Mentors, lecturers and speakers


Claire Aguilar

director of Programming & Industry Engagement, Sheffield Doc/Fest

Claire Aguilar is a director of Programming & Industry Engagement for Sheffield Doc/Fest, one of the leading showcases of documentary films and digital media in the world. She is the programmer for the festival and is responsible for industry training and mentoring. Prior to Sheffield, she served as funder and co-producer for independent filmmakers and public media at the Independent Television Service (ITVS).  She has commissioned programming from the global community of independent producers, and has curated for the PBS series Independent Lens. She has served as a programming consultant, advisor and jury member for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, STEPS, Firelight Media, IDFA, Visions du Réel, Eurodoc, WGBH, the Pew Fellowships in the Arts and many other media organizations.  A second-generation Filipina American, she has a BA in Communications Studies and MA in Film and Television Studies from UCLA. She serves on the boards of Women Make Movies, EDN (European Documentary Network) and Firelight Media.  


John Appel


John Appel studied Classical Literature at the University of Amsterdam and graduated at the Netherlands Film Academy in 1987. He directed more than 40 films for cinema and television and developed a personal style in documentary filmmaking, close to his protagonists, which he calls ‘emotional research’. His films have won many international awards: the IDFA Award for Best Feature Length Documentary for She Believes in Me (1999), a nomination for Best European Documentary for The Last Victory (2003), the IDFA 2009 Award for Best Dutch Documentary for The Player and many other. Wrong time, Wrong Place was the opening film of IDFA 2012. His most recent film The Magic of Editing (2015) is about the artistic and ethical dilemmas in the editing room of documentaries. John Appel is mentor at many international workshops, such as the Greenhouse Development Programme in the Middle East (since 2006), Binger Doclab in Amsterdam (2005, 2010), Aristoteles Workshop in Romania (2010, 2013 and 2014). He gives masterclasses all over the world and was jury member in major festivals like IDFA, Karlovy Vary, Visions du Reel.


Yann Arthus-Bertrand

photographer and director

Yann Arthus-Bertrand is a photographer and renowned specialist in aerial imagery. He has written several books, including The Earth from the Air, translated into 24 languages and sold in more than three million copies. In 2009, he made his first film Home, the most successful environmental film of the decade. Human is his latest film. 


Hans Robert Eisenhauer

producer, Ventana Film

As a commissioning editor for ZDF, and Deputy Programme Director and Head of Theme Evenings for ARTE, Hans Robert’s commissions include: Buena Vista Social Club, Oscar-winner Taxi To The Dark Side, Peabody-winner Why We Fight, Sundance winner The House I Live In, and the acclaimed Up The Yangtze and Mama Africa. He has also served as head of the Berlin Film Fund. Hans Robert is member of the European Film Academy, which he helped to create in 1988, a member of EDN and honorary member of the German Film Academy. After his retirement from ZDF/ARTE he is living in Berlin and running the film and TV-production company Ventana Film, focusing on international documentary films. His recent co-production Return to Homs has received the Grand Jury Prize for the best international documentary film at Sundance Film Festival 2014. Ventana Film is also co-producer of the Finnish-German documentary Emergency Call which had its premiere at IDFA 2014. Currently Hans Robert is working on his next feature documentary Fathers and Sons about the German secret service BND and, among others, a current affairs doc on European returnees from Jihad. He is also working as a tutor and expert at the Greenhouse-Workshop for young filmmakers from the Southern-Mediterranean region. 


Erik Gandini

producer and director, FASAD

Erik Gandini, born in 1967, Sweden, is a director, producer, and writer. He has directed numerous films and documentaries highlighting Sacrificio: Who Betrayed Che Guevara? co-directed with Tarik Saleh, Surplus. Terrorized Into Being Consumers awarded in IDFA and Videocracy, award winning in Toronto and Sheffield, amongst others. ZagrebDox screened most of his films in different programs, Retrospective program included, and Gandini held the Masterclass at 12th festival edition. He is one of the founders of the Swedish production company Atmo.


