Valentin Thurn was born in 1963 in Stuttgart, Germany. He is married and has three children. Thurn has directed and authored television documentaries for the national German channels ARD and ZDF, the French-German channel Arte, the international channels Deutsche Welle TV and Transtel, the regional channels SWR, WDR, NDR, BR, ORB and HR, and the Swiss Television, DRS. In 2003 he founded the film production company, THURN FILM, in Cologne, Germany. Thurn has written radio features and articles for magazines such as Die Woche, Die Zeit, Natur & Kosmos, and Merian. He has also published the books WüstenErde on desertification, Klassenfeind Natur on environment in Eastern Europe, and the Directory of Environmental NGOs in Central and Eastern Europe. He has taught at international congresses and workshops including: the Goethe Institute in Bombay, India; Foundation Miguel Alemán in Mexico City; Ecotourism congresses in Johannesburg, South Africa; Guayaquil, Ecuador; RTL Journalistenschule in Germany; Ecopresscenter in Macedonia; Third World Journalists Network in Germany; The Ethics in Economy Network of Germany; Fachhochschule Köln (University Cologne, Germany); and the 2008 International Congress of Investigative Journalists in Lillehammer, Norway. Thurn has served as a member of the founding board of the International Federation of Environmental Journalists (IFEJ), and Secretary General from 1993 until 2001. He is also a member of Reporters Without Borders, Netzwerk Recherche (investigative reporter’s network), and AGDOK (the German association of documentary filmmakers).
Miners Shot Down
Rehad Desai completed a history degree at the University of Zimbabwe, where he lived for three years. In 1996 Rehad entered the television and film industry as a Producer/Director and has since focused most of his energy on documentary productions, many of which have received critical acclaim . In 1997 he completed his Masters Degree in Social History at the University of the Witwatersrand. In 2000 he completed a postgraduate degree in television and film producing through AVEA, and in 2009 he completed a course in European Documentary Production through Eurodoc. He currently runs Uhuru Productions, a film and TV company producing documentaries and dramas, and has served as the Festival Director of the Tri Continental Film Festival for the last 10 years, and the Conference Director of the People to People International Documentary Conference.
Jo Müller was born and raised in Essen, and graduated from Gymnasium Essen-Werden in 2011. His first experiences in visual media were gathered through his internships with a photography studio and television production company. In 2012 he did a voluntary year of social work, living and working in the Dominican Republic, and upon his return to Germany, took up studies in cinematography at ifs international filmschule köln. Müller graduated with a Bachelor of Arts specialized in Visual Arts. His first short films, Sockenwäsche (2014, 5’) and Update Required (2016, 3’), animated films, allowed him to try out the roles of writer and director. His first feature-length film, Aislado (82’), completed in 2016, is a documentary film he spent three months filming in the Dominican Republic. He has worked at bildundtonfabrik (btf) in Cologne since September 2016.
Zoltan M. Geller was born 1991 in Sombor (Serbia), but was raised in the beautiful provinces of Southern Germany. After his high school graduation he voluntarily served in the civilian service for six months at a school for disabled children. After an internship as an assistant cameraman at a Munich-based production company he started an internship in the editing department, where he discovered his dedication to film editing. In 2012 he attended the study program, “Editing Picture And Sound“, at ifs international film school in Cologne, and graduated with a BA in 2016. Since 2016, he has worked as a freelance film editor and member of the German film editors association BFS.
As a director, de Pencier’s credits include the feature documentary Four Wings and a Prayer, about the migration of the Monarch butterfly which won the Grand Prix Pariscience, the Banff Rockie Award for best Wildlife and Natural History Program, the Jules Verne Nature Award, and was nominated for Geminis for best Science Documentary, Best Cinematography and Best Direction in addition to an Emmy nomination for the PBS NOVA version. In 2004, de Pencier was nominated for a Gemini for Best Direction for his performance film Streetcar, while the film’s lead, Peter Chin, won for Best Performance. The film was also nominated for a Banff Rockie Award.
Kirsten Johnson has worked as an independent documentary cinematographer and director committed to human rights questions and visual creativity since 1989. She is the principal cinematographer on over 40 feature--length documentaries and has been credited on countless others as “Additional Camera." She directed “The Above” which premiered at the New York Film Festival as a part of The Intercept’s Field of Vision launch, spearheaded by Laura Poitras. Her collaboration with Poitras is longstanding, credited as cinematographer on the Oscar- winning “Citizenfour,” the upcoming series "Asylum" on Julien Assange, has shot footage that will be appear in Poitras' new visual work for her Spring 2016 solo show of at the Whitney Museum, and shared the 2012 Sundance Cinematography Award with Poitras for “The Oath.” She is also a long-time collaborator with Amy Ziering and Kirby Dick, shooting the Oscar- nominated “The Invisible War,” “Outrage,” “This Film is Not Yet Rated” and “Derrida.” In 2004, “Deadline,” which she co--directed with Katy Chevigny, premiered at Sundance, was broadcast on primetime NBC, and won the Thurgood Marshall Award. Her first documentary feature, “Innocent Until Proven Guilty” premiered at the Berlin Film Festival, which later appeared on HBO. Her cinematography is featured in “Fahrenheit 9/11,” the Oscar--nominated short by Sandy McLeod "Asylum,” the Emmy winners “Ladies First” and “We Came to Testify,” Tribeca Winner “Pray the Devil Back to Hell” and Sundance premiere documentaries, including “A Place at the Table” and “American Standoff,” among others. “Cameraperson” is her third feature--length documentary as a director. Her early experiences filmmaking were shaped by an invitation to work with Djibril Diop Mambety and Ousmane Sembene in West Africa, inspiring her to apply to the French National Film School (La Femis), where she studied cinematography. Throughout her career, the films she has shot have won and been nominated for Academy Awards, won major festival audience awards and been seen by tens of millions of people. She teaches a class in “Visual Thinking” at the NYU Graduate Journalism Department, a course in cinematography at SVA, and often leads workshops for young camerapeople and documentarians under the auspices of the Arab Art and Culture Fund in countries such as Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia.
Calling Mr. Smith
Sarah Pucill has been making 16mm short films since completing her MA at the Slade School of Art in 1990. Her publicly-funded films have screened worldwide in galleries, and have won awards at international festivals. Her first feature-length film in black and white, Magic Mirror (2013), premiered at Tate Modern, toured internationally with LUX and was exhibited with photographs from the film at The Nunnery Gallery 2015. Her sequel to Magic Mirror, Confessions to the Mirror (2016), also shot on 16mm, premiered at London Film Festival and has since screened at international film festivals and museum galleries including the Alchemy Film Festival, Creteil Film Festival, National Portrait Gallery, and White Cube Gallery London. She has a doctorate and is Reader at University of Westminster. A forthcoming chapter on her recent films on Cahun will be published by Palgrave Macmillian, edited by V. Smith and N. Hamlin next year. Her work is collected and distributed through leading international distributors including LUX, The British Film Institute (BFI), and Light Cone Paris.