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.
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.
Laura Daniel studied German linguistics and literature, Cinema Studies and Philosophy at the University of Zurich and New York University and holds a CAS in Innovation and Change in Cultural Management from the University of Basel. Until 2023 she worked for the promotion agency SWISS FILMS and oversaw developing the Talent & Awards department.
She was CEO of the Swiss Film Academy from 2010 to 2014. Prior to that, she worked for World Sales Telepool as well as for various film festivals and production companies.
Laura Daniel is a member of the Swiss and European Filmacademy. She is also president of the board of the Swiss Youth Film Festival.
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.
Stefan Staub studied journalism, film studies and social psychology at the University of Zurich. After graduating, he was responsible for press relations and film promotion at Frenetic Films for two years. He worked as a program attaché for the Solothurner Filmtage and as program coordinator, project manager for industry events and coordinator of the short film night tour for the Internationale Kurzfilmtage Winterthur.
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».
Claude Witz studied film and English in Lausanne and obtained a degree in visual communication at the Ecole Cantonale d'Art de Lausanne (ECAL). During and after his training, he worked as a camera assistant and then as a lighting technician on numerous productions in Switzerland and abroad. For more than ten years, he has been active as executive producer and production manager in the different linguistic regions of Switzerland (among others on feature films such as LA DÉRIVE DES CONTINENTS AU SUD (Banditafilms), THE DIVINE ORDER (Zodiac Pictures) as well as on series such as SACHA (Rita Productions), and FRIEDEN (Zodiac Pictures). Claude Witz lives in La Chaux-de-Fonds.
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.
Martin Skalsky is a film music director and composer. He studied contemporary composition at the Zurich High School of Art (ZHdK) and earned a master’s degree in musicology, economics, and computer science from the University of Zurich. Martin composed the music of many documentaries, fiction films and series. In 2019, he directed and produced his first feature documentary film: Cody - the dog days are over. Presented as a world premiere at the Zurich Film Festival in 2019, the film was screened at several international film festivals. It was sold in ten countries and released in theatres in Switzerland and Germany. Martin is currently working on other feature documentary formats as well as on his first feature film.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
Giorgia de Coppi
Giorgia De Coppi was born in Baden in 1963. She graduated in Romance Studies and Art History from the University of Zurich in 1987.
Giorgia de Coppi has worked as an assistant director and a recording director in more than 50 film productions, including Simon Jaquemet’s Electric Child (planned for 2024), Jan Gassmann's 99 Moons (2022), Claudia Reynicke’s Love me Tender (2019) and Paolo Sorrentino’s Youth (2015) as well as Der Goali bin ig by Sabine Boss (2014), Giulias Verschwinden by Christoph Schaub (2009), and Vollmond by Fredi M. Murer (1998).
Giorgia de Coppi is a member of the Schweizer Syndikat Film und Video SSFV.
In 2019, she received the Prix d’honneur at the Solothurn Film Festival.
Giorgia de Coppi lives in Rome.
Valérie Cuénod was born in Geneva in the 1960s. She graduated from the Swiss Acting Institute Zurich in 1994, which then took her to the ZAV Talent Agency in Munich. From 2014 onwards, she undertook further training as a rhetoric lecturer and professional speaker.
After a promising start to her career in the title role of Lysistrate in ARISTOPHANES (1996) at “Masken-Spiele Augst” and several offers from municipal theatres, she took a family break. From 2006, Valérie Cuénod played the episodic role of Lola Riemer in the ARD series DAS GEHEIMNIS DEINES DEINES VATERS and the antagonist Anna Wagner in the German cinema production OSTZONE. She appeared in MARMORERA by Markus Fischer, in Urs Odermatt's DER BÖSE ONKEL and in HIMMELFAHRTS-KOMMANDO by Dennis Ledergerber. On stage, she has performed modern female characters such as Hannah Ley in WIR LIEBEN UND WISSEN and historical roles such as ANNA PESTALOZZI. She has directed over a dozen plays such as DIE PHYSIKER and DIE NASHÖRNER with celebrities, professionals and amateurs. Her voice can be heard in the SRF production SCHRECKMÜMPFELI (2022), among others.
Valérie Cuénod is engaged in the “Schweizer Syndikat Film und Video SSFV” association, where she’s a member of the board of the film acting professional group since 2014.
Valérie Cuénod lives in Baden.
Thomas Isler was born in Basel in 1967. He studied philosophy, history and sociology at the University of Basel before completing, in 1992, a filmmaking course at the School of Design Bern. He then completed a diploma in film/video design HFG at the Zurich University of the Arts.
Thomas Isler has been working as a freelance documentary filmmaker and video artist since 2000. His documentary Marchand d’art, Ernst Beyeler (2007) was shown at the Montréal International Festival of Films on Art, among others. His Wir kamen, um zu helfen (2013) was nominated for the Prix Soleure. With his documentary Die Demokratie ist los! (2014), Thomas Isler won the third competition of “Migros Kulturprozent” in the category Swiss documentary film.
In addition to his work as a filmmaker, Thomas Isler teaches at F+F Zurich, ZHdK and ZHAW. He is also a member and on the board of the “Verband Filmregie und Drehbuch Schweiz ARF/FDS”.
Thomas Isler lives with his family in Zurich.
Christoph Zahner was born in 1962. He obtained a Master of Science in biology from the University of Zurich in 1981. Towards the end of his university education, he began working as an instructor in the field of computer science, an activity he pursued as a freelancer from 1993 to 1996.
Christoph Zahner gained his extensive knowledge in the field of education and further education through several years of work, among others at ProDidacta Zurich (programme manager), the “Wirtschaftsinformatikschule Schweiz” in Zurich (course manager, later school operations manager) and the “Migros-Genossenschafts-Bund Zurich” (Management & Business product manager, later as head of Product Management Languages and Trainers, most recently as Management & Economy division manager).
Christoph Zahner is an examination expert at the Swiss Association for Management Training (SVF-ASFC). He lives in Zurich.
Pictures by © Ayse Yavas