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 and breakdown of what will be covered during the Masterschool training programme:

• January 2021
Fifteen of the submitted projects are selected for the Masterschoo by an international selection committee and interviewed via Skype

• February - March 2021
The teams receive intense mentoring to prepare for the first workshop

• March/June/August/October 2021
The teams are invited to four intensive residential workshops connected to international industry events; interlaced by additional webinars

• October 2021
At the pitching forum - the Leipzig Networking Days - the teams present their fully developed projects to leading commissioning editors and buyers from around the world

• November/December 2020
Teams are debriefed and assisted in designing their finance and outreach strategies

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 2020:

Selection committee for the Masterschool 2020

Mohammed Belhaj, Qatar
EP of In House Production | Production Department / Al Jazeera

Nils Bökamp, Berlin
Commissioning Editor, Netflix

Claudia Bucher, Strasbourg
Commissioning Editor / ARTE

Tijana Djukic, London
Head of Sales and Acquisitions / Taskovski Films

Tomas Lindh, Stockholm
Head of Development SVT Umeå, SVT

Jane Mote, London
Consultant Editor / The Whickers

Lisa Reisch, Berlin
Head of Development / VICE Studios

Heidi Tao Yang, Toronto
Industry Funds Manager / Hot Docs – Canadian International Documentary Festival

Dr. Claudia Schreiner, Leipzig
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:

Adam Gee
Adam Gee is a Commissioning Editor at Red Bull Media House, focusing on fresh talent. He is also the first Commissioning Editor of original programming at Little Dot Studios/‘Real Stories’ documentary channel. Previously he was a long-time Commissioning Editor at Channel 4 (UK). He specialises in short form & online video, multiplatform TV and digital interactivity.

He has won over 90 international awards for his productions, including 5 BAFTAs, an Emmy, 3 Royal Television Society awards and the Grand Award at the New York International Film & Television Festival. ‘Missed Call’ won the 2019 TV BAFTA for Best Short Form Programme. Adam has served on BAFTA’s Television and Interactive Entertainment committees, and is a voting member of the European Film Academy. He has taught at the Royal College of Art, the National Film & Television School and NYU. He is an Honorary Fellow of NUA (Norwich University of the Arts).

He has been a big supporter of and connected with Documentary Campus for many years in different capacities since his time at Channel 4.

Faraz Osman
Faraz Osman has over 15 years experience in TV, online and media production, working across International Emmy, BAFTA, BIMA and Broadcast award winning content for broadcasters and brands. He devised the creative and Exec Produced BBC Radio 1 Teen Awards, Disney Channel Access All Areas: Unlocked!, Channel 4's Two Players, Shell's Reverse Engineers, Snapchat's Hotline Tings, Red Bull's Culture Clash, the Apple Music Festival and Beats 1 Video. He also Exec Produced two series of the award winning music and culture show, Four To The Floor.
Previously Faraz was Editor of Education at Channel 4, commissioning the Emmy award winning Battlefront, E4's highest rated documentary Don't Blame Facebook and working with UK Parliament to deliver SB:TV’s groundbreaking DB8.

In 2018, Faraz launched Gold Wala, a creative production company that celebrates diversity and delivers premium content with purpose. Clients include the BBC, Channel 4, Bulgari, Ford and Mind Mental Health.

Faraz also sits on the board at the BAFTA Children's Committee, is part of Ravensbourne College Media advisory committee, a lecturer at Goldsmiths College, a judge for BAFTA and Broadcast Magazine and a speaker for Sheffield Docfest, Children's Media Conference, Edinburgh TV Festival and the European Broadcast Union. He is also a regular media commentator for The Guardian, Broadcast Magazine and The Media Podcast.

Simon Staffans

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

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.
In 1998, Esther van Messel founded her own company First Hand Films in Zurich and Berlin for world sales of documentaries and fiction films. First Hand Films acts as executive producer for selected projects. Since 2013, the company releases also films in Swiss theatres, like CITIZENFOUR and DIE MIGRANTIGEN.
Esther van Messel has been working as a lecturer and consultant for various organizations like EAVE Brussels, IDFA Amsterdam, Cinemart Rotterdam, Eurodoc, Documentary Campus, the Filmakademie Ludwigsburg, the Erich Pommer Institut, the Swiss Federal Office for Culture and the Austrian Parliament, a.o.

Workshop Trainers

Joëlle Alexis, Edit Next Door, Israel

Mark Atkin, Crossover Labs, UK

Antje Boehmert, DOCDAYS productions, Germany

Bruni Burres, Sundance Institute, USA

Jan Bullerdieck, Freelance Producer, Germany

Rudy Buttignol, Knowledge Network, Canada

Mads Damsbo, Makropol, Denmark

Adam Gee, Real Stories - Adam Gee, Red Bull Media House, London/Salzburg & Little Dot Studios, London/LA

Gitte Hansen, First Hand Films, Switzerland

Elizabeth Klinck, Visual Research, Canada

Uri Kranot, Ani:Dox, Denmark

Hazel Marshall, Hazel Marshall Story, United Kingdom

Katrin Nandelstaedt, Media Coach, Germany

Faraz Osman, Gold Wala, United Kingdom

Leena Pasanen, Biografilm, Italy

Dr. Stefan Ruell, Lawyer, Germany

Claudia Schreiner, Head of Studies Masterschool, Germany

Simon Staffans, ReThink - New Media Solutions, Finland

Christiane Stuerenberg, Saxonia Entertainment, Germany

Stefano Tealdi, Stefilm, Italy

Paul Tyler, Story Consultant, Denmark

Paula Vaccaro, Pinball London, United Kingdom

Esther van Messel, First Hand Films, Switzerland


Mohammed Belhaj, Al Jazeera Documentary Channel, Qatar

Claudia Bucher, ARTE, France

Mandy Chang, BBC, United Kingdom

Tijana Djukic, Taskovski Films, United Kingdom

Ryan Harrington, National Geographic, USA

Christina Herßebroick, MDR, Germany

Marita Huebinger, ARTE, Germany

Hanka Kastalicova, HBO Europe, Czech Republic

Laurène Mansuy, ARTE, France

Tom Matzek, ORF, Austria

Dirk Neuhoff, NDR, Germany

Leena Pasanen, Biografilm, Italy

Sonja Scheider, BR, Germany

Kay Siering, Spiegel TV, Germany

Heidi Tao Yang, Hot Docs - Canadian International Documentary Festival, Canada