Master's Pitch 2019

A unique format for training and collaboration

The Master’s Pitch is a unique format for training and collaboration, initiated by Documentary Campus and DOK.fest München. It provides an opportunity for nine selected teams to pitch their documentary projects to a jury of international commissioners and experts. The Master’s Pitch delivers constructive feedback and the chance, to kick start the commissioning process in a congenial and collaborative atmosphere. Half of the pitches of 2017 and 2018 resulted in deals with German broadcasters
or co-producers! The audience, including producers, directors, distributors and representatives from major broadcasters, is also asked to give feedback.

Throughout the day, our jury members will be in the spotlight as well, presenting their perspectives on this year’s focus theme – Look Who’s Watching: The Documentary Audience.

The Audience – we want them but what do we really know about them? We want them to engage in our stories but how much effort do we put into finding out who they are, what resonates with them, and how they want to engage? Let’s face it, there are many sad stories out there about great docs that never had great audiences. This day is designed to give filmmakers the tools they need to get to know the people on the other side of the screen. How? Through an essential, fact-driven tool at our disposal – DATA.

We begin with a special presentation – a case study of eco thriller SEA OF SHADOWS by multi award-winning director and DOP Richard Ladkani. Richard will present the calculated strategy behind reaching and engaging their target audience. SEA OF SHADOWS secured this year’s Audience Award: World Cinema Documentary at Sundance. What better proof that the strategy worked!

Guest speakers and jury members include New York based industry guru Peter Hamilton ( Peter will reveal his unrivalled analysis of trends in audience engagement from every market across the world. CEO and founder of distribution company First Hand Films Esther Van Messel, will share her unique perspective on what resonates with audiences today, gleaned from two decades in the business. Tomas Lindh Executive Producer of Online Development at SVT presents future shocks and why there is such an urgency to change how we approach and relate to our audience. While Alex Hryniewicz, from LITTLE DOT STUDIOS, will reveal astounding audience data collected from some of the 24 channels he manages out of London. Ava Striker from MUBI will disclose engagement data, the trends and patterns, that drive this platform designed and curated for Cinephiles. We’ll also present DIY solutions – find out how to generate your own audience data.

Look Who’s Watching: The Documentary Audience, a day that promises to be entertaining, illuminating and informative – sounds like a recipe for a good documentary!

This day is curated and moderated by award-winning documentary maker Ruth Berry. A longtime supporter of Documentary Campus and familiar face at international markets.


The Jury:

Kathrin Brinkmann, ZDF/Arte
Peter Hamilton, Documentary Business
Margje de Koning, EO, JDocs & IKONdocs
Grazyna Krupa, CBC
Tomas Lindh, SVT
Esther van Messel, First Hand Films
Ava Striker, MUBI




Director: Claire Sanford
Producer: Adam Pajot Gendron
Productions: Tortuga Film Inc
Coproducer: Sami Jahnukainen, Dagmar Jacobsen
Country: Canada



Director: Elwira Niewiera & Piotr Rosolowski
Producer: Matthias Miegel
Production Company: Kundschafter Filmproduktion GmbH
Distributor: Real Fiction Verleih
Country: Germany, Poland



Director: Lana Daher
Producer: Jasper Mielke
Prouction Company: Wood Water Films
Country: Lebanon, Germany 



Director: Iris Pakulla
Producer: Ira & Alex Tondowski
Production Compnay: Tondowski Films
Co-producer: Polar Star Films
Country: Germany



Director: Andreas Hartmann, Arate Mori
Producer: Andreas Hartmann
Composition: Jana Irmert
Country: Germany



Director: Paola Calvo, Patrick Jasim
Production: Phillip Kaminiak
Production company: Tumult Film 
Country: Germany, Mexico



Director: Florian von Stetten
Proucer: Marcelo Busse
Production Company: BUSSE
Country: Germany



Director: Constantin Gross
Producer: Lukas Steinbrecher
Production Company: VeyVey Films GbR
Compositon: Jan Benz & Steffen Lohrey
Country: Germany



Director: Frederik Subei
Producer: Kerstin Krieg
Production Company: TAG/TRAUM Filmproduktion GmbH & Co KG
Composer: Rossano Snel
Country: Germany, Brasil



In partnership with


Supported by




  • Fri, 05/10/19
    HFF - Audimax
  • Fri, 05/10/19
    HFF - Audimax
Ruth Berry
Director, Producer and Consultant (Director, Producer and Consultant)

Award winning producer, director and writer of blue chip factual programming; premium content developer; natural history illustrator; moderator and trainer. Loves dinosaurs, Neanderthals and B movie monsters. Her films have appeared on most broadcast networks including National Geographic, BBC, Discovery, ABC, PBS, ARTE, NDR and CBC. She is a consultant and freelance producer for Terra Mater Factual studios in Vienna.

