Timeline 2020

For the Masterschool 2020, we put special emphasis on:

• Animated documentary
• VR and digital technologies
• New business models & good practices
• Impact and Outreach
• Non-broadcast funding strategies

Here is a timeline and breakdown of what will be covered in each of the four Masterschool workshops:

• January 2020
Fifteen of the submitted projects are selected for the Masterschool;

• February 2020
The producer/director teams are interviewed via Skype before the first workshop;

• February - March 2020
The producer/director teams receive intense mentoring to prepare for the first workshop;

• March/June/August/October 2020
The teams are invited to four intensive 5-day workshops and trained to pitch their film ideas;

• October 2020
At the Leipzig Networking Days, the teams present their fully developed projects to leading commissioning editors from around the world;

• November 2020
In the Follow-Up Session after having pitched their project, the teams are debriefed about the Leipzig pitch results and assisted in designing their finance and outreach strategies.

Workshops & Experts 2020

ONLINE WORKSHOP due to Covid-19
Workshop 1: Storytelling | originally planned to take place in Copenhagen, Denmark

• Storytelling, Script and Treatment-Writing
• Narrative Strategies
• Traditional, Online and Virtual Reality
• Networking
• Audiences

The Masterschool participants come together for the first workshop in Copenhagen in March on the occasion of CPH:DOX and in cooperation with Anidox. Sessions will focus on different techniques aspects of storytelling as well as treatment preparation: such as animated documentary, virtual reality and cross-media working. Participants will focus on their projects in group work guided and instructed by industry experts.

Workshop Trainers:

Claudia Schreiner, Head of Studies Masterschool, Germany
Adam Gee, Real Stories - Adam Gee, Red Bull Media House, London/Salzburg & Little Dot Studios, London/LA
Esther van Messel, First Hand Films, Switzerland
Faraz Osman, Gold Wala, United Kingdom
Simon Staffans, ReThink - New Media Solutions, Finland
Hazel Marshall, Hazel Marshall Story, United Kingdom
Mads Damsbo, Makropol, Denmark
Uri Kranot, Anidox, Denmark

ONLINE WORKSHOP due to Covid-19
Workshop 2: Funding and Producing | Germany

• Storytelling
• Trailer Producing and Editing
• Archive & Clearances

In this workshop, dedicated experts will help the Participants fine-tune the elements of the projects they have been working on since Workshop 1. Different techniques and use of production tools will be presented and discussed. Materials covered are the treatment, trailer/sizzle and archive and clearance. By the end of the workshop, they will be well along the way to being ready to launch their ideas on the international market.

Workshop Trainers:

Claudia Schreiner, Head of Studies Masterschool, Germany
Adam Gee, Real Stories - Adam Gee, Red Bull Media House, London/Salzburg & Little Dot Studios, London/LA
Esther van Messel, First Hand Films, Switzerland
Faraz Osman, Gold Wala, United Kingdom
Simon Staffans, ReThink - New Media Solutions, Finland
Paul Tyler, Story Consultant, Denmark
Hazel Marshall, Hazel Marshall Story, United Kingdom
Elizabeth Klinck, Visual Research, Canada
Joëlle Alexis, Edit Next Door, Israel

Workshop 3: Impact, Distribution and Business Models | Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

• Financing & Funding Strategy
• Budgeting & Fundraising
• Multiplatform Strategy
• Impact Producing
• Online Marketing
• Legal Aspects of International Co-Productions
• Festival and International Distribution Strategy

In the third workshop the Participants will have the opportunity to learn about new business models, impact producing, digital marketing, online revenues and also legal aspects of production and coproductions. The workshop will focus on funding and producing strategies. Participants will be introduced to production requirements of broadcasters, online platforms and their professional expectations; work and criteria of distributors working on an international level; meeting with industry experts on a one-to-one basis and learn about possibilities getting funded by organizations, platforms and foundations. A combination of masterclasses and one-to-one meetings ensures that the participants are ready to go out with the best possible support in getting their films produced.

Workshop Trainers:

Claudia Schreiner, Head of Studies Masterschool, Germany
Adam Gee, Real Stories - Adam Gee, Red Bull Media House, London/Salzburg & Little Dot Studios, London/LA
Esther van Messel, First Hand Films, Switzerland
Faraz Osman, Gold Wala, United Kingdom
Simon Staffans, ReThink - New Media Solutions, Finland
Katrin Nandelstädt, Media Coach, Germany
Dr. Stefan Rüll, Lawyer, Germany
Joëlle Alexis, Edit Next Door, Israel
Further tba

Workshop 4: Pitching | Leipzig, Germany

• Pitching Training and Technical Preparation
• Finance Consultations after the Pitching Session

The fourth workshop focuses on pitching and selling the project. Participants will be introduced to tips, tricks and techniques presenting and talking in public, Some of the projects will be made public ahead on online platforms and social media inviting communities to respond, comment and ask questions which will be dealt with in the upcoming Leipzig Networking Days. The pitches will be trained and performed in groups and supervised by experienced professionals with international background. The final pitching event, the Leipzig Networking Days, is attended by some of the world's leading commissioning editors and the Participants' opportunity to showcase the culmination of all their work. The Masterschool will continue to provide support after the pitch, and show how the Participants can build long-lasting relationships with industry stakeholders, including commissioners.

Workshop Trainers:

Dates, locations and trainers are subject to change!


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.

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