SIFFCY'2019

John Stevenson – UK

Academy Award nominated Filmmaker
John Stevenson has over four decades of experience in film development and production. Most recently Stevenson directed “Sherlock Gnomes” for Paramount and MGM, a sequel to the 2011 hit “Gnomeo and Juliet”, and an animated twist on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous detective. Stevenson directed “Kung Fu Panda” with Mark Osborne, which starred Jack Black, Dustin Hoffman and Angelina Jolie. Released in the summer of 2008, “Kung Fu Panda” has grossed over $600 million worldwide and spawned two sequels. In 2009 Stevenson was nominated for an Academy Award with Mark Osborne, and both won the Annie for best direction of an animated feature. Prior to the release of “Kung Fu Panda”, Stevenson directed four episodes of the DreamWorks prime time television series “Father of the Pride” and held the post of Head of Story at PDI/DreamWorks serving as story artist for the DreamWorks worldwide blockbusters “Shrek”, “Shrek 2” and “Madagascar.” While there, he also created storyboards for the animated features “Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron,” and “Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas.” A core member of PDI/DreamWorks’ creative review committee, Stevenson had input on a variety of projects and also taught classes on the story process to artists at PDI and the San Francisco-based Wild Brain Productions.

Julia Jarl – Sweden

International film Festival Director
Julia Jarl has worked at BUFF Film Festival, the largest film festival for a young audience in Sweden since 2007 and has been the festival director since 2012. She believes that stories told from a young perspective, enrich and challenge people of all ages. Before BUFF Julia worked at Film in Skåne a resource and production centre for film in the region of Skåne, southern Sweden.





Mitsuo Tahira – Japan

International Film Festival director, producer.
Tahira has had a 25-year career in film, since launching the Kinder Film Festival, the very first children’s film festival in Japan, in 1992. In 1994 he assumed the roles of both festival director and producer. The festival was later renamed the KINEKO International Children’s Film Festival in 2015 and moved to Futakotamagawa. The festival has now grown into the largest international children’s film festival in Japan. Since 2016, the festival has begun showcasing Japanese films for children of all ages at overseas festivals. Tahira also pioneered what he calls “live cinema,” screenings accompanied by live voice-over actors. These events now travel to various venues around the nation.

Felix Vanginderhuysen – Belgium

Founder, Secretary General -ECFA, Renowned European film distributor
Born in 1954 and master degree in Social Sciences at the Louvain University in 1976.
Started in 1978 at "Jekino", a non-profit-organization for the promotion of quality films for children. In 40 years Jekino was builded into a leading association for as well distribution as film education. In 1989 founder of the "European Youth Film Festival" in Antwerp and in 2000 co-founder of "Lessons in the Dark", a school film project in Flanders.
In 2017 all these organizations (Jekino – Festival – Lessons in the Dark) merged into "JEF", kind of a Flemish Institute for children’s film. In 1988 founder of "European Children’ Film Association" (ECFA) and since this start in function as the General Secretary of this association. In 2007 Felix Vanginderhuysen received the Flemish Cultural Award from the Ministry of Culture.


Judita Soukupová - Czech Republic

International Film Festival Director
Her long-term interest in films (above all from the wartime era of 1939-1945) together with her passion for organizing various cultural events brought Judita to the film festival for children and youth. First it was the FILMÁK International Film Festival for Children and Youth (2004-2006) where she worked in the guest service team. After the cancellation of FILMÁK, she and her colleagues eventually established a new film festival of similar orientation called JUNIORFEST. She has been its director since 2008. JUNIORFEST is her great hobby similarly as film dramaturgy for the local cinema, preparations of film-related exhibitions in the West Bohemian Castle of Horsovsky Tyn or organization of tennis tournaments with various actors, actresses and other film makers etc.


Michael Harbauer - Germany

Festival Director of IFF Schlingel, German Distributor
Michael Harbauer is devoted to films since his early childhood. In 1996, he initiated the International Film Festival for Children and Young Audience SCHLINGEL. What was originally launched as a film week with not more than twelve films, is now one of the most comprehensive platforms for international and national children’s and youth films in Germany. Furthermore, Michael Harbauer is film supervisor at the important regulating institutions and advisory boards for film, cinema and television in Germany. He has also been member of several international festival juries and curated German film programmes abroad.


Josep Arbiol – Spain

President of the Cultural Association 'Jordi el Mussol'.
Director of the Valencia Film Festival for Children , Youth

Holder of a Diploma in Teaching from the University of Valencia. Mr Arbiol was born in Estivella (Valencia - Spain) in 1962 and he works as a teacher at CEIP Santa Teresa in the Carmen Neighborhood in Valencia. He has a long career in audiovisual media both in Spain and abroad. His direction in educational films with children have been awarded in numerous festivals and competitions both national and international (Greece, Romania, India, Hungary, Bolivia, Croatia, Italy, Argentina, India and South Korea among others). He is a board member of CIFEJ (International Center pour les Films de l' Enfance et la Jeunesse )



Mohsen Chiniforoushan – Iran

Secretary General – CIFEJ
Former General and Managing Director of Kanoon

Born in 1952, he has M.S. in Cultural Programming Management. He was the General and Managing Director of Kanoon (Institute for the Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults) for 18 years (1992 – 2010) and remained a member of the board of Kanoon till 2012. [Kanoon is the most important film production company for children and youth in Iran. It has more than 900 libraries for this age group all over Iran where children can learn painting, theater, photography, filmmaking, pottery; besides enjoying vast sources of books published by Kanoon or other national or international publishers]. During the time he was the General and Managing Director of Kanoon, 12 feature films and many animations and short films were produced and most of these productions won many awards from different international festivals.

