Respected film personalities and professionals are invited to award the Festival’s prizes to filmmakers whose works stand out for their uniqueness and ambition.
International Feature Film Competition
Jessica Beshir is a Mexican-Ethiopian writer, director, producer and cinematographer based in Brooklyn. Her feature debut, Faya Dayi, premiered at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival and has screened at numerous festivals including Rotterdam, New Directors/New Films, Visions du Réel in Nyon, Switzerland, where it won the Grand Jury Prize & FIPRESCI Award, DOC NYC where it won the Best Cinematography Award, Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, where it won the Grand Jury Award, Filmmaker Award, and Emerging Artist Award. Faya Dayi was nominated for the Critics Choice Documentary Awards, the Gotham Awards, ASC Awards, five Cinema Eye Awards, three IDA Awards winning for best Cinematography in addition to winning the Truer Than Fiction Award at the Independent Spirits. Her early short films, Hairat/Criterion, He Who Dances on Wood/PBS and Heroin/Topic have played in festivals and museums around the world including IDFA, Eye Film Museum & MoMI. Beshir has been honored with grant support from the Sundance Film Institute, the Doha Film Institute and the Jerome Foundation.
Journalist, author, and film critic, Beatrice Fiorentino writes for the newspapers Il Manifesto and Il Piccolo, for 8 e ½ magazine and Cinecittà News. She taught film and audiovisual language at the University of Primorska and since 2015 curates the Nuove Impronte section at ShorTS-International Film Festival. She received the Premio Akai for best film critic at the 71st Venice International Film Festival. She is a member of the committee for the Film della Critica by the National Union of Italian Film Critics. Since 2016, she is part of the selection committee of the Venice Settimana Internazionale della Critica, of which she became General Delegate in 2020. She is a member of the European Film Academy and of the Accademia del Cinema Italiano – David di Donatello awards.
Jovan Marjanović is the director of the Sarajevo Film Festival, for which he has worked since 1999. The Sarajevo Film Festival is the leading film festival in South-East Europe, and home to high quality programming, a strong industry segment, and an educational and networking platform for young filmmakers. A producer in his own right, Jovan Marjanović has also served as the National Representative of Bosnia and Herzegovina to Eurimages since 2006 and works as a consultant for several film funds and institutes. He holds an MSc from the Cass Business School in London, and teaches Film Business at the Academy of Performing Arts in Sarajevo.
Burning Lights Competition
Gema Juárez Allen is a film producer from Argentina and, through her work, has become a reference in Latin American documentary cinema. The films she produced have been programmed in and awarded by the most important film festivals in the world. She has produced Private Fiction (Andrés Di Tella, 2020), Theatre of War (Lola Arias, 2018), Oscuro Animal (Felipe Guerrero, 2016), and ¡Vivan las Antipodas! (Victor Kossakovsky, 2011), among others. She is currently working with Lola Arias and Manuel Abramovich. In 2018, she became a member of the Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences.
Chiara Marañón is the Senior Director of Programming at the streaming platform MUBI. Based out of MUBI’s London headquarters and one of the first to join the company over ten years ago, Chiara spearheads MUBI’s global programming, with a focus on European territories, and oversees content for MUBI GO in the U.K. A regular commentator and panelist, Chiara has served as a jury member at various international film festivals including the Berlinale, Mar del Plata and Jeonju, and curated special programs for the Cartagena Film Festival (FICCI) and the Tabakalera International Centre for Contemporary Culture in San Sebastián. As a filmmaker, she has worked with Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami on The Girl in The Lemon Factory (2013). Chiara holds a BA in Cinema Studies from Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona, an MA from the International Film and Television School in Cuba (EICTV) and an MA from the University of Westminster in London.
Cyril Schäublin was born in Zurich in 1984 and studied cinema in Beijing and Berlin. His debut feature, THOSE WHO ARE FINE (DENE WOS GUET GEIT, 2017), premiered at the Locarno Film Festival and was screened at numerous festivals, including the International Film Festival Rotterdam and the New Directors/New Films Festival in New York. The film received several awards and honours, including Best International Feature Film at the Edinburgh International Film Festival in 2018, and a nomination for the European Film Awards 2018 (European Discovery – Prix FIPRESCI). His second feature film, UNREST (UNRUEH, 2022), premiered this year as part of the Encounters programme of the Berlinale.
Katy Léna Ndiaye
Katy Léna Ndiaye
Katy Léna Ndiaye graduated from the IHECS – Brussels School of Journalism and Communication, where she obtained a Master’s degree in Press and Information. From her first positions as a journalist for Belgian press organizations, she gradually entered the African audio-visual sector, leading a career as an independent filmmaker and in television. Her last documentary, Time is On Our Side (2019), was awarded Best Documentary Film at the Luxor African Film Festival. The film was also in the official selection of the Rotterdam film festival (2020) as well as FESPACO (Pan African Film Festival, official competition edition 2019). Her previous films, Traces, empreintes de femmes (2007) and En attendant les hommes (2002) have won prizes at numerous festivals and have been distributed worldwide. In 2013, Katy Léna Ndiaye launched IndigoMood films, a production company in Dakar. It aims to promote documentary and feature film projects mainly from Senegal and the African continent.
