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Meet the CIRCLE 2024 Mentors

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Heidi Fleischer

Heidi Fleisher is an American documentary film consultant and producer based in Paris, with over 15 years of experience and a broad view of the industry. Heidi handled international acquisitions for France Television’s feature doc strand 25 Shades of Docs, worked as a development executive for Synthesis films in LA and was head of sales & acquisitions for Arte Sales. She often works as a mentor and expert for industry labs, festivals and events. Her producing work focuses on creative documentaries that blend the emotional depth of the human experience with a unique artistic vision. Producing credits include THE CASTLE by Martin Benchimol (Berlin 2023), WAKE UP ON MARS by Dea Gjinovci (Tribeca 2020), DON'T BREATHE Nino Kirtadze (TIFF 2014) and the ongoing short doc collection ELEMENTAL produced with Sandbox Films, USA.

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Brigid O'Shea 

Documentary Association of Europe (DAE)

Brigid O’Shea is an Australian native who has worked for European film festivals and documentary organisations since 2008. Holding a Bachelor of Fine Arts obtained in Melbourne and Berlin, she started as an intern at the Berlinale Talent Campus. She worked for various Berlinale departments as a freelancer until 2014, including the EFMand also Co-Production Market, until taking a more focused approach on creative documentary. This came from coordinating the DOK Industry Programme from 2009-2015, which allowed her to also freelance for the Institute of Documentary Film in Prague, for Documentary Campus Masterschool, and Berlin-based production companies. She was appointed Head of DOK Industry Programme in January 2015. She regulary tutors on topics like European co-financing, cultural management and festival strategies in places like North America and East Europe. In February 2020 she co-launched the Documentary Association of Europe.

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Joanna Solecka
marketing expert, Alphapanda

 

Film Marketing, Social Media & Audience Design strategist with extensive experience of working for film producers and cultural institutions. Lecturer, mentor and speaker at the international training workshops for fiction and documentary filmmakers such as CIRCLE – Women Doc Accelerator, Impakt, Torino Film Lab, Moving Docs, DOC.Incubator. Member of the Advisory Board of DAE - Documentary Association of Europe. Between 2004 - 2015 Joanna worked as Head of PR, Festivals and Sales at Wajda Studio & School, Warsaw, Poland. Since 2015 Joanna has been working for Alphapanda, a European film marketing agency based in Berlin, Geneva and Warsaw, founded in 2011. Alphapanda specializes in the development of marketing strategies and the implementation of social media campaigns for the film industry. Alphapanda’s clients list includes the European Film Awards, Warner Bros, Under the Milky Way as well as many European sales agents, distributors, VOD platforms and production companies. As a mother of three daughters, Joanna especially enjoys working on young audience and women empowering stories. Among recent titles Joanna handled campaigns for are films like: THE SCARS OF ALI BOUALA (Tribeca ’21), STOP-ZEMLIA (Berlinale ’21), NINJABABY (Berlinale & SXSW ’21), THE WALL OF SHADOWS (Hot Docs ’20), BEWARE OF CHILDREN (Venice ’19), ANOTHER DAY OF LIFE (Cannes ’18).

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Dana Bunescu
Editor and sound designer

 

Dana Bunescu is a Romanian editor and sound designer. She co-directed with Mona Nicoară the feature documentary The Distance Between Me and Me (2018). Dana is a winner of the Silver Bear for Outstanding Artistic Contribution at the 2017 Berlinale for Călin Peter Netzer’s film Ana, mon amour. She has been working in the field since 2000. Known for editing The Death of Mr Lazarescu directed by Cristi Puiu (awarded the “Un certain Regard” prize in Cannes 2006), Cristian Mungiu’s films 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days (Palme d’Or, Cannes, 2007), Andrei Ujica’s documentary The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceaușescu (for which she also did the sound design), screened at Cannes in 2010. She is also known for the sound design and editing of Child’s Pose by Călin Peter Netzer, winner of Golden Bear for Best Film at Berlinale 2013, as well as for the sound design of Aferim, I Do Not Care If We Go Down in History as Barbarians and Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn by Radu Jude. She edited and did the sound-design of numerous documentaries. Bunescu was nominated and won several Gopo Awards for Best Editing and Sound Design.
 

Guest experts

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Kumjana Novakova
Chief curator and film director

 

Kumjana Novakova, originally born in Macedonia, Yugoslavia, has worked in the field of film and arts since 2006. In 2006 she co-founded the Pravo Ljudski Film Festival in Sarajevo and acts as its chief curator and director. She was leading the Film Department of the Museum of Contemporary Arts in Skopje as a Film Curator for 3 years. She is currently an associated professor at the Non-fiction department of ESCAC, Barcelona, Spain, and has formerly taught at the Béla Tarr's film.factory in Sarajevo. As an author, her research lays between cinema and contemporary video art, often exploring how moving images address identities, memories and the collective self. Kumjana currently lives between Sarajevo and Skopje, North Macedonia.

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Mara Gourd-Mercado

Head of CPH:DOX Industry 

​Mara Gourd-Mercado is an Argentinean-Canadian arts manager, specializing in film, television and digital media. For a decade, she used her expertise and energy to promote films from around the world as a publicist. In 2011, she entered the advertising industry and created the communications manager position at one of Canada’s leading agencies. In 2014, she joined the RIDM team as communications director and was then Executive Director from 2015 to 2020 where she significantly raised the profile of the festival and grew its industry event from 3 to 5 full days. She was also instrumental in bringing the festival to the international stage and attracting top talent to the event and its programs. Over the years, she has been a mentor for different labs and programs, has sat on many juries and has acted as a moderator. She was Executive Director of the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television - Quebec section from 2021 to 2023. Mara is now Head of Industry & Training at CPH:DOX.

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