Faculty

The DFFB’s rich network of industry contacts has enabled SERIAL EYES to secure highly respected scriptwriters, producers, directors and commissioning editors as instructors and guest lecturers. Top US and European showrunners are invited to lead workshops drawing on their particular expertise, while master classes and hands-on modules concentrate on the scriptwriting process and other vital aspects of serial production – always with a practical focus.

Core Tutors

Jana Burbach

Writer, German

Jana Burbach was born in 1985 in Munich and raised in Bonn, Lon­don, and Ber­lin. In 2007, she com­pleted a BA in Clas­sics and Eng­lish at the Uni­ver­sity of Oxford and in 2011 an MA in Expan­ded Theatre at the Bern Uni­ver­sity of the Arts. In theatre, she has worked as an assist­ant dir­ect­or, dir­ect­or, …

Ben Harris

Writer and Producer (UK)

Ben has just fin­ished writ­ing and exec­ut­ive pro­du­cing Young Wal­lander, the show he cre­ated for Yel­low­bird and Net­flix about the form­at­ive exper­i­ences of the icon­ic detect­ive Kurt Wal­lander. Before that, Ben wrote and exec­ut­ive pro­duced Dev­ils, star­ring Patrick Demp­sey for Lux Vide and Sky Italia, a con­spir­acy thrill­er set in the world of high fin­ance. …

Sarah Linton

Development Excecutive, UK

Sarah is a Seni­or Devel­op­ment Pro­du­cer at BBC Stu­di­os focused on new com­edy drama con­tent. Pri­or to the BBC, she was Devel­op­ment Exec­ut­ive at Kudos Film & Tele­vi­sion and worked on a mix­ture of drama and com­edy includ­ing Two Weeks To Live and You for Sky. Sarah pre­vi­ously worked as Script Edit­or on the first …

Nicola Lusuardi

Writer (Italy)

Since 1990, Nic­ola Lusuardi has been work­ing as a play­wright and screen­writer. He has been script con­sult­ant, super­visor and cre­at­ive pro­du­cer for sev­er­al Itali­an and European broad­casters and pro­duc­tion com­pan­ies. Since 2013 to 2019 he con­sul­ted the ori­gin­al scrip­ted con­tents pro­duced by Sky Italy. Since 2020 is Head of Devel­op­ment at The Apart­ment Pic­tures, a …

Frank Spotnitz

Showrunner (USA)

Award-win­n­ing Amer­ic­an writer and pro­du­cer Frank Spot­nitz is the Chief Exec­ut­ive of Big Light Pro­duc­tions Ltd., over­see­ing a diverse slate of tele­vi­sion series. Most recently, Spot­nitz co-cre­ated and exec­ut­ive pro­duced the drama series Leonardo, star­ring Aidan Turn­er, Fred­die High­more and Mat­ilda De Angel­is, which was a block­buster hit on RAI in Italy and premiered on …

Cyril Tysz

Writer, Story editor, Producer (France/USA)

Born in Par­is, Cyril first stud­ied film­mak­ing at the Sor­bonne, then at UCLA. He then learnt hands-on pro­duc­tion on the sets of Tim Burton’s Edward Scis­sorhands and Laurence Kazdan’s pro­duced film Dizzi­ness. His career in screen­writ­ing and devel­op­ment began at com­pan­ies like Pan­dora, Arte, Canal Plus, Equi­noxe and Tele Images. After a few years as a devel­op­ment exec­ut­ive in …

Instructors

Jan Bennemann

Creative Executive, Netflix

Jan Ben­nemann joined Net­flix in April 2021 as Man­ager, Loc­al Lan­guage Series, Ger­many. The seasoned TV exec­ut­ive has 20 years of exper­i­ence in the devel­op­ment, fin­an­cing, pro­duc­tion and acquis­i­tion of seri­al­ized TV drama for the Ger­­­man-speak­­ing and the inter­na­tion­al mar­ket. With his team, Ben­nemann is cur­rently real­iz­ing the second sea­son of the suc­cess­ful Ger­­­man-lan­guage series …

David Bianculli

TV critic, author, editor and columnist (USA)

Dav­id Bian­culli has been the TV crit­ic for Nation­al Pub­lic Radio’s Fresh Air, where he also appears as occa­sion­al guest host, since 1987. He has worked as a TV crit­ic for news­pa­pers in Flor­ida, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York, most recently for the New York Daily News from 1993–2007. For 14 years, from 2007–21, he …

Maria Cervera

Producer (Spain)

