Workshops & Experts 2021

“As an employer I have met many able film-makers on the course who have gone on to real success – and whether their individual film or series gets made – they talk about Masterschool as an invaluable space to grow creatively, gain confidence and establish a network. The international nature of the participants, tutors and programme locations make this stand-out, bringing together a valuable range of creative perspectives at a time when there are real opportunities in the genre and global documentary is having a renaissance."
Richard Bradley, CEO& Producer, Lion TV, UK

"The Masterschool training programme is distinctive in how it connects documentary industry professionals with filmmaking teams that need guidance, mentorship and feedback at a critical stage in their projects. The dynamic between tutors and tutees is geared to be incisive and tactical in how projects’ strengths and weaknesses are pinpointed – enabling each filmmaking team to continue to develop their stories knowing the full scope of their story’s potential."
Jose Rodriguez, Director of Documentary Programs, Tribeca Film Institute, USA

How the perfect Mix of Networking & Training works:

In residential Workshops and online Webinars the Masterschool offers the space for a combination of Lectures & Masterclasses, Group Workshops and individual consultations. Herein the Masterschool covers various aspects for a successful international co-production.

Training at our Workshops and Webinars give practical insight into and advice on:

• Storytelling, Script and Treatment-Writing
• Narrative Strategies
• Alternative Formats & New Audiences
• New Technologies (VR & AR)
• Audience Development
• Impact Producing
• Cross-Media & Online Marketing

• Pitching
• Trailer Production
• Archive & Clearances
• Legal Aspects of International Co-Productions

• Distribution, Sales & Festival Strategies
• International Markets & Funding Opportunities
• Financing & Funding Strategy
• Budgeting & International Co-Producing

Networking at our Industry Training Events in cooperation with international Markets & Festivals:

• Networking @ DOK Leipzig
• Networking @ Sarajevo Film Festival
• Networking @ CPH:DOX
• Networking @ Leipzig Networking Days
and many more

Here is a timeline of the Masterschool training programme 2021:

1st WORKSHOP (online)
Storytelling // Structure // Focus
March 16 – 22, 2021

Social Media // Impact & Outreach
April 22 – 25, 2021

2nd WORKSHOP (online)
Producing //Archives // Animation & VR // Teaser Conception
May 8 – 12, 2021

Markets & Festival Strategy // Business Models // Formats // Working with NGOs
June 28 – 30, 2021

3rd WORKSHOP (tba)
Budgeting// Legal Issues // Titles & Taglines // Teaser // Pitching
Mid-August 2021 (tba)

Buyers & Commissioning Editors
October 15, 2021

4th WORKSHOP (Leipzig, Germany)
Pitching // Presentation
October 18 – 21, 2021

Pitching Forum // Individual Meetings
October 22 – 24, 2021

5th WORKSHOP (Cologne, Germany)
Debrief // Funding & Sales Strategies
November 2021 (tba)

Each workshop takes place alongside an international industry event or market in a different European city and addresses a unique aspect of international (co-)production. Dates, locations and trainers are subject to change!

Please refer to the FAQ Section for further queries.


Dr. Claudia Schreiner, Head of Studies since 2018

Throughout her career as Head of Program Culture & Science at MDR – public broadcast channel ARD - Dr. Claudia Schreiner has been a strong and constant supporter of Documentary Campus. Since 2018 she has continued to shape the Masterschool as Head of Studies.


Each team will have a specially-chosen Mentor assigned, coming with extensive knowledge in storytelling. They will act as the team's trusted guide, advising on the best way to develop the idea to appeal to global audiences. An additional Digital Mentor will help selected participants form the cross media performance of their projects.


Each project will also have a Tutor, an industry commissioner or executive producer working for a broadcaster or digital platform. Their role is to bring the market intelligence to the project to ensure its relevance to and success in the international market. The Tutors are also there to help with networking opportunities.


The trainers are established experts in their field of interest and share their business knowledge in the intimate space of the workshop and webinars in lectures, group workshops and individual consultations.

Experts of the Masterschool Edition 2021:

Selection committee for the Masterschool 2021

Nils Bökamp, Germany
Commissioning Editor, Original Documentaries/ Netflix

Claudia Bucher, France
Commissioning Editor / ARTE

Caroline Haidacher, Austria
Commissioning Editor / ORF

Hanka Kastelicova, Czech Republic
Commissioning Editor / HBO Europe

Walter Köhler, Austria
CEO & Producer / Terra Mater

Jutta Krug, Germany
Commissioning Editor / WDR

Elise McCave, USA
Senior Director Film / Kickstarter

Jackie Murphy, UK
Commissioning Editor / Al Jazeera English Channel

Leena Pasanen, Italy
Director / Biografilm Festival

Kay Siering, Germany
CEO / Spiegel TV

Irena Taskovski, UK
CEO & Head of Acquisitions / Taskovski Films

Dr. Claudia Schreiner, Germany
Head of Studies, Documentary Campus Masterschool


Mentors work very closely with the Participants during the development phase of their projects. The three mentors each work with five projects. The role of the Mentor is to guide the Participants and help them shape their projects to enure they are suitable for the international market, including international audience appeal, commissioner and other financier appeal. Mentors also provide the Participants with the necessary know-how and networking skills to help them work internationally in the future.

An additional Digital Mentor will help selected participants form the cross media performance of their projects.

