Who does what?

Management and administration

Rachel Schmid

Rachel Schmid
Managing Director
+41 21 312 68 40
Email

Rachel Schmid is the Director and Head of Studies of FOCAL. She began her career as a production manager of stage plays in 1986 and later moved towards film production. In 1999 she attended an international training course and specialised in project development. In this capacity, she counselled countless screenwriters, production companies, film funds, training programmes and festivals in Switzerland and abroad.

Before working at FOCAL, she served the film industry as Head of MEDIA Desk Switzerland and as deputy director of ZHdK’s MA in performing arts. As a development expert, she also worked as the Swiss Federal Office of Culture delegate at Eurimages and as a committee member of various film funds.

Rachel Schmid studied economics, German philology and drama at the universities of Zurich, Berkeley and Paris. She also has a postgraduate degree in cultural management from the University of Hamburg. She is committed to diversity in the film industry and a member of several gender and diversity commissions.


Angela Rohrer

Angela Rohrer
Head of studies
Tél. +41 21 312 68 17
Email

Angela Rohrer studied film at the Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK). After completing her studies, she worked for several years as first assistant director and script supervisor for Swiss film and advertising productions. From 2008 to 2016, she was a lecturer at the ZHdK, teaching directing and assistance/production at the Bachelor of Arts in Film section. Angela Rohrer made several short films of her own in her capacity as author/director and editor. From 2010 to 2020, she worked at FOCAL as a freelance course manager and organiser of various seminars, workshops, and other events.

Daria Granito

Daria Granito
Executive assistant
Tél. +41 21 312 68 17
Email

 


Anne Perrenoud

Anne Perrenoud
Secretariat, administration
+41 21 312 68 17
info@focal.ch

Administration of training programmes and andragogy, telephone reception, secretariat


Cécile Verpoorten

Cécile Verpoorten
Secretariat, administration
+41 21 312 68 17
info@focal.ch

Administration of training programmes and andragogy, telephone reception, secretariat

 

Sandrine Oberli

Sandrine Oberli
Accounting
+41 21 312 68 17
info@focal.ch

Financial management, accounting

Katja Schudel

Katja Schudel
Translations
+41 21 312 68 17
info@focal.ch

Translations, editing, administration of Foundation board and Foundation council
 

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Meiggie Bernardo
Digital specialist
Tél. +41 21 566 26 17
Email

Departments

Fred Guillaume

Fred Guillaume
Head of Animation Department
+41 26 401 30 32
Email

Born in 1976, Fred Guillaume has been working in animated film and illustration since 1998. Together with his brother Sam, he has made numerous films in various formats, including MAX & CO (2007), LA NUIT DE L’OURS (2012), LE CONTE DES SABLES D’OR (2015), LE RENARD ET L’OISILLE (2018). Their works have received several awards, including the Swiss Film Prize (Best Animated Film), the Crystal of the Annecy Animated Film Festival (Audience Award) and the Aspen Shortfest Prize (Best Animated Film). In addition to his work in film, Fred is active in the fields of scenography (theatre, dance, opera), museography and mapping. Very interested in new technologies, he also develops tools and initiates research projects in the service of narration. He is a member of the Swiss Film Academy and an expert for Cinéforom.

Géraldine Rod

Géraldine Rod
Head of Directing Department - Fiction
+41 79 489 76 08
www.geraldinerod.com
Email

Géraldine studied at the University of Art and Design (HEAD) in Geneva and at Concordia University in Montreal, and completed her master's degree in cinema/television at the Academy of Media Arts Cologne (KHM). To date, she has written and directed several short films that have been shown at international festivals, including RAT DE MARÉE, as well as a transmedia series for RTS, LA VIE SUR VÉNUS, co-written with Marina Rollman. At the same time, she has acquired a great deal of experience on fiction shoots, notably as an assistant director. She is a member of the board of ARF/FDS, the Swiss association of directors and scriptwriters. She is currently developing her first feature film.