Maria has been telling audi­ovisu­al stor­ies for over 15 years. Her pro­fes­sion­al path has lead her through Ger­man TV fic­tion, inde­pend­ent film pro­duc­tion, the pub­lish­ing world, inter­na­tion­al co-pro­­duc­­tions and con­tent for VOD plat­forms. Since 2011, Maria man­aged devel­op­ment and inter­na­tion­al co-pro­­duc­­tions for the Span­ish pro­duc­tion com­pany Pla­no a Pla­no. In 2017, Maria became part of …

Piodor Gustafsson

Producer (Sweden)

Piod­or Gust­afs­son has more than thirty years of exper­i­ence with­in film, TV and advert­ising. Since Septem­ber 2020 Piod­or is respons­ible for Scrip­ted Con­tent in the Nor­d­ic ter­rit­ory at TV4 Media. Piod­or has pre­vi­ously worked as CEO for Black Spark Film & TV, Head of Pro­gram­ming and Com­mis­sion­ing Edit­or at SVT and as a com­mis­sion­ing Fea­ture …

Kirsten Ittershagen

Writer (Germany)

Kirsten Itter­sha­gen was born and raised in Ham­burg, Ger­many. After gradu­at­ing her stud­ies of Soci­ology, Cul­tur­al Stud­ies, Polit­ics and Psy­cho­logy at the Uni­ver­sity of Ham­burg, she began work­ing in advert­ising and brand man­age­ment but dreamed of a career in the TV Industry. In 2005 she decided to make the leap of faith. Kirsten Itter­sha­gen moved …

Dominique Jubin

Producer, Studiocanal Original (France)

Domi­n­ique gradu­ated from French lead­ing movie school LA FEMIS with a major in Screen­writ­ing. For ten years, she worked as Dir­ect­or of French Drama and Co-Pro­­duc­­tions at the Canal+ Créa­tion Ori­ginale (Ori­gin­al Pro­gram­ming) Depart­ment, where she played a pivotal role in their series’ devel­op­ment. In 2016, Domi­n­ique was appoin­ted Exec­ut­ive Cre­at­ive VP of Stu­di­ocanal TV …

Gabor Krigler

Writer, Hungary

Gabor’s career began in the writ­ing staff of a daily seri­al at Grundy UFA in 1999. He became a Cre­at­ive Exec­ut­ive at the Bud­apest office of HBO Europe in 2010, respons­ible for all cre­at­ive aspects of devel­op­ment and pro­duc­tion. After leav­ing HBO at the end of 2018, Gabor went on to found his own com­pany, …

Steve Matthews

VP Executive Producer, Drama Development, HBO Europe

Steve was Con­sult­ing Pro­du­cer on all three series of Neil Jordan’s series The Bor­gi­as for Show­time Net­works, and pro­duced four series of RTE’s award win­ning Dub­lin gang­ster series Love/Hate. He was formerly Head of Devel­op­ment at Ray Winstone’s Size 9 Pro­duc­tions and worked as a script edit­or at the BBC on Silent Wit­ness. He is …

Sonia Moyersoen

Writer, Story Editor (France)

Born in 1966, Sonia Moy­er­soen first com­pleted a law degree and stud­ied theatre before becom­ing an act­ress. Since 1994, she has developed around a hun­dred TV movies, in the capa­city of Head of Devel­op­ment at GMT Pro­duc­tions: includ­ing Monte-Cristo, Balzac, Les Mis­ér­ables, Aime ton père by Jac­ob Ber­ger. Since 2007, she has super­vised and acted …

Maggie Murphy

Co-head of Shaftesbury U.S., (USA)

Mag­gie Murphy is an inde­pend­ent Exec­ut­ive Pro­du­cer for Shaft­es­bury U.S. and foun­ded the company’s Los Angeles-based divi­sion focused on devel­op­ment for the U.S., Cana­dian, and inter­na­tion­al mar­kets. She has a new pro­ject in devel­op­ment at CBC in Canada with Katie Ford (MISS CONGENIALITY) writ­ing. Her most recent pro­du­cing cred­it is the drama series HOUDINI & …

Michaela Sabo

Writer, Slovakia

Michaela stud­ied at VŠMU (Slov­akia), DAMU (Czech Repub­lic) and UCLA (Los Angeles). In 2014, Michaela moved to Ber­lin to be part of a Ser­i­al-Eyes pro­gram. An intens­ive 8‑month post­gradu­ate course on TV writ­ing and show run­ning based in Ber­lin. Michaela found her net­work dur­ing the stud­ies and is cur­rently liv­ing in Ber­lin. Michaela was part …