The mentors, tutors and experts are subject to change each year. The mentors of the Masterschool 2020 are:

Nic Guttridge, UK

Nic Guttridge is a documentary executive producer and story consultant, and chair of Directors UK’s factual committee. A BAFTA nominated and shortlisted director with over 20 years experience as a frontline filmmaker, Nic has helped steer more than 70 productions to safety, and now works with production companies and independent filmmakers to maximise the impact of their ideas and rushes – on projects ranging from short films for online release to feature documentaries for major streaming platforms.

Derren Lawford, UK

As Creative Director at Woodcut Media, Derren is responsible for development and strategy, securing commissions, co-production and programme finance opportunities both domestically and internationally alongside CEO, Kate Beal. Derren has also played a pivotal role as Executive Producer on Woodcut’s talent and access led documentaries including Fiennes: Return To The Nile, Jo Frost on Britain’s Killer Kids, Football: A Brief History by Alfie Allen, The Ivy and Idris Elba documentaries Cut From A Different Cloth and Mandela, My Dad and Me. Other key EP credits include the BFI supported feature documentary, Generation Revolution. He joined Woodcut Media from London Live where he was a multi-genre commissioner. Prior to that he worked at the BBC in various roles, including Head of Programming and Scheduling - Global iPlayer, Panorama’s Multiplatform Editor and Multiplatform Executive Producer for the award-winning Our War. Derren is also a board member of Sheffield Doc/Fest and One World Media.

Simon Staffans, Finland

Simon Staffans is an award-winning format and content developer working in Finland. Over a distinguished career he has created everything from TV shows to social media strategies and corporate storytelling campaigns. His knowledge of multiplatform storytelling and transmedia development has taken him around the world for speaking engagements, workshop facilitation and international consultancy. His insightful articles have been published in numerous journals and academic papers and he is an avid blogger on his website Evolving Media. He holds a Bachelors degree in Social Sciences, looking into how storytelling can affect people’s willingness to participate in scientific surveys.

Currently, Simon is the CEO of ReThink – New Media Solutions, a production and innovation company. Additionally, he has his own company Storista through which he channels innovative projects in the multi-platform arena. Previously he worked for MediaCity Finland as a media strategist, content developer and producer.

Esther van Messel, Switzerland

Born 1965 in Vienna, lives in Switzerland and holds a Bachelor’s degree in film & television production and in history from the University of Tel Aviv. In 1990, she joined Warner Bros. Israel and became Head of Distribution. From 1992 she produced international feature films and documentaries as Head of Co-Production and Sales for an independent production company in Zurich. Since 1998, Esther van Messel runs her own company FIRST HAND FILMS in Zurich and Berlin. FHF represents around 300 hand-picked films and 200 producers from all over the world and acts as Executive Producer for selected projects. FHF is present at all major festivals around the year, produces, sells and also distributes films theatrically in Swiss cinemas. Esther van Messel has been working as a lecturer and consultant for various organizations like EAVE, IDFA Amsterdam, Cinemart Rotterdam, Eurodoc, Filmakademie Ludwigsburg, the Erich Pommer Institut, the Swiss Federal Office for Culture and the Austrian Parliament, a.o.

Workshop Trainers 2021

Joëlle Alexis, Edit Next Door, Israel

Mark Atkin, Crossover Labs, UK

Bruni Burres, Sundance Institute, USA

Jan Bullerdieck, Freelance Producer, Germany

Rudy Buttignol, Knowledge Network, Canada

Nils Bökamp, Boekamp & Kriegsheim, Germany

Adam Gee, Real Stories - Adam Gee, Red Bull Media House, UK/ Austria & Little Dot Studios, UK/ USA

Gitte Hansen, First Hand Films, Switzerland

Elina Kewitz, New Docs, Germany

Elizabeth Klinck, Visual Research, Canada

Uri Kranot, Ani:Dox, Denmark

Laura Longobardi, FIFDH, Switzerland

Hazel Marshall, Hazel Marshall Story, UK

Sarah Mosses, Together Films, UK

Katrin Nandelstaedt, Media Coach, Germany

Leena Pasanen, Biografilm, Italy

Jan Rofekamp, Films Transit International, Canada/ Greece

Dr. Stefan Rüll, Lawyer, Germany

Claudia Schreiner, Head of Studies Masterschool, Germany

Simon Staffans, ReThink - New Media Solutions, Finland

Stefano Tealdi, Stefilm, Italy

Paul Tyler, Story Consultant, Denmark

Paula Vaccaro, Pinball London, United Kingdom

More to be announced.


Bruni Burres, Sundance Film Festival, USA

Kay Siering, Spiegel TV, Germany

Jutta Krug, WDR, Germany

Dirk Neuhoff, NDR, Germany

Irena Taskovski, Taskovski Film, UK

Louise Rosen, Louise Rosen Ltd, USA

Laurène Mansuy, ARTE France, France

Adam Gee, Real Stories documentary channel, UK

Caroline Heidacher, ORF, Austria

Christina Hersebroick, MDR, Germany

Claudia Bucher, ARTE, France

Leena Pasanen, Biografilm Festival, Italy

Hanka Kastelicova, HBO Europe, Czech Republic

Marita Hübinger, ZDF, Germany

Sonja Scheider, BR, Germany