The 2021 Film Prize Experts

Mentors, consultants and trainers from the international film industry support the Film Prize Nominees during the workshops to further develop their project, to strengthen the idea of co-producing and to train and rehearse their pitch to the jury. 

Expert Ahmed Sobky

Ahmed Sobky

started his career in film PR and marketing, later venturing into film distribution in Egypt and the Arab region. In 2015 he joined Zawya Cinema in order to launch the distribution arm for the art-house cinema with a particular focus on Egyptian independent films. As the Head of Sales, Acquisitions and Theatrical Distribution he manages the day-to-day programming of Zawya Cinema, in addition to the regional distribution of multiple Egyptian films including CACTUS FLOWER, IN THE LAST DAYS OF THE CITY, and POISONOUS ROSES. Most recently Ahmed has been focusing on the distribution of the restored films of the late Egyptian director Youssef Chahine in Europe and the Arab world. Ahmed worked with the Nominees on distribution strategies. 

Expert Ayman El Amir

Ayman El Amir

is an Egyptian script consultant and film producer. He works as a script consultant for many programs, labs and institutes including TorinoFilmLab, Doha Film Institute, The Film Prize of the Robert Bosch Stiftung, International Marrakesh Film Festival Atlas Workshop and The Royal Film Commission of Jordan. El Amir consults privately on films and leads several international script development workshops and masterclasses. Ayman established his production Company (Felucca Films) in Egypt in 2016, which focuses on fresh and new talents and contemporary social issues. During the same year, he implemented the Mahd Film Lab, a Cairo-based script development programme open to filmmakers working on Arab film projects and Arab-European co-production. As a producer, his latest work includes the short fiction, FAKH, selected for the official competition of Semaine de la Critique at Cannes Film Festival 2019 (also, a winner of the The Film Prize of Robert Bosch Stiftung 2017) and the feature documentary HAPPILY EVER AFTER, premiered at IDFA 2016. Ayman supports the Nominees as script consultant. 

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Greta Fornari

was born in Turin, Italy. After a few collaborations with Italian film festivals she joined TorinoFilmLab in 2012 where she currently works on training programmes for emerging filmmakers, international co-production Funds and the annual TFL Meeting Event Co-production Forum. In 2015 she co-founded the sales company Lights On, a young label focused on emerging filmmakers. Lights On first commitment is to support independent cinema and foster international talents. They have distributed Pham Thien An’s short film  STAY AWAKE, BE READY winner of the Award for Best Short Film at the 51st Director's Fortnight in Cannes 2019 and many other acclaimed shorts like A TRIP TO HEAVEN by Linh Duong presented at Locarno 2020. Lights On is also representing the 2nd feature film by Lois Patino RED MOON TIDE premiered at Berlinale 2020. Greta provided the Nominees an insight into the work of a sales agent, highlighting the importance of a distribution strategy when developing a project. 

Expert Irit Neidhardt

Irit Neidhardt

graduated in political science, Islamic science and anthropology from the university of Muenster/Germany. She worked as trainer for self-defense and assertiveness for girls and women, managed an adult education center for political and cultural learning and has been acting as avocational author, curator and speaker in the field of cinema and the Middle East since completing her studies in 1995. In 2002 she decided to devote her working life to cinema and funded the distribution and sales company mec film complementary to her free-lancing. Irit Neidhardt is associate producer of Mahmoud al Massad’s award winning feature-documentary RECYCLE (Jordan/NL/CH/GER/USA 2007) and co-producer of Simon el-Habre’s highly acclaimed THE ONE MANY VILLAGE (Lebanon 2008), his latest GATE #5 (Lebanon/UAE 2011), Kamal Aljafari’s critically acclaimed PORT OF MEMORY(Palestine/GER 2009), Damien Ounouri’s prizewinning FIDAI (Algeria/FR/China/Kuwait/ GER 2012) and Raed Rafei's ECCOMI … ECCOTI (Lebanon 2017). She worked as development consultant for Tamer El-Said’s IN THE LAST DAYS OF THE CITY (EG/VAE/UK/D 2016) and as dramaturgic consultant for Pary el-Qalqili’s THE TURTLE’S RAGE (GER/Palestine 2012). She is author of various articles on subjects related to cinema and the Arab World, focusing on issues of co-operation and financing. From 2014 till 2016 Irit was Honorary Fellow at the European Centre for Palestine Studies at the University of Exeter (UK) with a research on PLO-German cooperation in film-making. Irit is member of the board of the German edition of the Global Media Journal and German quarterly inamo. She is member of the German Documentary Association (AG DOK), German Association of Art House Theatres (AG Kino-Gilde) and The German Middle East Studies Association for Contemporary Research and Documentation (DAVO). Irit supports the Nominees with her expertise on Arab cinema and with a conceptual look on the context of the projects. 

