Experts

Visual development advisors

Réka Gacs

Réka GACS (1977) is a Hungarian animation film maker and a teacher at Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design Budapest. She graduated from the same university’s master program, then made her second MA degree in animation at the Royal College of Art in London. She studied printmaking at Hungarian University of Fine Arts as a guest student for two years. She has been teaching at MOME’s Masters program since 2010, and meanwhile also has been
working at art1st Design Studio as lead media designer.

Éva Katinka Bognár

Éva Katinka Bognár is a director from Budapest, Hungary. She graduated from MOME, and she is teaching at the MA program there. Her short film Hugo Bumfeldt won awards including the Prize of the Children’s Jury at the 62th
Oberhausen International Short Film Festival, and the Animated Short Jury Award at Austin Film Festival. She illustrated three children’s books, of which Ludmilla megoldja and A boszorkánycica was included on the Institute of Hungarian Children’s Literature’s TOP50 list. Currently she is working as an art director on Gelley Bálint’s Door to Othertown animated series.

Guest experts

Sabine Andersone

Sabine Andersone is a film producer from Riga. She studied law at the University of Latvia and later the theory of culture. Since 2007 she is managing director and producer at animation film studio Atom Art. She has produced numerous award winning animated shorts, which have been selected at more than 100 festivals, including Annecy, Hiroshima and Zagreb. A special place of her carrier is dedicated to quality children’s content. She is a producer of pre-school mini-series “Shammies”, TV special “Pigtail and Mr.Sleeplessness” and a feature animation film “Jacob, Mimmi and the Talking Dogs”, which recently has won four international awards.

Vanja Andrijević

Vanja Andrijević (1968) is the producer and general manager at Bonobostudio, a company focusing on production, distribution and promotion of animated and experimental films. Previously she worked as coordinator at Split Film Festival, as coordinator and producer at the production studio Fade In, executive producer at the Croatian Film Association and executive producer at the animation production company Kenges. She was a member of festival selection committees at 25FPS, Annecy, Animafest Zagreb and a jury member at several film festivals and pitching forums. She also organized and coordinated other film-related events, such as promotional activities, screenings and workshops.

Nataša Bučar

Nataša Bučar was appointed as the Managing Director of Slovenian Film Center in 2016. She has been managing LIFFe, the largest International Film Festival in Slovenia, supported also by MEDIA and at the same time running distribution activities inside Cankarjev dom, the oldest Slovenian independent arthouse distribution house. She obtained a licence for Young Film Theater Manager from CICAE in 2008. She gained management experiences as the Director of the Festival of Slovenian Films, as Assistant Director of the Slovenian Film Fund and as the General Director of the Media Directorate at the Ministry of Culture. She is also a board member of European Film Agency Directors Association since 2018.

Špela Čadež

Špela Čadež is animation director and co-founder of Finta Studio in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Her films have received 100+ awards at festivals worldwide and were screened in competition selections such as the Sundance Film Festival,
Clermont Ferrand and Annecy. A passionate advocate for the analogue, Čadež has impressed with films in puppet and cut-out animation techniques. In 2018 Špela has been invited to become a member of the American Academy
of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Olivier Catherin

Olivier Catherin joined the French Animated Films Association in 2002 to create the International Animation Day and later became the French representative on the ASIFA board. In 2008 he created the animated film production company Les Trois Ours and won a César award with the short Kiki of Montparnasse. In 2017, he joined Pictanovo, in charge of the development of the animated sector for the Hauts-de-France region. He teaches animation production at the National Audiovisual Institute and is among the founders of the Emile Awards. In 2019 he became a consultant and creative producer, producing shorts and features with different French production companies, also working as the representative for the African continent and expert for animation development for CITIA.

Matthieu Darras

Matthieu Darras founded and directed the European Network NISI MASA (2002-2012), and later on co-founded and was the artistic director of the TorinoFilmLab (2008-2018). He is the director of First Cut Lab since 2015, and
recently created the Pop Up Film Residency. A writer for the film magazine Positif (1998-2016), Matthieu Darras has been working as festival programmer, notably for the Cannes Critics’ Week (2005-2011) and the San Sebastian Film Festival (since 2010).

Draško Ivezić

Draško Ivezić is a Croatian animated film director, scriptwriter and producer. As a producer, Ivezić worked for three years at Zagreb film and then for Denmark’s The Animation Workshop. He is the founder of the studio for animation in Croatia, Adriatic Animation. As the studio’s creative producer, Ivezić is responsible for developing numerous animated projects of different types, from short films to television projects and feature films.

Edmunds Jansons

Edmunds Jansons is a director, animator, illustrator and founder of the animation studio Atom Art. He studied tv directing (Academy of Culture of Latvia) and animation directing (Estonian Academy of Art). His filmography
includes animated documentary Little Bird’s Diary (Best Baltic Animation award at IFF Arsenals; Grand Prix at Tallinn Graphic Triennial), the animated short Choir Tour (Best Animation Award at 29th “interfilm” International SFF), the Christmas special Pigtail and Mr. Sleeplessness (won in 3 categories at the National Film Festival Lielais Kristaps, Best Children’s short film award at Fredrikstad Animation Festival) and the animated short The Isle of Seals, screened at Annecy 2016. He is co-author and director of pre-school series Shammies. Jacob, Mimmi and the
Talking Dogs is his first feature, for which he received National award Lielais Kristaps. Edmunds teaches animation directing at the Academy of Arts of Latvia and is guest tutor at La Poudriere, France.

