Leena Pasanen started her career as a journalist in print media before joining YLE in 1993, where she worked as a reporter, political commentator, TV presenter and Head of Documentaries for YLE TV1. In 2000 she was appointed Head of Programmes with responsibility for cultural, factual and actional programmes at YLE Teema. She stayed with the channel until November 2005, when she started working as Director of EDN, the European Documentary Network in Copenhagen, Denmark. From 2011 to 2014 she worked in Budapest, Hungary, heading the Finnish Institute and also serving as cultural attaché at the Finnish Embassy in Budapest. She worked as Managing and Festival Director of DOK Leipzig from 2015 to 2019, before becoming Festival Director of Biografilm Festival in Bologna, Italy.