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The Hosts & Jury

The International Rare Disease Filmfestival is moderated by highly regarded German filmmakers and judged by a jury of renowned film critics and producers.


Knut Elstermann

Knut Elstermann, born in East Berlin in 1960, studied Journalism in Leipzig and worked as a producer for a variety of media outlets under the then DDR (German Democratic Republic).

Since the unification he is a freelance moderator and film journalist, mostly for the Mitteldeutscher (MDD) and Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg (rbb radio1) radio channels. An author of books as well as numerous features for television and radio, including those on Israeli and Russian cinema and the DEFA story, Knut Elstermann is a member of the Academy of Performing Arts.

Tom Neitzke

Working as a photographer for music publishers and film productions in the eighties, Tom Neitzke transitioned into his career in television design at the beginning of the nineties, with various works in the field of music video, concepts, and the implementation of entire broadcast designs.

At the end of the nineties, he started his extensive work in the field of image film. Parallel to this, Tom Neitzke created the design packaging for numerous formats and documentaries.

Tom joined CENTOGENE as Head of Corporate Films & Animation in 2019, originally creating image and information films on rare diseases and later for COVID_19 testing. Tom documented the impacts of the company charity testing program in Lahore and in 2020 he launched and produces the CENTOGENE Rare Disease Filmfestival.

© Alex Janetzko

Thomas Hailer

Thomas Hailer is Artistic Director of the Lübeck Nordic Film Days, a dramaturg, and script consultant. He is also a certified professional in systemic organizational and change management since 2018.

As Berlinale Curator until 2019, he advised the festival director on all aspects concerning the program of the Berlin International Film Festival, from programmatic to film selection as well as coordination with the festival's program sections. Previously, from 2002 to 2008, Thomas Hailer was head of the Berlinale section Generation (formerly Kinderfilmfest/14plus).

Since 2000 Thomas Hailer has been a member of the Board of Studies of the Academy for Children's Media. In 2013 he additionally took over the course management for the youth programming format FAT, Formate aus Thüringen.

Jury Members

© Privat

Heino Deckert

Producer & Film Distributor

Since entering the film industry, Heino has produced more than 120 documentaries, alongside international directors, such as Sergei Loznitsa, Hartmut Bitomsky, Victor Kossakovsky, Ai Weiwei, and Thomas Heise.

Currently, his documentary Aquarela, directed by Victor Kossakovsky, is being screened in Venice and has been shortlisted for an Oscar as well as the German and European Film Award. In 2019, he produced the award-winning film directed by Thomas Heise – Heimat ist ein Raum aus Zeit – which is currently being shown in German cinemas.

Since 2006, Heino has also produced feature films with directors who originally worked in the documentary industry, including Khadak in 2006, which received the Golden Lion for Best First Feature, and most recently Donbass, which won the Un Certain Regard award for Best Director at the Cannes Film Festival in 2018. Additionally, Heino is an active sales agent within his company Deckert Distribution, one of the world's leading distributors of documentaries.

© Michael Kruse

Anna Grün


Anna Grün has been producing documentaries for German public broadcasters as well as international broadcasters for 15 years. She specializes in scientific topics and the creation of new formats.

Her most notable projects in recent years have been Schöne neue Gentechnik, a multi-part documentary for the television channel 3sat, the German series Das soll Recht sein? with Ingo Zamperoni as part of ARD’s theme week Gerechtigkeit, and the science magazine Hot Spot for the TV channel, Al Arabiya.

© Antonia Richter

Gunter Hanfgarn


Gunter Hanfgarn has been producing documentaries and feature films since 1991, including numerous international and award-winning co-productions and debuts.

Gunter received the Grimme Prize Fikton for producing Susanna Salonen's feature film Patong Girl and was nominated for the German Film Prize for No Land’s Song by Ayat Najafi. His co-productions Carne de perro and Pelo Malo received the main prize at the San Sebastian Film Festival. Gunter is a member of the German and European Film Academy.

More on Gunter Hanfgarn: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0359818/

© Berlinale Talents / Cécile Mella

Florian Weghorn

Programme Manager Berlinale Talents

Florian Weghorn is the Programme Manager of Berlinale Talents, the annual summit and talent development initiative of the Berlin International Film Festival. He also advises the seven Berlinale Talents offshoots around the world, ranging from Beirut to Tokyo.

Florian Weghorn joined the Berlinale Team in 2002, initially working for the Generation section. From 2008 to 2014, he was the section’s Co-Director and a Curator of numerous short and feature films. Between 2012 and 2019, Florian was also a member of the Berlinale Competition Selection Committee.

© hmt Rostock

Susanne Winnacker

Deputy Director

Susanne Winnacker is Deputy Director of the Schauspielhaus Bochum, one of the most notable drama theaters in Germany. From 2012 to 2019, she was Rector of the Rostock University of Music and Theatre.

Previously, Dr. Winnacker was an Assistant Professor at the University of Frankfurt, Lecturer at S. Fischer Verlag, and since 2001, Artistic Director of the Kroonstukjes/Kronjuwelen Festival in Münster. From 2002 to 2005, she worked in the management team of DasArts Amsterdam. In 2004, she took over the general management of the Theaterfestival in Basel. She also served as Deputy Artistic Director, Head Dramaturge, and Dance Curator at the Deutsches Nationaltheater Weimar. She then worked as a Lecturer for Directing at the Frankfurt University of Music and Performing Arts.