Katarina Kerekesová

Katarína Kerekesová graduated from Animation Film Department at Film and TV Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava. In 2009, she founded the production company Fool Moon. Director and producer of two successful Slovak TV shows – Mimi & Lisa and The Websters. Last year she produced TV special Mimi & Lisa – Christmas Lights Mystery. Director of the Slovak Association of Animated Film Producers (APAF). Lecturer at the Animation Film Department in Bratislava.

Ulrich Michel

Ulrich is recommended by Best Lawyers Germany as a leading expert in Germany for arbitration, mediation, media law and intellectual property. JUVE, Legal500 Germany and Media Law refer to him as a highly recommended lawyer in the field of media. He has wide experience in advising national and international media clients on all sector specific issues – the financing, production and exploitation of film and television. He is a lecturer of media law at the University of Film and Television “Konrad Wolf” in Potsdam-Babelsberg and for conflict resolution at the Frankfurt School of Finance. He trained as a mediator in the United States and Germany and has for many years been acting as a mediator and legal advisor in numerous mediation and arbitration proceedings in the United States and in Germany. Ulrich Michel is a certified NLP master, business coach and trainer.

Ana Nedeljković

Ana Nedeljković is a visual artist, animator, director and lecturer. Her first film “Rabbitland” (2013) was awarded the Crystal Bear at the Berlinale. It has also received numerous other awards and has been shown at more than a hundred festivals worldwide. Her second film “Untravel” (2018) was selected for Berlinale and Sundance, and nominated for the Annie Award.

Martina Peštaj

Martina Peštaj is the Head of Children’s and Youth Programme at RTV Slovenija, where she has worked for a number of years as a creator, editor, and scriptwriter. She is a selector for foreign animation and life-action series for
children. As a Media Psychologist, she manages the Research Laboratory for analysing children’s programmes in different target groups. She collaborates with Logout – Center for Digital Addiction Help and Treatment, Slon educational programme as part of Animateka International Animated Film Festival in Ljubljana, and Animafest Zagreb as a selector for the children’s programme. Her role as a TV expert allows her to regularly collaborate with the Slovenian Ministry of Culture on various cultural and art programmes in the field of media education. She gives lectures about children, TV, film, and internet, publishes articles, and participates in research projects.

Igor Prassel

Igor Prassel was born in 1971 in the Slovenian coast town Koper-Capodistria. From 2002 he is running a monthly series devoted to animated film at the Slovenian Cinematheque, where he is currently working as film curator. He served as a jury and program selection member at important international animation and short film festivals around the world. From 2010 he is lecturing on the history and theory of animation film at the University in Nova Gorica. In 2012 the Slovenian Cinematheque published his book “The Filmography of Slovene Animated Film 1952 – 2012”. In 2004 he founded the International Animation Film Festival Animateka (www.animateka.si), where he is since the artistic director.

Kolja Saksida

Kolja Saksida received his Master’s degree in Film Studies from the ECAL University of Art and Design, Lausanne. He works as a director, producer and teacher. His animated series Koyaa – Wild Life was screened with success on the national Radio Television Slovenia throughout 2005. Kolja also realized the short puppet animated films Kiddo – Slingshot, Koyaa the Extraordinary, Koyaa – Flower / Naughty Toy Car / Flying Workbook / Dancing Socks / Silly Stickers / Freezing Scarf / Wild Sunbed and the animated film Azulejo or visual illusion created in mixed technique. His films were shown at more than 250 international film festivals, televisions and other venues worldwide. Kolja is a mentor at the animation workshops for children, youth and adults. He is an assistant professor at the School of Arts, University of Nova Gorica, and the director of the production company ZVVIKS.

Tina Smrekar

Tina Smrekar is co-founder of and producer at Finta Studio, realising several short animated films by Špela Čadež, together with the author. Since 2015 Tina is a board member of the Slovenian Animated Film Association that is very active in connecting animation professionals in the Central and Eastern European Region. Tina is also involved in developing young talent as Assistant Professor at the University of Nova Gorica School of Arts and since 2018 Ambassador of the Emile Animation Awards.

Martin Vandas

Martin Vandas worked as a producer at MAUR film since 2003. He was a delegate producer and head of development of the co-production of Of Unwanted Things and People, a stop-motion children’s animated film. He is a lecturer at FAMU, a financial and content expert for the Czech Film Fund and Slovak Audiovisual Fund, a member
of the European Film Academy and a founding member of ASAF (and its first chairman). He is currently producing his eighth feature film, as well as many shorts and 30 episodes of an animated series for The Czech Academy of
Sciences.