Alessandro Gropplero

head of international relations of the Friuli Venezia Giulia Audiovisual Fund

After graduation in Communication Studies at the Trieste University, Alessandro Gropplero started to work in 2000 as a production manager with Pidgin, an Italian independent production company based in Bologna; in 2005, after a collaboration with the London-based company Number 9 Films, he came back to Udine and worked for two editions of the Udine Far East Film Festival. In May 2007, he was appointed head of international relations of the Friuli Venezia Giulia Audiovisual Fund. As such, he planned, implemented and managed a variety of international events, such as When East Meets West and Ties that Bind, both supported by the Creative Europe MEDIA Programme. He is an EAVE graduate, board member of Cine-Regio (the largest network of European regional funds), board member of Eurodoc and a member of the European Film Academy.


Ryan Harrington

director of Docs and Specials, Discovery Communications

Ryan Harrington is the Director of Docs and Specials for Discovery Communications. Previously, Harrington served as the Vice President of Artist Programs for Tribeca Film Institute, where he created their worldwide granting and filmmaker support initiatives. He also managed production at A&E IndieFilms, the theatrical documentary arm of the A&E Television Networks, where he championed numerous feature documentaries. He is a frequent panellist/speaker, jurist, and go-to expert at industry events around the world.


Hrvoje Hribar

chief executive, Croatian Audiovisual Centre

Born in Zagreb, Croatia, Hrvoje Hribar graduated in film directing from the Academy of Dramatic Art in Zagreb. He has worked as a first assistant director, screenwriter, ra- dio playwright, cook and essayist. Through his production company FIZ, he produced and directed the comedy What Is a Man Without a Moustache?, the highest grossing film at Croatian box offices in 2006, which was shown at more than 30 international film festivals. Prior to that, he wrote, directed and produced two documentaries (The World is Great and Once There Was a Man), as well as his first feature The Tranquilizer Gun. As a director and a scriptwriter, Hribar is also the author of a TV film Croatian Cathedrals and the short film Between Zaghlul & Zaharias. In 2001, he directed the TV series New Age for Croatian Radiotelevision (HRT). He was awarded the Oktavijan (best Croatian film of the year) several times. Since November 2010, Hribar has been serving as a member of the Executive Committee of FERA. In September 2010 he was appointed Chief Executive of the Croatian Audiovisual Centre, the main audiovisual agency in Croatia.


Maja Jelisić Cooper

co-founder and CEO of Televizija Classicum / Klasik TV

Maja is a serial entrepreneur and manager with a track record in both traditional and new media. She is a co-founder and CEO of Televizija Classicum d.o.o.(TVC), which five years ago launched Klasik TV, a 24/7 regional IPTV & cable TV channel dedicated to old and new films from ex-Yugoslavia. TVC is also the distributor of content for VOD/SVOD and has recently started representing some content providers for selling their content through its regional network. Klasik TV is distributed regionally and internationally to over 50 telecom operators, reaching about two million households, and is one of the most popular channels on all the platforms. Prior to founding TVC, Maja was also a co-founder of a mobile and digital marketing agency. Before becoming an entrepreneur, Maja worked for Sanoma Magazines (currently known as Adria Media Zagreb), where she was among other things responsible for launching the Croatian version of National Geographic magazine, and was previously the Marketing Manager for Iskon Internet, a leading Croatian ISP. Maja graduated with an MBA from British and French Business Schools (Leicester University & ESCEM program), after earning a double degree in History of Art and Information Science at Zagreb University.