Paméla Bisson – Canada

Film Maker, New age media artist
Paméla Bisson is a new media arts artist and movie director based in Quebec city, Québec. Holding a degree in Cultural action and social studies from the University of Québec in Montréal, she initiates projects that flow amongst her convictions in favor of youth, arts, culture, the planet and humankind. During her university studies, she took part in an internship on the tv production of Ramdam, a youth television program. She is known for her films Stage up! , The camping girl, The woman-frog & many more

Ratnottama Sengupta

National Award winning film critic.
Daughter of legendary scriptwriter Nabendu Ghosh, is the former arts editor of the Times of India. She’s also a film festival -curator/-panelist /-organiser; documentary filmmaker; and the author and editor of several books on cinema and film personalities. She has served on CBBF; the NFDC Script Committee; and the National Film Awards, IFFI, and various other notable international film juries. And is a recipient of the National Film Award for Best Writing on Cinema.




Utpal Datta

National-Award-winning film critic
Utpal Datta is a National-Award-winning Assamese film critic, author/editor/translator, and Assam State-Award-winning filmmaker. He has also been honored with the ‘RAPA for Radio Production’, the ‘Moonlight Media Award for Cultural Journalism’, the ‘Jyotirupa Media Award for Film Criticism’ and the ‘Laadli Media Award for Radio Production’. Additionally, he has served as a jury member for the ‘ERA Excellence in Radio Award’ and the ‘Assam State Film Award’. He is the Head of Programme (ADP) at AIR Ranchi, and the Festival Director of the Chalachitram National Film Festival.

Johnson Thomas

Eminent Journalist
Johnson Thomas is a film, theatre, art, music and book reviewer whose writings have appeared in the Indian Express, DNA, India Times, Outlook, Free Press Journal, Jade, and Times of India. He currently reviews for Midday, The Free Press Journal and the Tribune. He has served as a jury member for a variety of festivals including the Indian Panorama section of the International Film Festival of India, and for the International Children's Film Festival of India. Additionally, he runs A----, a suicide helpline NGO.

Hilde Steenssens – Belgium

International Film Festival Director, Programmer
"Hilde Steenssens (1972) has a master's degree in Educational Science and Crimology, She has a strong believe that media literacy is very important for today's children. She was volunteer and curator for the Brussels arthouse cinema "Nova" from 2004 until 2010 for the kids program "Cineketje" and founded Filem'On - The International Filmfestival for Young Audiences in 2007. Hilde Steenssens is the artistic and general director of Filem'On and is responsable for the programmation, providing the financial support, the production of workshops, cinéconcerts and the coordination of the team. Each year the festival presents about 150 films : live action, animation, experimental and documentary, features and shorts.

Kim Sang-Hwa - Korea

Animation Professor,
Festival Director- Busan International Kids & Youth Film Festival.

Festival Executive Director of BIKY, Busan International Kids & Youth Film Festival and Executive Committee Member of BIFF, Busan International Film Festival, which both are held annually in Busan, South Korea. Since (being) retired from his position as a professor of the animation department at a university a few years ago, Mr.Kim has been a co-representative of a company ‘Playingman’ which plans and organizes various cultural events. He is also producing films, giving lectures about the subjects of film reading, and he has been invited to a number of film festivals in and out of Korea as a member of panels or jury.

Mama Marlaine - USA

Motivational speaker
Mama Marlaine is the Founder of the international consciousness movement Parenting 2.0, P20. and creator of the Life Skills Report Card. P20 promotes proactive education by qualified professionals for Life Skills used daily. Examples include emotional, environmental and financial literacy. SIFFCY 2019 panel discussion will focus exclusively on the skill of Social-Emotional Literacy and the necessity of raising the bar on the educational process for all persons - of every age.

Daniel Lundquist - Sweden

Swedish festival producer & programmer,
He graduated in art management. He's worked for many years in various positions for the Swedish Film Institute and has also worked for the magistrate of the city of Malmö. Since 2009 he has been part of the BUFF film festival team in Malmö.







Hilde Steenssens – Belgium

International Film Festival Director, Programmer
"Hilde Steenssens (1972) has a master's degree in Educational Science and Crimology, She has a strong believe that media literacy is very important for today's children. She was volunteer and curator for the Brussels arthouse cinema "Nova" from 2004 until 2010 for the kids program "Cineketje" and founded Filem'On - The International Filmfestival for Young Audiences in 2007. Hilde Steenssens is the artistic and general director of Filem'On and is responsable for the programmation, providing the financial support, the production of workshops, cinéconcerts and the coordination of the team. Each year the festival presents about 150 films : live action, animation, experimental and documentary, features and shorts.

Kim Sang-Hwa - Korea

Animation Professor,
Festival Director- Busan International Kids & Youth Film Festival.

Festival Executive Director of BIKY, Busan International Kids & Youth Film Festival and Executive Committee Member of BIFF, Busan International Film Festival, which both are held annually in Busan, South Korea. Since (being) retired from his position as a professor of the animation department at a university a few years ago, Mr.Kim has been a co-representative of a company ‘Playingman’ which plans and organizes various cultural events. He is also producing films, giving lectures about the subjects of film reading, and he has been invited to a number of film festivals in and out of Korea as a member of panels or jury.


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