Expert May Odeh

May Odeh

was born in Birzeit-Palestine. Her first feature film as producer 200 METERS debuted in the Venice Days Competition of the Venice Film Festival, received the Variety Middle East and North African Region Talent Award at the El Gouna Film Festival. Odeh is a director and producer best known for 200 METERS (2020), MARADONA'S LEGS (2019, winner of the Film Prize of the Robert Bosch Stiftung), GAZA BY HER (2017), THE CROSSING (2017), DRAWING FOR BETTER DREAMS (2015), DIARIES (2011), SEARCHING FOR NAPOLEON (2006) and UNKNOWN SOLDIERS (2014), ROSHMIA (2014), IZRIQAQ (2013). She is the founder of ODEH FILMS; a production company aiming to produce and distribute creative documentary and fiction films. May has a Master’s Degree in film and production from Lillehammer University in Norway. Odeh’s curates and organizes various film programs including Red Carpet Film Festival, and Mobile Cinema, which is aiming to tour around villages and communities in area C to screen entertainment films for families and kids. She has been recently working in a variety of Art project research including film, photography, cooking and writing. May shared her expertise and her individual experience on producing in these challenging times.

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Myriam Sassine

Myriam Sassine majored in audiovisual studies and received an M.A. in Cinema Research. In 2010, she joined Abbout Productions producing several features and documentaries such as TRAMONTANE by Vatche Boulghourjian (Cannes Critic’s Week 2016), ALL THIS VICTORY by Ahmad Ghossein (Venice Critic’s Week 2019), 1982 by Oualid Mouaness (TIFF 2019), PANOPTIC by Rana Eid (Locarno 2017) and AMAL by Mohamed Siam (Idfa 2017). Since 2016, Myriam is also the COO of Schortcut Films dedicated to co-producing international films and the Executive Director of Maskoon Fantastic Film Festival, which she co-founded. Myriam shared her expertise and her individual experiences on producing in these challenging times.

Expert Raed Andoni

Raed Andoni

Is a Palestinian filmmaker and producer based in Paris. Raed has been working in independent cinema since 1997. He co-founded Dar Films, a production company based in Ramallah, producing and securing a wide international distribution for a number of award-winning documentaries. In 2008, he co-founded Les Films de Zayna, a Paris-based production company. His first feature documentary as a director, IMPROVISATION (2006) has screened in various international festivals and received the 2006 Art and Culture Award at the International Mediterranean Documentary Competition run by CMCA. FIX ME (2010), has premiered at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival and won several awards in international and Arab film festivals. It was commercially released in France in November 2010. GHOST HUNTING (2017) has premiered at the 2017 Berlin International Film Festival, winning the Best Documentary Award and an audience award. Raed supports the Nominees as a mentor for project development and as a pitching trainer.

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Roman Paul

holds a Master Degree in Theatre-, Film- and Media Studies from Goethe University in Frankfurt. He started his career in the film business as Director of Acquisitions for the arthouse distributor Prokino in Munich. In 1999 he took over as Head of International Acquisitions at Senator Film Distribution in Berlin. In October 2002 he founded Razor Film Produktion in Berlin along with Gerhard Meixner. From October 2002 until April 2006, besides working as a producer, he also served as an acquisitions consultant for Celluloid Dreams World Sales in Paris. Roman Paul is a member of the European and German Film Academy, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), as well as ACE (Atelier du Cinéma Européen). Since October 2013 he is also the co-director of the International Production Masterclass Atelier Ludwigsburg-Paris at the Filmakademie Ludwigsburg and La Fémis Paris. In 2019 he was named professor at the Filmakademie Ludwigsburg, and Chevalier des Arts et Lettres by the Republic of France. Roman consulted the Nominees on the budget and financing strategy. 

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Roshanak Behesht Nedjad

began working in the film industry as a festival coordinator and production manager. In 1999, she started her first production company Flying Moon. Until 2014 they produced arthouse films, with over 30 international awards, among them the German Film Award in Gold and the Prix Europe Iris. In 2012, Roshanak ventured into Serious Games for children and won the 2016 German Computer Game Award for Best Serious Game. Under the label In Good Company she started yet another enterprise with a focus on international coproductions, with an emphasis on European features, aiming to entertain on a smart level. Roshanak also works as an expert and consultant for various institutions and training organisations such as EAVE. She is a member of the German as well as the European Film Academy, an EAVE graduate and group leader. Roshanak shared her expertise and her individual experience on producing in these challenging times.

Expert Selina Ukwuoma

Selina Ukwuoma

is a freelance script consultant who began her career at literary agency Curtis Brown working on theatre, film, and television projects including 2008 BAFTA winner BOY A. She has since gone on to advise on award-winning indies such as 2014 Teddy winner THE WAY HE LOOKS and last year’s Goyas triumph SUMMER 1993. As well as consulting for production companies and designing and running development initiatives such as Realness Screenwriters' Residence, Selina teaches screenwriting at the UK’s National Film and Television School and regularly mentors and leads workshops at film festivals, including Berlinale Talents Script Station, TIFF Writers’ Studio, Talents Sarajevo Pack&Pitch, and CTIFMF ADAPT. Prior to her career in the film industry, Selina travelled, taught English, and completed degrees in screenwriting, professional writing, and social anthropology. She has various interests, but is always keen to learn something new. Selina supports the Nominees as a mentor for project development, as a consultant for the dossiers and as a pitching trainer.