Anne-Kathrin Brinkmann
Redakteurin (ZDF/ARTE)

Kathrin Brinkmann studied Applied Dramatic Arts in Giessen, Germany. From 1994 she has been commissioning editor for the European Culture Channel ARTE and ZDF/Das Kleine Fernsehspiel, responsible for the development and production of ARTE “Theme Evenings”. She has worked on new programme formats for “Quantum”, the Television Workshop of Das Kleine Fernsehspiel/3Sat. Since 2000 she is a member of the new production department ARTE THEMA and ARTE CULTURE within ZDF.

Margje de Koning
Chief Commissioning Editor of Documentaries (EO/IKONdocs)

After finishing her studies, Margje de Koning made all sorts of documentaries for many different broadcasting companies for 12 years. In 2004 Margje de Koning became a part time teacher at the Culture & Media studies (department Film& Television at the University of Amsterdam). In August 2004, Margje de Koning became Commissioning Editor for a documentary slot of 52’ docs. This meant producing and co-producing creative single 52'-documentaries on contemporary social, social-cultural and moral issues with a strong human interest angle. Since January 2005 Margje de Koning has been responsible for the Television Department of IKON and on January 2012 she became Head of TV, Radio and New Media programming at IKON. From January 2016 IKON has been incorporated within EO with Margje de Koning as Commissioning Editor Documentaries for EO, JDocs and IKONdocs.

Peter Hamilton
Senior Consultant and Executive Producer (

I am a senior consultant who specializes in the business of the documentary and unscripted video niche. My clients include leading producers, networks like Discovery & BBC, foundations, investors and governments. I recently executive produced a Smithsonian / BBC biodoc on Jonas Salk and the race to develop the polio vaccine. My film is hosted by Bill Gates. Also, read my free, newsletter,

Alex Hryniewicz
Head of Owned Channels (LITTLE DOT STUDIOS)

Alex is Head of Owned Channels at Little Dot Studios, a next generation broadcaster and producer where he oversees a team of 15 staff working across more than 20 channel brands. Alex oversees the strategic development of the channels as they expand onto new platforms, syndicate content to 3rd party VoD services and expand their commissioning, production and brand partnership opportunities.

Grazyna Krupa
Programming and Commissioning, Unscripted Division (CBC)

CBC/Radio-Canada is Canada’s national public broadcaster. Through our mandate to inform, enlighten and entertain, we play a central role in strengthening Canadian culture. Grazyna Krupa is a creative media executive with over 20 years experience in the development, production and commissioning of factual programming, digital series and documentaries. She oversees CBC`s Arts programming strategy, live cultural awards and is a key member of the programming and development team for all Unscripted projects at the CBC.

Richard Ladkani
Director and Producer (Malaika Pictures GmbH)

Richard Ladkani, a critically acclaimed Austrian director and cinematographer, has won numerous international awards. Two of his films were shortlisted for an Academy Award. His latest feature, the National Geographic doc SEA OF SHADOWS, executive produced by Leonardo DiCaprio, won the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival 2019. His earlier films include the Netflix Original THE IVORY GAME and THE DEVIL’S MINER.

Tomas Lindh
Executive Producer Online & Development (Swedish Television (SVT))

Worked with public service for over 20 years with a special focus for online and cross-media development and online/on-demand publishing. Previously at Swedish Yle as head of development and head of programme for the on-demand service Yle Areena. Notable work as producer/director; "The Norden" (6x30min for Yle, SVT, NRK, DR and Netflix), 2015 and "Breaking the Cycle" (Yle, NRK, DR, SVT and Netflix worldwide, 2017. Currently working as executive producer (online & development) at Swedish Television (SVT).

Ava Striker
Acquisitions and Productions (MUBI)

Ava works in MUBI's content team with a focus on platform acquisitions, and has recently joined the company's newly formed production department where she is involved in script development.

Esther van Messel
CEO (First Hand Films)

Esther van Messel, born 1965 in Vienna, is based in Zurich and holds a BfA from the Tel Aviv University. She headed Warner Bros. Israel and from 1992 produced feature films and documentaries in Zurich. Since 1998, she runs FIRST HAND FILMS for production, global sales and theatrical distribution. Today, First Hand Films have been seen by many hundred millions of people.