Edgar Hagen

Edgar Hagen
Head of Directing Department - Documentary
+41 61 681 48 82
Email
edgarhagen.com

Edgar Hagen studied philosophy and German philology at the University of Basel and at the Free University of Berlin where he obtained, in 1987, a Master of Arts. He then worked as a journalist and dramatic advisor. He has been an independent documentary filmmaker and author since 1989. Among his cinema documentaries: Markus Jura Suisse - The Prodigal Son (1997), The Time of the Titans (2001), Someone Beside You (2007), Journey to the Safest Place on Earth (2013) and Who are we? (2019). Since 2000, he has also carried out various teaching activities in the field of cinema and documentary narration. Besides, he was a member of the Swiss Filmmakers Association’s Board (ARF/FDS) from 2010 to 2018. In 2016 he founded the production company Vollbild Film Ltd. His latest feature length documentary project is entitled On the Trail of Madness.

Carlotta Holy-Steinemann

Carlotta Holy-Steinemann
Head of Department for Technical Skills*
www.ssfv.ch
Email

Carlotta Holy-Steinemann was born in Locarno in 1978 and grew up in Zurich. After a few internships, a.o. with Dschoint Ventschr in Zurich/CH and Factory Film in Rome/IT, she started studying film at the “Ecole cantonale d’art de Lausanne” (ECAL). In 2006 she completed her studies and graduated from the Zürcher Hochschule der Künste (ZHdK) with a specialisation in photography. She has been working since as a freelance director of photography on documentary films (a.o. SONÈ, Cinedokke/RSI), fiction films (a.o. VERLIEBTE FEINDE, Dschoint Ventschr), series (a.o. STATION HORIZON, Jump Cut Production/RTS), commercials and commissioned films. She shoots in French, Italian and the German-speaking Switzerland as well as abroad. For some years now, she has also been teaching image design at the «F+F Schule für Kunst und Design Zurich». 

*includes the following professional groups: Production Manager, Production Assistant, Assistant Director, Script Supervisor, Location/Unit Manager, Camera, Sound, Lighting & Grip Department, Art, Department, Costume / Wardrobe, Hair / Make up, Editing, Postproduction Image / Sound

Barbara Terpoorten

Barbara Terpoorten
Head of Acting Department
+41 76 441 36 69
Email
www.barbara-terpoorten.ch

Barbara Terpoorten, born in 1974 in Visp/CH, obtained her acting degree from the ZHdK (Zurich University of the Arts). She subsequently acted in several theatres in Switzerland and Germany such as the Schauspielhaus Zurich, Maxim Gorki Theatre in Berlin and the Schauspielhaus in Hamburg. From 2000 to 2008, she was a member of the artist group 400asa.
She appeared in several cinema and TV features, for example in Lenz (directed by Thomas Imbach), Vicious Winter (directed by Marcus Hägg), The Two of Us (directed by Barbara Kulcar), Tatort Borowsky in der Unterwelt (directed by Claudia Garde), Nebelgrind (directed by Barbara Kulcar), End Unsung (directed by Rolf Lindblom).
From 2012 to 2018, she played superintendent Anna Maria Giovanoli in the SRF series Der Bestatter.
In addition to her work as a freelance cinema and theatre actress, she is also a director and the founder of the theatre group Sempione Productions. In 2019, she became a member of the board of directors of FemaleAct, an organisation that is committed to equality and diversity in the field of cinema and stage work.
In 2001, she received the encouragement award from the canton of Valais, and in 2014 the Swiss Television Film Award for her main role in the series Der Bestatter.

Carola Stern

Carola Stern
Head of Sales, Marketing and Distribution Department
+41 79 664 02 06
Email

Carola Stern, born in Northern Germany, graduated in social sciences, psychology, modern German literature and film history from the universities of Hamburg (DE) and Bristol (UK).
After several years in journalism and public relations, as a lecturer in German at the University of Manchester (UK) and as a desk officer for film funding at the Hamburg Film Office, she moved to Switzerland in 1995 where she began working in film distribution. At the Filmcooperative Zurich, she was responsible for promotion, media relations and marketing for ten years and was a member of the executive management. She acted as president of the board for ten years and worked in parallel for the partner company Cobra Film AG in film production, with a focus on script development, financing and sales. She is currently a shareholder of the ‘Filmcoopi Zürich’.
In addition to the seminars she designs and supervises for FOCAL, she regularly takes part in international further training courses for the film industry and is involved in various commissions and working groups, including the Suissimage Cultural Fund, the Teleproduction Fund and Europa Distribution's MentorShe programme.

