Jonas Mekas was born in 1922, in the farming village of Semeniškiai, Lithuania. He and his brother Adolfas were taken by the Nazis in 1944 to a forced labor camp in Elmshorn, Germany. After the war he studied philosophy at the University of Mainz. At the end of 1949, the UN Refugee Organization brought Jonas and Adolfas to New York City, where they settled in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Two months after his arrival in New York, he borrowed money to buy his first Bolex camera and began to record brief moments of his life. He soon became deeply involved in the American Avant-Garde film movement. In 1954, together with his brother, he started Film Culture magazine, which soon became the most important film publication in the US. In 1958 he started his legendary “Movie Journal” column for the Village Voice. He founded the Film-Makers' Cooperative in 1962, and two years later, in 1964, the Film-Makers' Cinematheque, which eventually grew into Anthology Film Archives—one of the world's largest and most important repositories of avant-garde cinema. During this time he continued to write poetry and make films. He published more than 20 books of prose and poetry, which have been translated into over a dozen languages. His Lithuanian poetry is now considered classic Lithuanian literature, and his films can be found in leading museums around the world. He is largely credited for developing the diarist form of cinema. Mekas has also been active as an academic, teaching at the New School for Social Research, the International Center for Photography, Cooper Union, New York University and MIT.
Stefano Liberti is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. He is a contributor to many European magazines, such as Internazionale, Le monde diplomatique, El Pais, and Al Jazeera English. As a filmmaker, he has directed many movies, as well as many features for TV and radio.
Enrico Parenti is an Italian-American filmmaker who has lived in the UK, Brazil and the US. He studied filmmaking in Barcelona. Since 2004, he has made documentaries, short films, music videos, and worked regularly with Italian and foreign television broadcasters. His feature-length documentary, Standing Army, was aired by fifteen television broadcasters, including Al Jazeera, Rt-TV, Fox, Zdf and the History Channel. His documentary, Container 158, was funded by the Open Society Foundation and won three awards for best documentary.
When Tomatoes Met Wagner
Marianna Economou studied anthropology, photojournalism and film production in London. Since 2000, she has directed and produced documentary series and independent films, in co-production with European broadcasters such as the BBC, ARTE and YLE.
Jacek Nagłowski is a film producer, director, and member of the Polish Film Academy. His documentary film, Gugara (2008), was selected by the Cannes Film Festival and was purchased for the Centre Pompidou collection in Paris. In 2012, he co-founded Circus Digitalis, a company focused on VFX, 3D imaging solutions and virtual reality.
White Right: Meeting the Enemy
Deeyah Khan is an Emmy and Peabody award-winning documentary film director. In 2016, she became the first UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for artistic freedom and creativity. Her documentary, Banaz: A Love Story (2012), chronicles the life and death of a young, British Kurdish woman murdered by her family in a so-called honor killing. Khan's second film, Jihad, involved two years of filming with Islamic extremists, convicted terrorists and former jihadis. Khan has also produced a number of critically-acclaimed albums, including Listen to the Banned, a compilation that brought together musicians from around the world who have been subject to persecution, censorship and imprisonment.
Youngest ever Resident of the prestigious Canadian Film Centre Directors Lab, Slater Jewell-Kemker has been making films since she was six. An award-winning filmmaker and climate activist, Slater has been featured by Forbes twice: once for her ten year documentary feature on the rise of the global youth climate movement Youth Unstoppable, and another for her CFC short film Still which explores domestic violence and infatuation. Slater is also an accomplished speaker and frequently is invited to speak on film and climate change panels to represent the voice of youth, in addition to giving filmmaking workshops to teenagers.
Minding the Gap
Bing Liu is a Chicago-based director and cinematographer. His 2018 documentary Minding the Gap has earned several award recognitions since its world premiere at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. He is a segment director on America To Me, a documentary series examining racial inequities in the US education system. He was a member of the International Cinematographers Guild for seven years. Liu holds a BA in Literature from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Mika Johnson is a multimedia artist, concentrating on designing virtual reality experiences. Johnson also directs AR projects, music videos, commercials, and fiction and documentary films. Johnson has presented, lectured, and taught workshops across Europe and North America. Based in Prague, Johnson teaches workshops and classes at FAMU International and Prague Film School. He is also a member of the New York City based trio MomenTech: a multiplatform experimental production studio devoted to transnational progressivism, post-humanism, neo-nomadism and futurism.
Matangi / Maya / M.I.A.
Stephen Loveridge is a digital artist and filmmaker from London. MATANGI / MAYA / M.I.A. is his first documentary feature.
Péter Hegedűs is an award-winning filmmaker and academic whose films have received critical acclaim and have been broadcast around the world. After establishing his production company, Soul Vision Films, he made Inheritance: A Fisherman’s Story, based on an ecological disaster in Hungary. The film was shortlisted for the 2003 Academy Awards. He is currently program director for the Master of Screen Production program at Griffith Film School, in Brisbane, Australia.