Guests - SIFF 2022

Wim Vanscker
The head of short film competition jury

After studying psychology in Belgium, Wim Vanacker moved to Dublin to work as a psychologist in the field of drug addiction. Three years later, he picked up studying again at EICAR where he made
two shorts : Endgame and The Naked leading the Blind. After graduating, he discovered NISI MASA –
European Network of Young Cinema where he became the Head of the Script Department and the
Project manager of the MEDIA funded project, European Short Pitch. Furthermore, he’s a member of
🌴the Selection Committee for the Official Short Film Competition of the Cannes Film Festival and he works as the Editorial Consultant for the First Cut Lab. On the side, he works as a script consultant,
creative advisor, programmer, tutor and guest speaker for many workshops, film festivals and projects
in development. As a writer/director, he’s currently developing the films [ˈsɪə.ri.əl ] and Psycho

Martina Bleis
An expert on co-productions and markets, project presentation, pitching and development

She was born in Walsrode, Germany and studied applied cultural sciences in Lüneburg. In addition to completing her MA, she is also a graduate of the EAVE Producers Workshop, the EAVE Marketing Workshop and she is a member of the European Film Academy.
She is one of the initial members, and serves today as Head of the Berlinale Co-Production Market. In this position, she is, among other tasks, responsible for the Official Project selection of feature film projects and the Co-Pro Series selection of drama series projects.
She has worked for the Berlin International Film Festival since 2001.
In addition, she consults as a curatorial advisor and mentor at international training and co- production initiatives – in particular for up-and-coming producers and directors developing
feature film projects. Among others, she has worked for connecting Cottbus since 2011 as Programmer ; Pitching advisor, she has tutored at both Mediterranean Film Institute and at Odesa Film Industry Office, moderated the project pitching sessions at New Nordic Films Haugesund, and lectured at EAVE on Demand, TRT 12 Punto and Cariforum workshops, among others.
About connecting cottbus:
connecting cottbus (coco) is an East West co-production market and a networking platform
focusing on Eastern European cinema during the FilmFestival Cottbus.
We select 13 feature film projects in development and 6 works in progress / post-production.
These are presented to a professional audience of experienced producers, buyers,
commissioning editors, world sales and financiers. Projects must have a connection to
Eastern Europe in subject or production context.


Alena Shumakova
Correspondent for Russia and Eastern Europe at Quinzaine des Réalisateurs in Cannes and as Consul Ent at Turin Film Festival.

working as Consultant for Est Europa film selection at several film festivals. She started in 2002 at AlpeAdria Film Festival and Scienceplusfiction in Trieste, Italy. From 2004 to 2011 she was
Corrispondent for Eastern Europe for Venice IFF and from 2012 to 2015 film selector at Rome IFF.
She is also an ajunct professor at MIREES, Bologna State University. From 2016 she has worked at
Beijing IFF, Silk Road (Fuzhou) IFF, Macao IFF, Pingyao IFF. During 2002-2018, she
has also curated different retrospective of the films belonging to the former Soviet area for Venice
Biennale Cinema, Locarno IFF, Lisbona and Estoril FF. She has taken part in various juries for the
cinema of her area.

Freddy Olsson

1987 he started to work for Göteborg Film Festival, for many years he was chairman of the festival Göteborg is an annual film festival in Gothenburg, Sweden and the largest film event in Scandinavia. Nowadays he travels the world as Senior programmer. But he also makes a few films. One to remember is THE MILL AND THE CROSS, director Lech Majewski, with Charlotte Rampling and the late Rutger Hauer in front of the camera. In addition he is Acquisitions Consultant for Folkets Bio, an independent distributor in Sweden with more than 20 cinemas around the country. He also try to help her friends at the Antalya Golden Orange Film Festival as International Advisor

Nikolaj Nikitin
SOFA Head of Studies and Director

Nikolaj Nikitin is the Artistic Director of
the Palic European Film Festival and a Senior Programmer at the Tallinn Black
Nights Film Festival. Nikolaj has been a delegate to the Berlin Film Festival for
18 years and has been working for the past two and a half decades as a film
curator and critic for numerous film festivals around Europe and the Goethe-
Institut. The founder of the independent German film magazine »Schnitt«
(1995) and the film editing festival Filmplus (2001) has been a member of many
international co production juries, advises European funding bodies, lectures and
teaches at film schools and film festivals around the world.
Nikolaj lives in Berlin and is member of EFA, FIPRESCI as well as a General
Assembly member of CINEUROPA.


A programmer, film hunter, industry expert, member of the European Film Academy, festival
traveller, freelance reporter and always curious cinephile. After 15 years of programming,
coordinating, scheduling for the Vilnius International Film Festival ( he now
watches films, scouts and advises for BLACK NIGHTS Film Festival in Tallinn from 2018.

Carmen Gray

Carmen Gray is a freelance arts journalist, film critic and programmer who was born in New Zealand and lives in Berlin. She has written on cinema, often focused on Eastern Europe and the Caucasus, for The New York Times, Criterion, The Guardian, The Observer, Sight & Sound, Screen International, and ArtReview, among others. She was previously the Film Editor of Dazed & Confused magazine in London. She is on the selection committees of the Generation section of the Berlin International Film Festival and the Winterthur International Short Film Festival, and is a programme adviser for Open City Docs. She also works as an industry adviser for First Cut Lab.

Christophe Leparc

Christopher Leparc is Secretary General of Director’s Fortnight , Cannes Film Festival

Member of the LUX Selection Panel in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2021
He had been involved in the festivals organization and selection since 1991. Previously at the Critics’ Week, Mr Leparc has been working for the Directors’ Fortnight since 2008, in search of the new directors. He is also the director of Cinemed, Mediterranean film festival of Montpellier.