Maya Fahrni

Maya Fahrni
Head of Scriptwriting Department 
Email

Maya Fahrni studied German, English literature and art history at the University of Zurich. During her studies, she was responsible for programming at the Filmfoyer Winterthur and a founding member and co-director of the Winterthur Short Film Festival. She then worked for two years as a production assistant at Dschoint Ventschr where she supervised various documentary, experimental and short films. In 2001, she trained as a dramaturge at the Master School Drehbuch in Berlin. Several seminars with Dagmar Benke and Philippe Routh followed. She then worked at SRF for over 10 years where she was responsible for numerous cinema co-productions, TV films and series, including the historical drama LINA by Mike Schärer (Audience Award in Solothurn), AKTE GRÜNINGER by Alain Gsponer (biopic about a police officer who saved hundreds of Jews), Dani Levi's TATORT episode MUSIK STIRBT ZULETZT, and the box-office hit DIE STANDESBEAMTIN by Micha Lewinsky. Until 2021, she was a mentor at the Drehbuchwerkstatt München/Zürich and accompanied emerging screenwriters on the way to their first or second screenplay. Since completing her two-year postgraduate studies in education and didactics for high school teachers, she has been working as a freelance dramaturge and script expert for feature films and series.

Lea Gerber-Maurer

Lea Gerber
Head of Stage Pool 
stage@focal.ch
stagepool.focal.ch

Lea Gerber, born in 1982 in Solothurn, has been working in the film industry since completing her training as a photographer in 2004. She worked in the location and set management of around thirty feature films - including DER FREUND (2007), THE FOSTER BOY (2010), SOMEONE LIKE ME (2011) and various commercials. During her carrier, she repeatedly supervised trainees (stagiaires).
From 2015 to 2018, Lea Gerber worked for FOCAL as an organiser of and responsible for seminars on technique-related topics. Since 2018, she is in charge of FOCAL Stage Pool where she commits herself to promoting sustainable young talent in the film industry.

Board

Mariano Tschuor

Mariano Tschuor
Foundation Council President

Mariano Tschuor, born in 1958 in Surselva (Canton of Grisons, Switzerland), is a journalist, media expert and consultant for strategic communication. From 1982 to 2019, he worked as editor, producer, editor-in-chief and director with the SRG SSR (Swiss Broadcasting Corporation). He was a member of the national board of directors and responsible for, a.o., the SRG film policy. Today, Tschuor has his own company - "Agradora" - organising projects, communication and moderation of discussions for institutions, organisations and companies. He's president of the Foundation "Denk an mich - Ferien und Freizeit für Menschen mit Behinderung" (vacation and free time for people with disabilities).

Mariano Tschuor lives in Laax/GR and Mariastein/SO


Séverine Barde

Séverine Barde
Director of photography

Born in 1966 in Geneva, Switzerland. After obtaining her higher education entrance qualification (Latin section) from Collège Sismondi in Geneva, she studied film between 1987 and 1989 at the “Institut des Arts de Diffusion” (IAD) in Belgium. She first worked as a 2nd and then 1st assistant camera. From 1998 she has been a director of photography in feature and documentary projects. In 2018 she directed her first documentary film, GRETA GRATOS.
Among her works as a DOP: Feature Documentaries: MADE IN INDIA, directed by Patricia Plattner (1998), LES ANNÉES DES TITANS by Edgar Hagen (2000), BRUNO MANSER, LAKI PENAN (2006) by Christoph Kühn, ADIEU À L’AFRIQUE by Pierre-Alain Meyer (2016), APFEL UND VULKAN by Nathalie Oesterreicher (2017).
Fiction feature films: POIDS LÉGÉR by Jean-Pierre Améris (2003, selected for «Un certain regard» at the Cannes Film Festival), LUFTBUSINESS by Dominique de Rivaz (2007), SHANA by Nino Jacusso (2012), DEUX JOURS AVEC MON PÈRE by Anne Gonthier (2013), TAMBOUR BATTANT by François-Christophe Marzal (2019).


Anke Beining-Wellhausen

Anke Beining-Wellhausen
Media Executive / Attorney-at-Law

Anke Beining-Wellhausen was born in Germany in 1964 and studied Law and Political Sciences in Bonn (DE), Geneva (CH) and at Ohio State University (USA). She holds a PhD in law and is admitted to the bar in New York and Germany.

