Taye Balogun is a film director/photographer, activist, educator, campaigner and a social entrepreneur. He started his film career as a producer & photographer. His experience spans from directing on television, commercials, to feature films - all with a key focus on impact productions. Highlighted as one of the progressive young African creatives in the development sector, Taye has consulted as a trainer and resource person, campaigned and engaged with several international organizations and bodies such as the African Union, UNESCO, Oxfam International, among others.
Jury for films up to 5 minutes
Husam Chadat is an actor and film director. He studied Film Directing at the HFF Munich and Acting at The Academy of Dramatic Arts in Damascus. As an actor, Husam appeared in numerous German, Syrian and international television and feature film productions such as Insyriated (2017), Flash Drive (2020), The New Pope (2020), Bell Bottom (2021), and Michael Bay's 13 Hours (2016). His work as director includes the short Just Get Married (2003) and the documentaries Bernd Eichinger. When Life Becomes Cinema (2000) and Secrets of Life (2015).
Stacy Chu is a Los Angeles based filmmaker and actress who graduated from American Film Institute with a focus on directing and narrative writing. Though she's worked on and acted in a number of genres, her foremost passion is pure character driven narrative and she hopes to help bring those types of stories to the forefront by joining the UNIFIED FILMMAKERS FESTIVAL.
Karim Debbagh was first introduced to the film industry through his late friend, the American writer and Composer Paul Bowles. He studied American Literature and later graduated from the renowned Filmakademie in Ludwigsburg, Germany as a producer. In 2005, he founded Kasbah Films, which today is one of the most successful production companies in Morocco, producing films such as Men in Black: International (2019) and Mosul (2019). While executing movies for foreign productions, Karim also produced numerous films, and short films that were screened all over the world. In 2005, the short film Fair Trade was nominated for the Student Oscar, TRAITORS (2013) premiered at Venice Film Festival.
Alexander Dierbach is a German film director of numerous award-winning leading film and TV productions. A graduate from HFF Munich, he was awarded the 2011 Studio Hamburg Nachwuchspreis for Best Director for his graduation film "Uns trennt das Leben". His TV mini series "Tannbach (Line of Separation)" was awarded with the 2016 Jupiter Award for Best TV Film and nominated for the Grimme Preis. His work attained international acknowledgement at film festivals in Berlin, Los Angeles, New York, Shanghai and Seoul.
Olesya Gidrat began her career in the film industry working with renowned Russian directors. Since 2007, she has worked with Andrei Konchalovsky Studios as an executive producer on numerous film and television projects. Collaborating with an international team, she worked on the post-production and distribution of Konchalovsky's The Nutcracker 3D (2010) and later served as an executive producer on the films The Postman’s White Nights (2014) and Russian-German co-production Paradise (2016), both of which won the Silver Lion at Venice International Film Festival. Most recently, she has served as executive producer on Konchalovsky’s Sin (2019) and Dear Comrades!, which won the Special JuryPrize at Venice International Film Festival in 2020.
Vinod Kapri is an award-winning filmmaker and has won a national award for his 2014-film Can’t Take This Shit Anymore. His latest film Pihu (2017) was critically acclaimed at many international film festivals and won two awards at 14th Trans-Saharan Film Festival, Morocco. His latest film 1232 Kilometres (a journey with seven migrant labourers during the COVID lockdown) was acquired by Disney+ Hotstar. Before venturing into filmmaking, he spent 23 years of his career as a journalist with media organisations like Amar Ujala, Zee News, Star News, India TV and TV9.
Mugambi is an actor, writer, director and film blogger. His career began in the Nairobi theatre scene in the early 2000's and would later grow in recession-era America's theatre and indie film scene. On returning to Kenya, he landed principal roles in celebrated Kenyan films. He then went on to co-write the award-winning feature films Kati Kati (2016) as well as Supa Modo (2018). His feature directorial debut Lusala (2019) premiered at the International Film Festival Rimbauld in 2020. He also works in the Kenyan theatre scene, his proudest work being Too Early For Birds: Mboya, a biographical storytelling project on Kenya's most renowned trade unionist and statesman.