Martin Horyna is a festival programmer and freelance film critic. He started his university studies in the field of theoretical physics; however, life sometimes brings unexpected shifts, and a spontaneous decision changed his focus to film. Since 2011, Martin has been programming for the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. Three years later, he also joined the team of the Prague Short Film Festival. His experience as film journalist includes co-founding the Czech website iNDiEFiLM.cz and writing festival reports, reviews and other journal articles for various magazines and dailies. Martin is a member of the International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI), the Documentary Association of Europe (DAE) and the expert committee of the Slovak Audiovisual Fund. He has also worked as dramaturg and script consultant on several documentary films. In 2019, Screen International magazine listed him among the “Future Leaders” of film programming and curation.
After a BA in Arts and Science at the University of Zurich, Olivier Zobrist (*1973) started working in film production in the 2000s. Since 2012, he has worked as a producer and partner at the production company Langfilm based in Ferienstein, Switzerland. Langfilm produces documentary and fiction feature and short films. Their latest productions have been shown at Cannes, Venice, Annecy, Clermont-Ferrand and IDFA, among others, and several of them have won the Swiss Film Award. Olivier Zobrist is a board member both of Pro Short and of the distribution company Vinca Film, which he also co-founded.
International Medium Length & Short Film Competition
Ivana Kvesić is the director of Fantoche – International Animation Film Festival in Baden, Switzerland. She is the former Co-Director of the youth film festival Schweizer Jugendfilmtage in Zurich and is part of the selection committee of the Internationale Kurzfilmtage Winterthur and Rote Fabrik Zurich. She holds a Master in Economics from the University of Zurich, a Certificate of Advanced Studies in Cultural Management and a Bachelor of Arts in Post-industrial Design from the Academy of Art and Design in Basel. She is a co-opted member of SWAN (the Swiss Women’s Audiovisual Network) and president of the executive committee of the Xenix cinema club in Zurich. She is also known as a curator, artist and cultural project manager and loves to work in transdisciplinary environments.
Nelson Makengo lives and works in Kinshasa. He is a Congolese director, visual artist and producer whose work oscillates between contemporary art and cinema. He has participated in the 2020 Berlinale Talents, the 2018 WIELS Centre for Contemporary Art residency, and was a jury member for the 2020 International Documentary Film Festival of Amsterdam (IDFA). His short film Up at Night has won several awards – including Best Short Documentaryat the IDFA (2019), the Dérives award at the Festival International du Film Francophone de Namur (2020), and Best Short Film at the Miradasdoc International Documentary Festival (2021) – and has been screened at more than 70 international festivals and contemporary art institutions including the Sundance Film Festival, the Pan-African Film and Television Festival (FESPACO), the Lubumbashi Biennale, the ArtNoble gallery (Milan), and is currently on show at the Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine and the Cité des Arts in Paris. Nelson Makengo is a Sundance Documentary Film Institute grantee.
Justin Pechberty co-founded the production and distribution company Les Valseurs with Damien Megherbi in 2013. They have produced about thirty short films including Sideral by Carlos Segundo, part of the Official Competition in Cannes 2021, Nefta Football Club by Yves Piat, nominated for an Oscar in 2020, Wicked Girl by Ayce Kartal, César in 2019 for best animated short and She Runs by Qiu Yang, Cannes Critics’ Week Grand Prix 2019. In tandem, they are developing a theatrical distribution for feature films in France. They have accompanied Boris Khlebnikov’s Arrythmia (Toronto 2017), Sarah Marx’s The Truck (Venice 2018), Carlo Sironi’s Sole (Venice 2019) and Miss Marx by Susanna Nicchiarelli (Venice 2020). Justin is also elected to the board of directors of the French Academy Awards, where he advocated for the creation of a César for short documentary films. He is also a member of the Oscars Academy.
Ali Biçer, Bern (Suisse)
Ali Biçer, Bern (Suisse)
Ali Biçer (*1960), an Alevi born in a Kurdish village in Central Anatolia, is a writer, journalist, filmmaker and host. Since the age of 15 he has campaigned for democracy and freedom and has spent 15 years in Turkish prisons. As a man condemned to death, he experienced what life feels like in its fragility, finiteness, and limitedness to a few square meters. He has lived in Switzerland since his release. So far, he has published several volumes of poetry, stories, and plays in Turkish. In Bern he runs a restaurant at the cross-cultural meeting point Länggasse. He has published several tales, lyrical poetry as well as an Oriental cookbook and has participated in various films.
Noëmi Gradwohl is interested in stories of all kinds. Be it in cinema, on stage, in literature or in everyday life. Asking questions, wanting to understand, telling stories, and listening first brought her on stage as an actress, trained at today’s Zurich University of the Arts. Since completing her postgraduate studies in journalism at the MAZ media training center in Lucerne, she has worked for various daily newspapers and radio stations. Since 2008, she has been a cultural editor at the Swiss Radio SRF2Kultur. She has won several awards for her programs. Regularly, she also leads discussions and readings in the interreligious and literary field. She is involved in the program group of the House of Religions for film and literature.
