Ivan Passer, Chairperson
Czech Republic, USA
Internationally acclaimed Writer and Director has collaborated as a writer with legendary filmmaker Milos Forman in Oscar nominated films, A Loves of a Blonde (1965) and Fireman’s Ball (1967). He started directing films and tasted success with his first film Intimate Lighting (1965) which won awards at San Sebastian film festival and Montreal film festival. Later on he directed films like Born to Win (1971), Cutter’s Way (1981), Haunted Summer (1988) – Nominated for Golden Lion at Venice Film Festival, The Wishing Tree (1999) and Nomad: The Warrior (2005). In the year 2008, he received a Special Prize for Outstanding Contribution to World Cinema at Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. After immigrating to the U.S., Passer attempted to retain his unique vision by shooting two films in New York, a city that reminded him of home.
Larry Smith entered the movie business aged 20 at Shepperton Studios outside London, circa 1969. He realised early on that studio life was not for him.The pace and amount of people working in a major studio felt like a factory. Smith moved into the freelance world that coincided with the closure of MGM Studios, which meant more crew were now freelance.Also, it was the beginning of the end for major studios keeping their own work force. Advertising was in its infancy as were independent movies, but there seemed to be enough work around to keep all of these various departments employed. In the 1970s, he was fortunate to meet Stanley Kubrick when asked to work on Barry Lyndon. This started a long collaboration with Kubrick that was to last over a quarter of a century until his premature death.
Lordan Zafranovic, an acclaimed Yugoslav director, was born in 1944 in Maslinca on the island of Šolta, Croatia. He got a degree in literature and fine arts at Teacher Training College in his hometown of Split. He obtained a degree from Film Academy (FAMU) in Prague in 1971, studying in the class of Academy Award winner Elmar Klas. Zafranovic received a Ph.D. in film directing.He began his feature filmmaking career with Sunday (1969), and followed it up with films like Passion According to Matthew (1975), Occupation in 26 Pictures (1978), The Fall of Italy (1981), Angel’s Bite (1984), Evening Bells (1986) and Aloa: Festivity of the Whores (1988). Occupation in 26 Pictures, which Zafranovic co-wrote with Mirko Kovac, is his most important film. It was in Competition at the 1978 Cannes Film Festival.From 1971 onwards, Zafranovic lives and works in Zagreb. In 1991, he left his homeland to finish the film The Decline of the Century (Testament L.Z.).
A chemical engineer by profession, Nagesh Kukunoor relinquished his lucrative career as an environmental consultant in Atlanta and using his personal savings wrote, produced, acted and directed his immensely successful debut film Hyderabad Blues, which went on to become the largest grossing low budget Indian film in English. Rockford, a coming of age story of any boarding school going kid, his second film also written and directed by him, follows the same style of film making- of telling empathetic stories that are real and every day, as well as entertaining. Bollywood Calling, his third film, stars Om Puri and Naveen Nischol in the lead. This film also had a very successful commercial run in India and other countries with Indian Diaspora.
Born in Morocco, she dreamt of being a clown. She studied Economics in Paris, obtaining a Master’s Degree in Mediterranean History and Civilisation, and prepared a thesis at L’École des hautesétudesen sciences sociales. She shares her time between Paris and Tangiers. She started out making acclaimed documentaries in 2000, including Tangiers, The Burners’ Dream (“Tanger, Le rêve des brûleurs”, 2002) about candidates for immigration to Europe, ZadMoultaka, and Our Forbidden Places (2009).On the Plank (2011), supported by SANAD, was her first feature film and was screened in Directors Fortnight in Cannes in 2011.