Donna Sharpe

Writer (UK,Germany)

Donna Sharpe is co-writ­ing TROM, a Dan­ish political/crime thrill­er series (6 x 54 for Viaplay Nor­d­ic, ZDF and the BBC, sched­uled to shoot sum­mer 2020). Pri­or to his, she co-wrote all six epis­odes of Ber­­lin-set espi­on­age drama WEST OF LIBERTY (6 x 45 for ZDF and SVT, 2019), as well as the pilot for Sea­son 2 (in devel­op­ment). …

Freya Stewart

Freya Stew­art was born in 1964 in West Ber­lin. She was part of artist col­lect­ives and bands in Ber­lin in the 1980s. In 1986 she immig­rated to Los Angeles, where she worked as an inter­pret­er on film sets, read­er, and script con­sult­ant. 1999 to 2001 she stud­ied screen­writ­ing at dffb and has lived and worked …

Jo Strevens

Executive Producer, UK

Jo has been an Exec­ut­ive Pro­du­cer at Car­ni­val Films since 2019, after join­ing the team as Head of Devel­op­ment in 2016. Pri­or to join­ing Car­ni­val, Jo was at Kudos Pro­duc­tions, where she was Story Pro­du­cer on The Tun­nel and then Head of Devel­op­ment. Jo trained as a Script Edit­or at the BBC, where she worked …

Johnathan Young

VP Original Production, HBO Central Europe

Johnath­an Young is a pro­du­cer and exec­ut­ive pro­du­cer with a long his­tory in the tele­vi­sion industry. He joined HBO Europe as an Exec­ut­ive Pro­du­cer in 2014, and was respons­ible for Mamon in the Czech Repub­lic and Pakt in Poland in 2015, and Pakt2 and Valea Muta in Romania in 2016. In Janu­ary 2017 he became …

Klaus Zimmermann

Managing Partner, Dynamic Television (Germany/ France)

Klaus Zimmermann’s career star­ted in 1993 at the Ger­man com­pany Kirch­Gruppe. For two years, he worked in Munich along­side the company’s Dir­ect­or of Pro­duc­tion and Dis­tri­bu­tion, Jan Mojto. He was suc­cess­ively in charge of mar­ket­ing, inter­na­tion­al dis­tri­bu­tion and inter­na­tion­al pro­duc­tions. In this capa­city, he par­ti­cip­ated in pro­duc­tion of anim­a­tion films, fea­ture films, tele­vi­sion series and …

Mentors

Hanno Hackfort

Writer, German

Han­no Hack­fort was born in Pader­born in 1970. After jobs as Assist­ent Dir­ect­or and musi­cian on sev­er­al theatre pro­duc­tions, he star­ted work­ing as Boomop­er­at­or and Sound Engin­eer on vari­ous TV and fea­ture films in Ger­many and abroad. At the same time, he star­ted dir­ect­ing his own short films and in 2002 he  shot his fea­ture …

Kirsten Ittershagen

Writer (Germany)

Kirsten Itter­sha­gen was born and raised in Ham­burg, Ger­many. After gradu­at­ing her stud­ies of Soci­ology, Cul­tur­al Stud­ies, Polit­ics and Psy­cho­logy at the Uni­ver­sity of Ham­burg, she began work­ing in advert­ising and brand man­age­ment but dreamed of a career in the TV Industry. In 2005 she decided to make the leap of faith. Kirsten Itter­sha­gen moved …

Bob Konrad

Writer, German

Bob Kon­rad was born in Heidel­berg in 1968 and stud­ied at the UdK Ber­lin. Since 1993 he has writ­ten and dir­ec­ted numer­ous radio plays, radio play series and radio com­edy for pub­lic broad­casters. He found his way to tele­vi­sion in 2000 through an anim­a­tion series. His first fea­ture film Bess­er als Schule fol­lowed. Since then …

Richard Kropf

Writer

Richard Kropf was born in West Ber­lin in 1979. He began his career as an act­or and trained at the Lee Stras­berg Insti­tute in New York before writ­ing the short film Bum Bum in 2005, which he co-dir­ec­ted with Mar­cus Schuster. Kropf then focused on screen­writ­ing and was co-head writer of the SAT1 series Der …

Kirsten Loose

After study­ing Cul­tur­al Stud­ies and Aes­thet­ic Prac­tices in Hildesheim, Kirsten worked for many years as a script con­sult­ant and cre­at­ive pro­du­cer for weekly TV series (Linden­strasse, ARD). She also provided script con­sult­ing for art­house film pro­jects and developed audi­ence engage­ment strategies for them. In 2017 Kirsten kicked off her own writ­ing career by co-writ­ing the …