André Joly (*1954) founded a film club in high school, and since then has been fascinated by the film industry. He has a MDiv from the University of Lausanne. Ordained pastor in the Swiss Reformed Church, he was sent as a fraternal worker to a Presbyterian Church in French Polynesia where he also used to work with religious TV programs. He has a large experience in interreligious dialogue in the Pacific Ocean, the Middle East and Asia, and was for a long time involved in the Churches Fellowship in the Middle East. He worked in different parishes until his retirement in 2019.
Blanca Steinmann (*1956) studied ethnology and journalism in Zurich, specialising in visual anthropology and press photography. From 1986 to 1991, she was editor of the children’s magazine tut, then freelance journalist and editor at the Kinderlobby Switzerland. Since 2007 she has been working for the Catholic Aid Agency Fastenopfer (Swiss Lenten Fund) in Lucerne. Every year during Lent, Fastenopfer conducts an ecumenical campaign with the Protestant organisation Bread for All, which increases the Swiss population’s awareness of development issues such as fair trade, climate justice or dignified working conditions. Currently she oversees their online communication. She was a member of the ecumenical jury for the FIFF in 2012.
Loïc Valceschini was born in 1989 and holds a Master’s degree in Film History and Aesthetics from the University of Lausanne. He writes for various media and was one of the eight critics to take part in the Talent Press at the Berlinale in 2010. From 2012 to 2013, he co-ordinated distribution at La Cinémathèque Suisse. He became a programmer at the Neuchâtel International Fantastic Film Festival (NIFFF) in 2013. In parallel, between 2015 and 2020, he was responsible for coordinating the Semaine de la critique at the Locarno Film Festival, for which he was also a programmer. He became acting Artistic Director of the NIFFF in autumn 2020, supervising the festival’s 20th edition. He also contributes as a consultant to film development and sales.
Palmyre Badinier studied Arabic Literature and International Relations and has worked in the fields of journalism, diplomacy and international artistic cooperation. In 2007, when based in Ramallah, she joined the Palestinian production company Dar Films. In 2008, she co-founded a sister company in Paris, Les Films De Zayna, an organisation completely devoted to Arab filmmaking. With this company, she has supported the filmmakers Nassim Amaouche, Rana Kazkaz and Anas Khalaf, as well as Erige Sehiri for La Voie normale, among others. In 2017, Ghost Hunting by Raed Andoni won the Best Documentary Award at the Berlinale. Based in Geneva since 2018, Palmyre has produced and co-produced for Akka Films, and in particular the documentaries Je suis noires by Juliana Fanjul and Rachel MBon, L’Étincelle by Valeria Mazzucchi and Antoine Harari, Mille feux by Saeed Taji Farouky, Leur Algérie by Lina Soualem and Loin de vous j’ai grandi by Marie Dumora. In March 2022, Palmyre joined the team at Rita Productions to develop its documentary division.
Massimo Lechi is a film and theatre critic and festival correspondent from Genoa, Italy. While studying Literature at the University of Genoa, he started writing reviews, interviews and festival reports for Italian and English-language magazines. In 2012 he published his first book and became a freelance lecturer in film and theatre history. A member of the SNCCI, he served as president of the FIPRESCI Jury at the Mannheim-Heidelberg International Filmfestival in 2014, at the Thessaloniki Documentary Festival in 2015 and at the Istanbul Film Festival in 2018 and in 2021. He also served on critics’ and international juries in Ankara, Drama, Chemnitz, Olympia, Dhaka, Pristina, Venice, Kolkata, Sofia, Limassol, Leipzig, Krakow, Palić, Duhok, Bydgoszcz, Berlin, Lisbon, Aswan, Motovun, Kiev, Valencia and Ismailia.
Cristina Trezzini was born in Lugano in Switzerland and graduated in Sociology and History from the University of Paris VIII. She subsequently worked for two years at the Ringier publishing house in Zurich. Up to 2017, she worked for the RSI (Italian-speaking Swiss Radio and Television) as a specialised writer, a special reporter on leading film festivals, a producer and a host of cultural programmes. She co-directed the documentary Locarno 60, presented at the Locarno Film Festival in 2007. She was a member of the Solothurner Filmtage Selection Commission for two years. Cristina Trezzini is currently Member of the Commissione Culturale Consultiva and President of the Sottocommissione Cinema e Audiovisivi for the Canton of Ticino. She is also President of the Premio Cinema Ticino and a consultant for filmo.ch. She has been a Fipresci jury member for the Locarno Film Festival and the Tous Ecrans festival in Geneva.
Inge Coolsaet is a translator and film critic, educated at the University of Antwerp. She is part of the core writing team of the new film criticism magazine Fantômas and also works at the argos centre for audio-visual arts in Brussels. Among other publications, her writing has appeared in Point of View (CA), Filmmagie (BE) and Cineuropa (EU), for which she has covered several international documentary film festivals. More recently, she has also tried her hand at video essays.
With the participation of Lucie Goldryng, former student of the Haute Ecole d’Art et de Design (HEAD) – Geneva, President of the Youth Jury.