Hanka Kastelicová

VP & Executive Producer of Documentaries, HBO Europe

Hanka Kastelicová is the Executive Producer of Documentaries for HBO Europe. Based at the Prague office, she works closely with HBO Europe’s production centres in Warsaw, Budapest and Bucharest, and is responsible for the development and production of HBO Europe’s documentary films. She earned a Master of Arts degree from the Faculty of Film and TV Documentary Department at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. She continued her professional career in Slovenia, where she worked for more than 25 years as a documentary director and producer, and later as a Commissioning Editor and Head of Development of Documentary Programming. As an experienced and dedicated documentary filmmaker, she has been lecturing on documentary filmmaking and served as a moderator and participant on numerous industry panels and other documentary events.


Nino Kirtadzé


European Film Academy-award-winning director Nino Kirtadze was born in Tbilisi, Georgia. She is one of the few Georgian directors who made her cinematic debut in France and quickly established herself as one of the best documentary directors worldwide. She focuses on controversial subjects, placing the accent on the human drama and creating deep insightful human portraits. Her films have won international acclaim and numerous prestigious prizes at festivals worldwide, including Best Director Prize at Sundance for Durakovo - Village of Fools, the European Film Academy award for Pipeline Next Door, Germany’s top documentary award, the Adolf Grimme Gold, for Chechen Lullaby and the Cinema du Réel award for Tell My Friends That I’m Dead. Her films have been presented at top world festivals, including Cannes, Toronto, Sundance, IDFA and RIDM. Nino Kirtadze is also a scriptwriter and actress. During the troubled years in the Caucasus in 1990s she also worked as a war correspondent for the AFP and for the AP, covering the war in Chechnya and other armed conflicts in the region. Since 1997, Nino Kirtadze has been living in France and working with Peter Brook, Ben Gazzara, Vittorio Gassman, Jean-Pierre Ameris and Claude Goretta. She works on a regular basis with different national and international organisations and film schools as a consultant, jury, lecturer and tutor.


Silvestar Kolbas

photographer, cinematographer and director

Silvestar Kolbas, born in 1956 in Petrovci, Croatia, is a cinematographer, photographer and film director. In 1982, he graduated in Film and TV Camera from the Academy of Dramatic Art in Zagreb, where he works today as full professor. He made his debut as a cinematographer in Živorad Tomić’s fiction film Diploma for Death (1989) and as a director in 2003 with the notable autobiographical documentary All About Eva, showcased at the 2007 ZagrebDox. In recent years, he has been making mostly feature-length documentaries (Life in fresh Air, Lucky Child, Lora – Testimonies, Mimara Revisited, 20 Days in Tibet), mainly for Factum. His multiple-award winning 2011 autobiographical documentary War Reporter was screened at the 2011 ZagrebDox. Some of his most recent films are the experimental film The Red Star Cinema (2014) and documentary Mrzim sretne ljude (2014).


Catherine Le Clef

Founder and CEO, CAT&Docs

In November 2009, Le Clef started a documentary distribution company, CAT&Docs. In January 2007, she joined Fortissimo Films as Senior Vice President – TV and Ancillary Sales from the Paris-based Doc & Co. Prior to this, she was with Films Transit International in Canada. She began her career at Unibelfilm in Belgium, promoting Belgian films internationally.


Hrvoje Osvadić

producer, Croatian Producers Association

Hrvoje Osvadić was born 1973 In Osijek, Croatia. Since1999 he has worked as freelance producer on film and TV. Since 2009 he is a co-owner of the production company Petnaesta umjetnost. His productions include documentary and fiction films, shorts and TV series. Hrvoje Osvadić is the president of the Croatian Producers Association and a member of Croatian Film Workers Association.


Leena Pasanen

Managing and Artistic Director, DOK Leipzig

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 programme 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 Programmes responsible for cultural, factual and fiction programmes 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 Programmes 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.


