Arne Birkenstock is a writer, director and producer. He directed and produced numerous theatrical documentaries, such as 12 Tangos – Adios Buenos Aires (2005), Chandani: The Daughter of the Elephant Whisperer (2010), Sound of Heimat (2012), and Beltracchi: The Art of Forgery (2014). With his production company Fruitmarket, he develops and produces documentaries, series and interactive transmedia experiences with renowned directors as Milo Rau, Uli Gaulke, Enrique Sánchez Lansch, Yasemin Samdereli, Tonje Hesse Schei, Michael Madsen, Marcus Vetter, Florian Opitz, David Bernet, and others.
Recently Fruitmarket released Milo Rau’s The New Gospel (2020), selected for Venice, IDFA and Locarno. Other Fruitmarket productions were screened at many festivals including Berlin, Karlovy Vary, Locarno, HotDocs, DokLeipzig, CPH:Dox, Sheffield, Yamagata SXSW. As head of the documentary branch, Arne Birkenstock is a board member of the German Film Academy. He works as instructor and tutor in film schools and international training programs such as Eurodoc, DokTrain Russia and Docmonde Asia.
Claire Diao is a French-Burkinabe film critic and distributor. In 2013, she founded the short film touring program Quartiers Lointains. She co-founded the PanAfrican Film Critic Magazine AWOTELE in 2015, and has been CEO of the PanAfrican distribution company Sudu Connexion since 2016. In 2018, she received the Beaumarchais Medal from the French Authors’ Society SACD for her essay Double vague, le nouveau souffle du cinéma français.
Diao is a contributor to Le Cercle on the television channel Canal+ and the podcast L’Esprit critique on Mediapart. She is a member of the African Film Critic Federation, the Burkinabe Film Critic organization and collaborates with Durban Talents, Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival. In 2018 she joined the official selection committee of the Director’s Fortnight at Cannes Film Festival.
Elena Fortes is a creative producer, cultural strategist, and activist. She has been working in the documentary film industry for over 15 years. Between 2005 and 2016, Fortes served as the director of Ambulante, a non-profit organization which she co-founded with Gael García Bernal, Diego Luna, and Pablo Cruz, in order to support and promote a documentary film culture in Mexico. Ambulante’s multiple programs include Latin America’s largest touring documentary film festival, a filmmaking training program for underserved communities in Mexico, and an editorial division.
In 2017, Fortes co-founded the Mexico City-based production company No Ficción, with which she has produced films including Midnight Family (Luke Lorentzen, 2019), shortlisted for the 2020 Academy Awards, Vivos (Ai Weiwei), which premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, and A Cop Movie (Alonso Ruizpalacios), which premiered at the 2021 Berlinale and received a Silver Bear for Outstanding Contribution in Editing.
Jessica Kiang is a Berlin-based freelance film critic with regular bylines in Variety, The New York Times, The LA Times, Rolling Stone, Sight and Sound and The Playlist, where she was also Features Editor for five years. She has contributed booklet essays for Criterion, Music Box Films and the BFI, on subjects ranging from Cronenberg’s Crash to Bergman’s The Seventh Seal, and has attended film festivals on almost every continent—her fingers remain crossed for Antarctica.
She was a mentor on the 2018 Melbourne Film Festival Critics Campus and has served on festival juries from Akranes, Iceland to Cairo to Philadelphia, including adjudicating the Platform competition at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival, and the main competition at the 2021 BFI London Film Festival.
Ryan Krivoshey is the founder and president of Grasshopper Film, a distribution company dedicated to the release of independent cinema. Launched in 2015, the company has a library of over 350 titles, featuring Academy Award nominees and winners, festival prize-winners, and films from leading U.S. and international filmmakers.
Prior to starting Grasshopper, Krivoshey led the Cinema Guild for thirteen years as its Director of Distribution. He has released groundbreaking documentaries such as Leviathan (Lucien Castaing-Taylor & Verena Paravel, 2012), Black Mother (Khalik Allah, 2018), Marwencol (Jeff Malmberg, 2010), and Last Men in Aleppo (Feras Fayyad, 2017), and collaborated with filmmakers such as Agnès Varda, Tsai Ming-liang, Bela Tarr, Christian Petzold, Matthew Barney, and Claire Denis. Ryan is the founder and CEO of Projectr, a new streaming and virtual cinema platform that presents a curated and ever-expanding collection of titles that proudly amplify diverse and daring voices from around the world.