Tosin Sanni is a co-founder, Head of and Programs Developer for Motion Pictures International Film Festival. She is a filmmaker, script writer and media content creator who has written, directed and produced commercials and films and works as a consultant for companies and filmmakers in Nigeria. Tosin holds a bachelor degree in International Relations, but has always had an interest in the film and media industry. In 2017, she wrote, directed and produced her first short film project Drowning. Since then, she has been involved in various film and media projects. She has served as the festival Head of Programs Development for MOPIFF for four consecutive years.
Coordinator at MOPIFF Festival
Marvin A. Smith, Choreographer & Artistic Creative Director, received most of his dance education and experience in Los Angeles and New York City. His many credits on stage, television and film include the Billboard Awards, Beverly Hills 90210, Malcolm X (1992) and The Bodyguard (1992). The updated Version of West Side Story at Düsseldorf Schauspielhaus earned him a State award nomination for his outstanding choreography in a theatre musical. Among the numerous performance artists he has collaborated with are Michael Jackson, Anastacia, Kelly Rowland, Rita Ora, and Helene Fischer.
Marvin A. Smith
Choreographer, Artistic Creative Director
After graduating from the Communication University of China and the Tianjin Academy of Fine Art, Zhao Songqiao not only worked as a full professor of Tianjin Arts and Crafts Vocational College but also as the head of the Create Asia Group in Hong Kong. For his animated film Peking Opera Anima (2010) he received the best animated film award from the Festival du Cinéma Chinois de Paris. His documentary film Silver Clown (2020) was awarded at the Montecatini International Short Film Festival and won a Madrid Film Award.
Milena Tscharntke’s acting career began in 2004 as a child actress in the television series Stubbe - Von Fall zu Fall. Since then, she has appeared regularly in various TV and feature film productions, such as the GRIMME AWARD - nominated web series DRUCK (2018 - 2019), and the post-apocalyptic drama Ende Neu (2018), directed by Leonel Dietsche. For her starring role in Alles Isy (2018) she received the Goldene Kamera and the 2019 Studio Hamburg Young Talent Award. In Sally Potter's dementia drama The Roads Not Taken (2020) she appears with an international star cast.
Jury for films from 5 to 20 minutes
Konstantin Bock is a director and editor, based between Berlin and Beirut. His film work includes commercials, music videos, short films and documentaries. His documentary, Hattie Goes Cruising has toured to over 50 festivals worldwide and was nominated for the 2017 Iris Prize and won Best Documentary at Berlin Liberi Film Festival and La Paz International Film Festival. He has also directed award winning commercials with production houses from Beirut to New York. He edited Nadine Labaki's Academy Award nominated film Capernaum which won the Prix du Jury at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival. In 2019 he was selected to participate in the Berlinale Talents program.
Nadeshda Brennicke is a German actress for innumerable cinema and TV films, a singer and an excellent author. She received the Adolf Grimme Prize in 2001 for the role of Anne in Das Phantom. Silikon Walli and Hotte im Paradies earned her a nomination for the 2002 German Television Award. For the role of Gisela Werler in Banklady (2013) she won the Silver Hugo at the Chicago International Film Festival as Best Actress and Insigne de Cristal de la Meilleure Actrice at the Festival International du Film Policier de Liège.
Dejan Bućin is a German actor of Serbian origin. He graduated from the Theater Academy August Everding in Munich and has been working as an actor in theater, film and TV ever since. He is best known for his internationally acclaimed theater work, as well as his noticeable appearance in Amazon Prime's series Carnival Row. Recently, he finished filming with Terrence Malick for his upcoming feature film.
Jaymes Butler (A.K.A Jaymes Butler, James E Butler) was born in Columbus, Ohio. His dream to work in the film business was something he had since the early age of 8 years. He would perform backyard shows for the neighborhood "Rug Rats". Later James landed his first professional job at Disney. He has worked in front of the screen for Steven Spielberg, Roman Polanski and Oliver Stone. His performance in Snowden (2016) was nominated for an NAACP Award. His love for the stage came through the direction of the late Mrs. Billie Daniels, better known as "Old Lady Daniels", who was the influence that Jaymes needed to get him moving in the right direction.