She started her career with the production and distribution companies Senator Film and Kinowelt. After that, and for ten years, she was a member of the leadership team and Head of Legal, Business Affairs and Affiliate Sales of The Walt Disney Company in Munich. From 2011 to 2015 she was manager and programme director of the Swiss digital TV and media platform Teleclub and responsible for its pay TV channels and VOD services. In 2017, she was the CEO of worldwide sales company Global Screen in Munich.

Since 2016, she coproduced - on behalf of Teleclub and via her production company Utofilm whose founder and manager she is - over 60 feature films, documentaries and TV series (e.g. Heidi, Zwingli, Blue Note Record: Beyond the Notes, #Female Pleasure, Quartier de banques).

Anke Beining is a member of the expert commission for feature films of the Swiss Federal Office of Culture, teaches law in the realm of cinema at the Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK) and is part of the advisory board of the Journalism Innovators Programs of the Hamburg Media School. Besides, she works as a legal advisor, for example for the ETH Technology start-up Seervision AG.

Anke Beining lives and works in Zurich.


Ivan Madeo

Ivan Madeo
Producer

Ivan Madeo was born in 1976 in Berne (CH). After graduating as a film journalist and psychologist at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, he worked as a creative director and producer for some of the largest advertising agencies in Switzerland and Italy.

He then directed short films until he founded the production company Contrast Film (Berne/Zurich) in 2009 which produced several award-winning fiction films and documentaries - The Circle (Der Kreis, 2014), Wonderland (Heimatland, 2015), Midnight Runner (Der Läufer, 2018), Storm (Stürm, 2019), Caveman (2021) and many others - as well as TV productions, such as the Zurich ‘cases’ of Tatort.

Ivan Madeo was a jury member at several prestigious film festivals (Biennale Venice, Molodist Kyiv, FICG Guadalajara, Filmfest Hamburg), is an EAVE graduate and was Switzerland’s ‘Producer on the Move’ at the Cannes Film Festival. Besides, he is a board member of the Swiss Filmproducers’ Association SFP as well as a member of the European Film Academy, the Swiss Film Academy and the Expert Commission for Documentaries of the Swiss Federal Office of Culture.

Ivan Madeo lives and works in Berne and Zurich.


Christa Capaul

Christa Capaul
Screenwriter, script coach

Christa Capaul was born in Wallisellen in 1961. After studying psychology, training as a teacher and working for a few years in advertising, she worked for six years at Condor Features in various positions.

In 1993, she began training in screenwriting, first at the University of Los Angeles (UCLA), at the Programme for the International Launch of Long Running TV Series (PILOTS), and then in courses by Frank Daniel, Robert McKee, Linda Seger, Jürgen Wolff, John Vorhaus, Tom Schlesinger, and Phil Parker, among others.

Christa Capaul has been working as a freelance screenwriter and script consultant since 1994. She writes films for the big screen, TV films, series, sitcoms and other formats, advises authors and production companies and teaches and mentors at various institutes (‘Zentrum für neue Medien’, ‘Bundesakademie für kulturelle Bildung’, ‘Filmhaus Frankfurt’, ‘Drehbuchwerkstatt München/Zürich’, ‘Hochschule Luzern HSLU’ and FOCAL).

Christa Capaul is vice-president of the Swiss Filmmakers’ Association ARF/FDS and a member of two expert committees - fiction and animation film - of the Federal Office of Culture.

 


Anja Kofmel

Anja Kofmel
Animation and documentary filmmaker, illustrator

Born in 1982 in Lugano, Anja Kofmel grew up in Adliswil and Hirzel. After her studies at the Lucerne University of Art & Design (Hochschule Luzern HSLU -Design & Kunst), she continued her education at the ‘École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs’ (ENSAD) in Paris from which she graduated with a diploma in visual communication - specialisation in animation film.

From 2015 to 2017, she lived and worked in Croatia and Germany to make her animated documentary film (animadoc) for the big screen, CHRIS THE SWISS. The film was screened at numerous film festivals in Switzerland and abroad and won many awards. Since 2016, Anja Kofmel has been a guest lecturer at the ‘Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg’ in courses on animated documentary, storytelling & research, and since 2019, she has been teaching at the HSLU, in the animation film Master’s programme.

In 2016, she founded Asako Film, an animation studio based in Zurich.

