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Meet the CIRCLE 2022 participants

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Kristina Mikhailova (Kazakhstan)


Kristina is a young director, producer and researcher from Kazakhstan. Facing many challenges as an independent filmmaker, she firmly engages in her unique hybrid genre. She is taking the first steps towards realizing her dream to break down the wall of stagnation in documentary cinema and legitimize the diversity of genres of documentary films, such as hybrid, creative doc, doc animation, etc. for the Central Asian region. Currently Kristina is going to make a full-length debut in hybrid form.

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Milica Djenić (Serbia)


Milica Djenic, born 1985 in Belgrade, Yugoslavia. Graduated in film and television directing from the Faculty of Dramatic Arts in Belgrade. In 2011 she was a DAAD scholarship holder at the Braunschweig University of the Arts. Milica is the director of several short fiction and documentary films that have been screened at international film festivals. Her short documentary "Guilty" received a special mention at ZagrebDox. She is a cinematographer on two documentaries and director on several music videos. She also worked in the editorial team of the VoD platform and on several TV projects.

"Tale of the plum spirit" is Milica's first feature-length film as a director.

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Martha Bouziouri (Greece)

Martha is a Greek documentary theatre maker and social anthropologist (PhD). She is also the co-founder of the production company PLAYS2PLACE and the Artistic Director of the International Network of Documentary Theatre (INDT). She has been supported by CENTQUATRE and the Cité Internationale des Arts as a resident artist. Her work has been presented in Greek and international festivals and institutions (Athens & Epidaurus Festival, Greek National Theatre, Onassis Youth Festival, Athens Biennale, Thessaloniki Documentary Festival, Chantiers d'Europe - Théâtre de la Ville, Warsaw Biennale, Warsaw Museum of Modern Art, Wiesbaden Biennale and more). Martha is currently developing her debut feature documentary.

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Paloma Zapata (Spain)

Degree in Fine Arts and master in Creative Documentary, in 2008 she established her production company in Barcelona: La Fábrica Naranja. For more than a decade, she developed a career as music video director between London and Barcelona, and her work in advertising also stands out. In 2016 she directed and produced the documentary feature film "Casamance", which toured international labs and markets. In 2018 she premiered “Yo soy la rumba”, a documentary co-produced with TVE and TV3, which toured festivals such as BAFICI or the Yalta International Festival (Russia ) where she received the Prize of the Ministry of Culture, awarded by Nikita Mijalkov. With a career always linked to music, her films are broadcast on Movistar +, Al Jazeera, TVE and TV3, and since 2020 she has been working in the direction of new projects, such as "Finding la Singla", a project that received a grant from CREATIVE EUROPE MEDIA and the highest score in the selective fund from the Spanish Film Institute in 2020.

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Polina Kelm (Ukraine)

Polina Kelm was born in Kyiv. She graduated from Kyiv National I.K. Karpenko-Kary Theatre, Cinema and TV University as a film director in 2010. Works with fiction and documentary. Polina played as an actress in the documentary-experimental film by A.Balagura “Lifespan Of The Object In Frame” (special mention at the FIDMarseille) in 2012. Her documentary "Positive", a short selected for DOK Leipzig and HotDocs.
Also "Positive" was nominated in the category Best Short Documentary, Silver Eye Award, Jihlava IDFF, 2014. The next documentary project "The Elf’s Tower’"was supported by IDFA Bertha Fund and received two awards at the Beldocs in Progress, 2020:  VOD free visibility award by Cinesquare VoD platform for movies from the South-eastern European countries; East Silver Caravan Award for"a very sensitive story destroying all taboos about mental health".

Polina is one of the founders of the Ukrainian Guild of Directors and a member of Documentary Association of Europe. She created a laboratory to support Ukrainian documentarians with their project at the development stage – UkrDocLab, in 2021. The first session was held by Mikael Opstrup with the support of the Ukrainian Cultural Fund.


Rachel Close (United Kingdom)

Rachel Close (32) currently lives in the northeast of England, where she spent the majority of her childhood with her adoptive parents. Rachel has directed documentaries selected for Sheffield Doc/Fest, East End Film Festival, and SEE documentary festival. Her personal experience of being both adopted as a baby and in the care system as a teenager inspired her to become a filmmaker, social worker, and therapist. Rachel studied TV production at Teesside University. Her films offer vivid and sensitive exploration of an array of topics including gender-based violence (Heal our Women), poverty tourism (Where are you coming from), exploitation through prostitution (Mind the Gap) and the music industry (No Regrets). Rachel often collaborates with her subjects to incorporate performative or choreographed scenes to reveal deeper subjective truths, illuminating the characters inner and outer world.

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Sandra Enkvist (Finland)

Sandra Enkvist has worked with documentary and fiction films at several production companies, most notably Tuffi Films and Art Films production. Her filmography includes Just Animals (2022), Walk the Tideline (2021), Back Towards Light (2017) and White Rage (2015). For Enkvist, documentary film is an opportunity to make a deep dive into the topic and bring forth strong and meaningful stories to the audience. Currently she is producing her first documentary film at Tuffi Films.

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Shirley Abraham (India)

Shirley Abraham is a Cannes award winning Indian documentary filmmaker. Her work is supported by Sundance Institute, MacArthur Foundation, Pulitzer Center, Chicken & Egg, Field of Vision, IDFA Bertha Fund, Catapult Film Fund, Filmmaker Fund and BBC. She was a fellow of Sundance Labs, Cluster of Excellence Heidelberg and Goethe-Institut. She is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. "The Cinema Travellers", directed, produced, written and edited with Amit Madheshiya, is her debut film. It premiered as Official Selection at Cannes Film Festival 2016, winning the Special Jury Prize L’Oeil d’or: Le Prix du documentaire. The film has won 19 awards globally, including the President’s Medal in India. She has also made "Searching for Saraswati" (NYT), "The Hour of Lynching" (Guardian) and "The Great Abandonment" (upcoming, Guardian). Shirley has been a juror at festivals including CPH:DOX and Mumbai Film Festival and a panelist on the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Fund.

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Simona Jerala (Slovenia)

Simona Jerala (1984) holds MA degree in documentary film directing, DocNomads (LUCA School of Arts, Brussels). Beforehand she graduated from Comparative Literature and Sociology of Culture at University of Ljubljana.
She works as a freelance documentary filmmaker, film critic, assistant producer. Since 2018 she has also been in a programme and organisation board of Ljubljana Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, the oldest lgbt+ film festival in Europe.

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Vera Lacková (Slovakia)

Vera Lacková is a director and film producer of Roma origin. Born in Slovakia and based in Vienna, Austria, she is the founder of the Czech -Slovakian production company, Media Voice. Her background working with Roma people, sharing their stories and movements, enables her to bring a unique insider perspective on important and timely ethnic and political Roma themes for the community. A participant of the 2019 IDFA Academy, her film, "How I Became a Partisan", was her feature length documentary debut and is about searching for the fate of forgotten Roma partisans. Her own search for and exposure of Romani partisans' stories is primarily based on the life of her great-grandfather; Ján Lacko. The film premiered at goEast Film Festival in Wiesbaden in 2021, where she received the Federal Foreign Office for Cultural Diversity award. The project was developed at the Ex Oriente filmworkshop, pitched at the 2020 East Doc Platform, and is a part of the distribution program, East Silver Caravan, supported by IDF.

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