Aslı Özge was born in Istanbul and has lived in Berlin since 2000. After graduating from the Marmara University Film & TV Academy, she made her debut film, MEN ON THE BRIDGE (2009), which had its international premiere at the Locarno and Toronto Film Festivals. The film was screened at more than 40 festivals and received various awards, including the Best Turkish Film Award. Özge's next two films, LIFELONG (2013) and her first German-language film, ALL OF A SUDDEN (2016), premiered at the Berlinale. ALL OF A SUDDEN was awarded the Europa Cinemas Special Label as well as the FIPRESCI Prize and was screened in various European countries. In 2020, Özge directed DARKTOWN, a miniseries for ZDFneo. Her second German-language film, BLACK BOX, opened the New German Cinema section at FILMFEST MÜNCHEN 2023.
Leo Leigh started out studying film and fine art at the Surrey Institute of Art & Design. After being kicked out in his second year, he made documentaries for his friends and began working on his own films. Following his first short documentary, TED (2004), he made three films for Vice Films’ “Rule Britannia” series in 2008. His film SWANSEA LOVE STORY (2009), about the heroin epidemic, was picked up by CNN and received significant media attention. Leigh is founder of the Free Shit Salt Grit art collective and, with Leo Marks, the co-founder of Spine TV, for which he has directed more than 20 films. He made the feature-length documentary FACT OR FICTION: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF A PING PONG HUSTLER, about 83-year-old table tennis champion Marty Reisman. In 2015, he was signed by Somesuch, for whom he has written and directed three films, including MOTHER, which was nominated for a British Independent Film Award. SWEET SUE, his first feature film, celebrated its world premiere at FILMFEST MÜNCHEN 2023.
Younès Ben Slimane is an artist and filmmaker from Tunisia. In 2022, he graduated from Le Fresnoy – Studio national des arts contemporains in Tourcoing, France. He has participated in contemporary art events including the documenta fifteen Mobile Lab. His work has been exhibited at the Nationalmuseum in Stockholm, Mucem in Marseille, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Skopje. His films have been selected for international festivals such as the Locarno Film Festival, CPH:DOX, Doclisboa, and DokuFest. Ben Slimane has participated in various art residencies, including La Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris and Fondation Fiminco in Romainville, and will soon be an artist-in-residence at the Villa Medici in Rome. His short film WE KNEW HOW BEAUTIFUL THEY WERE, THESE ISLANDS earned the VFF Young Talent Award at FILMSCHOOLFEST MUNICH 2022.
Aida Begović has been the diversity and inclusion strategy coordinator at six German film schools since the summer of 2023. The goal is to create frameworks and content that strengthen the competency of the next generation of filmmakers regarding diverse and inclusive storytelling. For seven years, Aida Begović has been advising artists and others involved in the arts both in broad structural processes of inclusion and in the planning of specific projects and in addressing areas of concern. She also offers her expertise on racism, classism and gender equality to editorial teams, writers’ rooms, and workshops.
Mathias Barkhausen studied Media Studies and German Studies at the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn and at the Charles University in Prague. During his studies and afterwards, he worked in program coordination and as a presenter at various German film festivals, including FILMFEST MÜNCHEN and the Berlinale. In 2022 he was a member of the selection jury for Filmschoolfest. Since 2021, Mathias has curated program series and retrospectives at Zeughauskino, the cinematheque of the German Historical Museum in Berlin. His curatorial and research interests include hybrid forms between fiction and documentary, European New Waves, and narrative motifs.