Anja Kofmel is a member of the European Film Academy EFA, the Swiss Film Academy and the Swiss Animation Film Association GSFA.

 


Denis Séchaud

Denis Séchaud
Sound engineer, sound designer, sound editor

Denis Séchaud was born in Geneva in 1962. After high school, he attended the 'Institut des Arts de Diffusion' (IAD) in Brussels, where he graduated in 1987 with a degree in sound engineering, specialising in film.


Back in Geneva, he co-founded the post-production company Masé Studios in 1992 and has been its managing director ever since.


Since its inception, Masé Studios has been entrusted with the sound post-production of many successful Swiss and international cinema and television films, including Ma vie de Courgette, More than honey, Ceux qui travaillent, Sonita, Pour toujours, Yalda, Le vent tourne, Cellule de crise and Helvetica.


Since 2017, Denis Séchaud has been the president of the Association of Swiss Technical Industries for Film, Video and Sound (FTB/ASITIS) and the president of the AudioVideo Technician (TAV) training programme.


From 2012 to 2020, he was a member of the board of the Sound Design Studio (SDS) in Berne, from 1996 to 2004 he was a lecturer at the 'École Cantonale d'Art de Lausanne' (ECAL) in Vaud, from 2009 to 2015 he was co-director of the Rudolf Steiner School in Geneva and from 2005 to 2019 he was a speaker and technician at several FOCAL seminars.

 

 


Bettina Oberli

Bettina Oberli
Film director

Bettina Oberli was born in Interlaken in 1972 and studied filmmaking at the Zurich University of the Arts. Thereafter she worked in New York for the directors Hal Hartley and Steve Buscemi.

After her awarded debut with IM NORDWIND (2004) she wrote and directed LATE BLOOMERS in 2006. The film became the most succesful Swiss film over the last 30 years and was sold all over the world. In 2009 she directed TANNÖD – THE MURDER FARM in Germany. The film was shown in theatres and at festivals around the world and won several awards. In 2013 she directed her first theatre play, ANNA KARENINA, at the Theater Basel. Back on the film sets, she directed LOVELY LOUISE (2013), the two-part TV movie PRIVATE BANKING (2017) and her first French speaking feature film LE VENT TOURNE. Her last film, WANDA, is currently showing in cinemas, and she is preparing the direction of the German-Danish co-production VATERLAND (6 x 45 min.).

Bettina Oberli lives in Zürich.


Michael Steiger

Michael Steiger
Producer

Michael Steiger was born in Berne in 1965. After his studies at the European Business School in Reichhartshausen (DE), he specialised in marketing at Zurich University.

He started his career in 1990, working for Condor Films in Zurich. From 1995 to 2005, he lived in Berne, running the family business Steiger AG. From 2005 to 2015, he was the managing director and associate of C-Films in Zurich. Since 2013, he is the managing director and associate of BearPit Films in Berne and since August 2015, of Turnus Film in Zurich. He produced many box-office hits, such as Night Train to Lisbon (Nachtzug nach Lissabon) by Bille August, I am the Keeper (Dr Goalie bin ig) by Sabine Boss, The Awakeing of Motti Wolkenbruch (Wolkenbruchs wunderliche Reise in die Arme einer Schickse) by Michael Steiner, as well as many TV Movies and series, like Tatort, etc.

Michael Steiger lives and woks in Zurich and in Berne.


Sven Wälti

Sven Wälti
Head of coproductions SRG SSR

Born in 1972 in Fribourg, Sven Wälti studied law at the University of Fribourg and completed further training in political communication and cultural management.

Thereafter, he worked a collaborator of the legal advice service of SUISSIMAGE (Swiss Authors' Rights Cooperative for Audiovisual Works) and became managing director of Cinésuisse, the umbrella organisation of the Swiss film and audiovisual industry. From 2007 to 2010 he also worked as a correspondent for Cinébulletin.

Since April 2012, Sven Wälti has been in charge of SRG SSR’s co-productions at a general management level ( SRG SSR – Swiss broadcasting corporation). He coordinates all of SRG's film funding activities within the framework Pacte de l'audiovisuel, the coproduction agreement between SRG SSR and the independent Swiss film industry.

Besides, he is a member of the Federal Film Commission and of the ARTE’s Programme Committee.

Sven Wälit works in Berne and lives in Biel/Bienne.

Pictures by © Ayse Yavas


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