Martina Petrović

Head of Creative Europe Desk – MEDIA Office Croatia

Martina Petrović has a major in International Relations and a minor in Psychology. Martina has gained most of her working experience at the Ministry of Culture, De- partment for International Cultural Cooperation, being responsible for various cultural exchange programmes between Croatia and other countries; among many activities, she was responsible for the organisation of Croatian film presentation during international film fe- stivals in Berlin and Cannes. From 2008, she has been actively involved in establishing the Croatian Audiovi- sual Centre, where she has stayed, after being chosen by the European Commission as the Head of MEDIA Desk Croatia. Following immediate and successful re- sults in terms of ensuring the financing by the MEDIA Programme, working thoroughly on the promotion of the Croatian film, resulted in receiving the first Albert Kapović Award by the Croatian Producers Association, given at the opening of Zagreb Film Festival in 2010. As the Head of MEDIA Desk Croatia (today’s Creative Europe Desk – MEDIA Office), she has been actively involved in organising innovative and active presenta- tions/workshops – important tools for education and networking – between Croatian but also European film professionals.


Sanja Ravlić

croatia’s Representative to Eurimages, Croatian Audiovisual Centre

Sanja Ravlić has extensive experience in the audiovisual sector, as a script editor, producer and consultant both in Croatia and the UK. In 2007 she joined the core team of the newly founded Croatian Audiovisual Centre, the governing film agency in Croatia. From March 2010 to June 2012 she was Head of Development at the Croatian Audiovisual Centre and from January 2013 to January 2015 Head of Co-productions. Sanja is Croatia's representative on the Board of Management of Eurimages, Council of Europe's support fund for co-production, distribution and exhibition of European cinematographic works, a member of the European Film Academy and a member of the Programme Council of the Croatian Radiotelevision.


Stephan Regoli


Stephan V. Regoli, born in 1982 in France, received a professional degree in Audiovisual Art from the University Institute of Technology in Corsica and a master's degree in Theater Studies. After he made three documentary films for regional channel France 3, he established Chjachjarella Produzione with Pierre Le Bloa.


Jožko Rutar

director, Slovenian Film Centre

After graduation from the Faculty of Economics in Ljubljana, Jožko Rutar started working as a producer of cultural events and performances. He worked with the contemporary dance group EN-KNAP for five years as a producer of dance performances and films. In 2004 he joined the Staragara production company and produced several feature, short and documentary films. In his career as a producer he produced three feature films and numerous shorts and documentaries that were presented in Cannes, Venice, Locarno, Rotterdam etc. Jožko Rutar is an EAVE graduate, a member of the European Film Academy and a board member of the Slovenian audiovisual collecting society AIPA. On 1 July 2011 he was appointed by the Government of the Republic of Slovenia to the position of director of Slovenian Film Centre. 


Nebojša Slijepčević


Nebojsa Slijepčević was born in 1973 in Zagreb, Croatia. In 2005, he graduated in Film Directing from the Academy of Drama and Art in Zagreb. He has directed numerous creative documentaries that were widely shown and awarded multiple times at many international festivals. ZagrebDox screened many of his documentaries, following his work closely. He is a three times nominee for Prix Europa Award for his TV documentaries. His first documentary feature, the international co-production Gangster of Love, premiered at Hot Docs and it was one of the biggest box-office successes in Croatia, winning the Audience Award at 2013 ZagrebDox. His latest documentary feature Srbenka (2018) premiered at Visions du Réel and received the Buyens-Chagoll Award, followed by the Heart of Sarajevo for best documentary and the Audence Award at Sarajevo Film Festival and many more. He is also an educator, mentoring and lecturing at Restart's School of Documentary Film in Zagreb.


Paolo Vidali

managing director, Friuli Venezia Giulia Audiovisual Fund

Paolo Vidali was born in Udine, where he also studied. In 1970 he began working in Rome, as a scriptwriter and first assistant director on a dozen films, and later as a dialogue director and dubbing director. Since the early 1990s, he has been a constant presence on the documentary film market, as an author and a producer. He collaborated as a consultant on drafting the Friuli Venezia Giulia legal act that established the regional Fund, and currently he is the managing director of the Friuli Venezia Giulia Audiovisual Fund.