Claudia Gladziejewski was born in Hamburg. She studied Comparative Literature, Film and Creative Writing in Norwich/England, and English/German Literature and Journalism in Hamburg. Apart from teaching at German Film Schools, she works full time as commissioning editor at Bavarian Television, where she is in charge of short films, documentaries and first feature films. She is also head of the story-lab Nuremberg ('Autorenstipendium Nürnberg'). As commissioning editor she developed films like The Lives of Others (2006), Story of the Weeping Camel (2003) and recently The Blind Spot (2013) about the attack on the Oktoberfest in 1980.
Commissioning Editor, Producer
Sevgi Hirschhäuser is a multi-award-winning Turkish film director and writer based in Munich. Experienced in film making, she has worked long turns in various departments on set as well as in pre & post-film production. Her debut feature film TOPRAK won the Gold Preis at the Hofer Film Tage 2020. Currently, she is developing several short and feature films scripts for her next projects.
Originally from Wales, Jim Kolmar is a Film Programmer and writer who curated features for South by Southwest Film Festival (SXSW) from 2009-2020, and where he continues to consult. His primary interest is international films, with a particular focus on Latin American, Caribbean and Latinx films. He also programs for Festival Internacional de Cine Tulum (FICTU), and is a guest curator for Portland International Film Festival 2021. Jim is also a contributing writer for Ambulante Film Festival in Mexico, and has served on juries, panels and committees at events including BAFICI, Bogotá Audiovisual Market (BAM), CONNeXT, CPH:DOX, Docaviv, DocsDF, IDFA, IFFPanama, Krakow Film Festival, New Horizons, and Ventana Sur.
Film Programmer, Writer
Simona Nobile is an international script consultant, screenwriter and trainer with extensive experience in the development of narrative and documentary features. Her credits include the HBO documentary feature Agnelli, the international feature Romeo & Juliet and the TV series The Fugitive (Rai1), Il Generale della Rovere (Rai1) and L’Aviatore (Mediaset). As a screenwriter she is currently developing, among others, the TV series Babyland, Pandologia and Five Minutes Before. She also works as a script consultant for Eurimages, MEDIA Development Program and is a member of selection committees of other European and national development and production funding bodies. Simona is a lecturer at the Università La Sapienza of Rome, active member of EWA Network and of the European Film Academy.
Script Consultant, Screenwriter
Spain’s best film critic, writing for the film sections in newspapers such as EL PAIS, EL MUNDO and El Cultural, amongst many others. Since 2017, he is the Deputy Director and Head of Programming Director of the Spanish institution that preserves the national film heritage, Filmoteca Española in Madrid. He is also a member of the German Film Festival’s programming board in Madrid. With his big heart bleeding for film, he belongs to one of Spain’s true treasures.
Before joining Germany’s distribution and production house Beta Film GmbH as Content Editor, Anna studied dramaturgy, philosophy and literature at Munich's Theatre Academy and at the LMU, Ludwig Maximilian University Munich. Before her studies, she was an assistant director in many national and international TV and feature film projects. Among others, Anna is member of Germany’s VeDRA (Verband für Film- und Fernsehdramaturgie e.V.), jury member of the International Emmy’s semi-finals and NEM’s writing contest.
Anna Rohde Seyfried
After graduating as a graphic designer in 2007, Pascal Schelbli discovered his fascination for motion pictures. In the following years, he gained experience as a motion designer and visual effects artist, where he was able to direct several corporate films and broadcast openers. Addicted to telling stories with computer-generated images, he was accepted at the renowned Film Academy Baden-Württemberg, where he successfully graduated with his many award-winning film The Beauty in 2019, including an Academy Award. Today, Pascal works as a freelance 3D-artist and director.
Julia Weigl works at the interface between film, television, and theater. She studied Literary Studies at MLU München, and Theater-, Film- and Television Criticism at HFF München and Bayerische Theaterakademie August Everding. Since 2014, she has been working as a freelance journalist, author, translator and host. From 2018 to 2019 she led the press department at DOK Leipzig. For many years she has been active at FILMFEST MÜNCHEN, since 2019 curating its international film programme with a focus on the anglophone world, American Indies, Scandinavia, and international television series.