space dedicated to documentary films within the Cannes Festival Film Market. She is also involved in the new SVOD Plateform dedicated to creative documentaries: Tënk (tenk.fr).