Marcel Grant - Founder/Director & Selection Committee
“Being an Independent filmmaker myself and fully understanding the difficulties of trying to make a film that is either different or original, my intention, when starting WSFF, was to give writer/directors - working outside the tried and tested formulae of corporate filmmaking - the opportunity to show their hard work and creative integrity to an audience that is still looking for that. I believe our selection in the first year of WSFF has done this, creating an internationally important selection of very diverse films from passionate filmmakers determined to speak their minds through the medium they all love…cinema. Is a good film something that simply entertains you for two hours? Or is a good film one you may struggle with, or which provokes you, but then stays with you long after you have left the cinema?”
About Marcel Grant - A British filmmaker based in London and Berlin, Marcel established the independent film production company Dancing Brave Pictures in 2008. He has written, directed and produced four feature films: Open My Eyes (2012), Just Ines (2010), Coffee Sex You (2011) and What's Your Name 41 (2005).
Conny Hammelmann - Director & Selection Committee
”As somebody living in Berlin, you really can’t complain about a lack of choice in events, festivals, parks – you can rush from one thing to the next. So why make the effort of taking a train to Angermünde and going to Stolpe to yet another event.? This is why: the minute you arrive in the middle of the beautiful, unspoilt Uckermark countryside, stand in front of the impressive Stolper Turm, wander around and relax, then later sit down in the Turm, forget every day's bustle and immerse into our „wonderous“ stories from all over the world, you will become part of a new film festival community. If you love films and are keen on learning something about how they come to life, talking with their creators and fellow festival goers in the most charming surroundings... you’ll love this!”
About Conny Hammelmann - After 16 years in the European and German film funding world, where she has travelled to many festivals and has contributed to many film projects from development stage to the screen. Conny joined the Berlin and Cologne based dubbing and subtitling company alias film und sprachtransfer as a shareholder and is mainly responsible for sales and acquisition. Alongside that, she works as a freelance agent with Trinity Movie Agency in Berlin.
Yang Du - Director & Voice of China/Fashion & Film Selection Committee
“Many years ago when I first came to the UK to study at Central Saint Martins College of Art, my culture study tutor asked the class, “Why would you want to be an artist or designer, does the world still need anymore?” I spoke up “Yes”, I said, “because we have something different to say. That is called a voice”. School is a place where we are searching for the self, and I was very lucky to be there in a completely different world of language and thinking, trying to learn about my individuality and strength. London offered me an equal platform as a young creative fashion designer regardless of where I was from. When Marcel came knocking, asking me to be one of the curators of WSFF, I had those word in my head: ’Voice of China’. We want to give an equal opportunity to discover the voice of Chinese film makers, directors of a new era, looking for the films made with new ideas and perspectives. But most of all, we want to share this with you.”
About Yang Du - Born in Dalian, North China Yang holds a BA and MA in fashion from Central Saint Martins. She worked alongside Vivienne Westwood and John Galliano before establishing her own label YANG DU in 2009. Yang became the first Chinese designer to receive a Newgen Award from the British Fashion Council in 2009. Most recently she has been working on Independent films in both Europe and China as a style director and fashion consultant. Furthermore Yang is a visiting tutor at Tsing Hua University in Beijing, and was recently named one of the most influential Chinese people by Forbes magazine
Lucía Cabello - Short Film Curator
“Growing up in Spain, I saw a lot of movies that I guess could today be described as art-house. Of course I never saw it that way. These were the films that were around us, that we talked about. Only later did I realise how important and different and special these films, made in the European tradition, independent, all kinds of budgets, actually were and still are. They influenced us, shaped our thinking and still linger in our hearts and minds today. I think that is very precious and that’s why I want to be part of celebrating and nurturing the independent film makers and their output today. WSFF is about the love of film and story-telling, and I am proud to be a part of it.”
About Lucia Cabello - Spanish-born Lucia graduated from Santiago de Comportela University with a degree in Law and a Master's in Legal Practice. She then continued her studies at Bologna University in Italy with Digital Law, which included courses in Entertainment Law & Film Industry (Fondazione Cineteca di Bologna, Italy), as well as Curation & Exhibition Management at City University of London in the UK. Lucia lives in London where she currently pursues a career in teaching whilst continuing with her studies. She keenly participates in cultural events, one of them being the highly successful Spanish Film Nights where she is able to combine her passions for film, culture and teaching.
Theo Grant - Technical Director & Selection Committee
“The bigger the film industry becomes, the ever more diversified the platforms and formats... it’s sadly not a guarantee for really interesting film makers to be seen and heard. WSFF hopes to be that stage where it’s still about the film... and not about the promo campaign pushing it to the forefront of the audience’s mind because they’ve seen six talk-shows hyping an entirely forgettable film that should have never been made. Big-budget movies, gaming, box-sets – the festival is a space to stop it all for a short beat, and you can enjoy, see and discover stuff that could actually end up meaning something to you.”
About Theo Grant - Theo began his journey in cinema after graduating with a media degree from Leeds Beckett University. He then started his career in the film industry as a projectionist in a private screening room in London’s Soho, where he build his unique skill set, working in high pressured, but highly rewarding environments. In 2017, Theo became Print Transport Manager at Soho House UK, as well as maintaining his technical duties as part of the in-house film team. Since 2018 Theo is the curator for 'Specialist Seasons’ at Soho House, focussing on exploring a variety of themes, directors & eras. At WSFF Theo is in charge of all things technical, as well as being part of the selection committee.