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Sibylle Kurz

is a merchant and psychologist by training. She has longtime working experience in the music/event business as well as in acquisition/distribution for the German film industry. Since 1995 she freelances as communication trainer. She is of decisive influence as a pitching expert and coach on a range of Creative Europe / MEDIA training programs. Her clients are from arts, cultural, media and publishing, anyone who wants to position their idea/concept in the “cultural market” and to make it accessible to audiences. Sibylle teaches „The Art of Pitching“ at acclaimed national/international film schools, gives in-house seminars and supports in personal coaching planning and fine-tuning pitches and public appearances. She has mentored many emerging filmmakers and producers in Europe through project pitching workshops, film labs and festival internship programs. She is a member of: European Film Academy (EFA), European Woman’s Audiovisual Network (EWA) and part of EAVE’s pedagogical and expert team.  Her book 'Pitch It' has been published in 2015 in its third revised edition. Her motto is: say, what you think - do, what you say, - be, what you do!  

Expert Stefan Gieren

Stefan Gieren

After receiving an Oscar nomination for RAJU Stefan Gieren produced AYNY (Student Academy Award in Gold 2016), TOZ BEZI (Berlinale Forum 2016), KARDESLER (Karlovy Vary 2018), WHATEVER HAPPENS NEXT (Berlinale Perspektive 2018), FORTSCHRITT IM TAL DER AHNUNGSLOSEN (Berlinale Forum 2019) - which won the German Film Award LOLA in 2019. His first work for TV, NDR-coproduction TIAN - THE MYSTERY OF ST. PAULI, sold to 8 territories and was nominated for the Seoul Drama Awards 2019. Stefan shared his expertise and her individual experience on producing in these challenging times.


Stefano Tealdi

Born in Johannesburg (South Africa), he studied architecture in Torin, Italy and co-founded Stefilm in 1991. He directed A WORLD OF PASTA, DOCTOR ICE (Science Film Festival - Milano 2009), is now directing the series FODD MARKETS – IN THE BELLY OF THE CITY (20x52 ZDF/Arte) and is the co-author and producer of FOOD MAKERS GO GLOBAL (5 x 26 MDR/Arte). His recent film productions are: EXEMPLARY BEHAVIOUR (Golden Dove, FIPRESCI and Interreligious Jury awards, DOK Leipzig 2019), MY HOME, IN LIBYA (Locarno Film festival, DOK Leipzig, Chicago Int.Film Festival 2018, Premio Corso Salani - Trieste FF e Best Doc Glocal - Torino 2019), WONDERFUL LOSERS. A DIFFERENT WORLD (Best doc feature Warsaw FF 2017, Trieste FF 2018 and Lithuania’s candidate to the Academy Awards 2019) and THE STRANGE SOUND OF HAPPINESS (special mention Next Masters DOKLeipzig 2017, Terra di Siena – Premio della Critica, Special mention In-Edit, Barcelona 2018). Other films include: The QUEEN OF SILENCE (IDFA 2014, Silver Horn, best feature length doc Krakow FF 2015, Golden Nanook - Flahertiana IDF Perm 2015); Char, no man’s island (Berlinale Forum 2013), VINYLMANIA (IFF Rotterdam 2012), MOSTAR UNITED (IDFA 2009). He tutors for: Biennale Cinema and VR College Venice, Fabrique Cinema - Marché du Film Cannes, Documentary Campus, Dok Leipzig, Eave, ESoDoc, Films de 3 Continents – Produire au Sud, Med Film Factory, New Chinese Film Talents, Palestine Film Lab, Ouga Film Lab, TFL-Torino Film Lab, Scuola Holden, ZagrebDox Pro, ZELIG Film School. Stefano supported the Nominees as a pitching trainer at the Pitch Forum. 

Zeina Sfeir

Zeina Sfeir

is a Lebanese documentary filmmaker. She is also a film distributor, a film publicist, a founding member of the cultural association of Cinema Metropolis, which runs the only art house cinema in Lebanon, and a co-founder of MC Distribution. She is a member of the cultural association Beirut DC and has played the role of artistic director of its Arab film festival the Beirut Cinema Days in Lebanon. From 2007 to 2017, she has been programmer and Arab communication and film talent Manager at the Dubai International Film Festival in the United Arab Emirates. She has also worked as the Arab media consultant on the first edition of Red Sea International Film Festival in Saudi Arabia. She is currently handling the Arab press office at the Marrakech International Film Festival in Morocco. As a filmmaker, she has directed 12 documentary films and is developing her newest feature documentary. Zeina worked with the Nominees on distribution strategies.