Stefanie Ren

Writer, Taiwan/Germany

Stefanie Ren, born in 1987 in Pingtung/Taiwan, grew up as the child of a Chinese fath­er and a Ger­man moth­er in the Black Forest. She stud­ied screen­writ­ing at the Fil­makademie Baden-Württem­berg. Her short films won over 70 awards, includ­ing screen­ings in Cannes at Short Tiger and a nom­in­a­tion for the Ger­man Short Film Award for …

Dennis Schanz

Writer, Germany

Born and raised in Ber­lin, Den­nis stud­ied film and Amer­ic­an stud­ies in Ber­lin, Zurich, Mainz, and Kan­sas (M.A.). After tak­ing part in Seri­al Eyes, he co-foun­­ded the Ber­­lin-based pro­duc­tion com­pany StickUp Films where is pro­du­cer, part­ner and head of devel­op­ment. He is the cre­at­or of Sky­lines (2019) and showrun­ner on Dop­pe­haushälfte (2021).

Elisabeth Schub

Writer, France/US

Emmy® Award nom­in­ated Eliza­beth Schub Kamir is cur­rently a screen­writer and story edit­or for a new, anim­ated Dis­ney Ori­gin­als series. Pri­or to this role, she has worked as a writer across genres, for major world­wide broad­cast, stream­ing and pro­duc­tion entit­ies. Since 2019, Eliza­beth has been a key cre­at­ive advisor, ment­or, and core tutor at Can­neser­ies …

Donna Sharpe

Writer (UK,Germany)

Donna Sharpe is co-writ­ing TROM, a Dan­ish political/crime thrill­er series (6 x 54 for Viaplay Nor­d­ic, ZDF and the BBC, sched­uled to shoot sum­mer 2020). Pri­or to his, she co-wrote all six epis­odes of Ber­­lin-set espi­on­age drama WEST OF LIBERTY (6 x 45 for ZDF and SVT, 2019), as well as the pilot for Sea­son 2 (in devel­op­ment). …

Sabine Steyer-Violet

Writer, Producer (Germany)

  Sabine Stey­er-Viol­­et is a screen­writer (Oth­er Par­ents, TNT Series or Eldor­ado KadeWe, ARD) and cre­at­ive pro­du­cer (Unortho­dox, Net­flix) and works some­times as a music super­visor too. She stud­ied visu­al com­mu­nic­a­tion with Wim Wenders at the Hoch­schule für bildende Kün­ste Ham­burg and has taken fur­ther train­ing to become a fic­tion pro­du­cer. After her stud­ies she com­pleted a fea­ture …

Special Guest Speakers

Jantje Friese

Jantje Friese, after gradu­at­ing Uni­ver­sity of Tele­vi­sion and Film Munich (HFF), ini­tially worked as a pro­du­cer, includ­ing The Silence (2010), the dir­ect­ing debut of Baran bo Odar. Togeth­er with Baran bo Odar, she wrote the screen­play for Who Am I – No Sys­tem Is Safe, which was dir­ec­ted by Odar in 2014. In the same …

Channing Dungey

Ms. Chan­ning Dun­gey has been Pres­id­ent of ABC Prime­time Enter­tain­ment since Feb­ru­ary 17, 2016. Ms. Dun­gey served as Seni­or Vice Pres­id­ent of Drama at ABC Prime­time Enter­tain­ment since June 2009. She served as Seni­or Vice Pres­id­ent of Drama Devel­op­ment at Touch­stone Tele­vi­sion Pro­duc­tions, LLC (formerly ABC Tele­vi­sion Stu­dio) and also served as its Vice Pres­id­ent …

Jeppe Gjervig Gram

Writer (Denmark)

Win­ner of the BAFTA for Best Inter­na­tion­al Series, 2012 Jeppe Gjer­vig Gram was born 1976 in Odense, Den­mark. After uni­ver­sity stud­ies, he worked for 6 years as a drama series con­sult­ant for Dan­ish net­work TV 2, deal­ing with acquis­i­tion of inter­na­tion­al series as well as com­mis­sion­ing of ori­gin­al Dan­ish series, before enrolling in the screen­writ­ing …

Jed Mercurio

Writer (UK)

Jed Mer­curio is one of the few UK script-writers to work as an Amer­­ic­an-style showrun­ner. His most recent cred­it, Line of Duty, is the most watched BBC2 drama series in the mul­tichan­nel era. His oth­er cred­its include Lady Chatterley’s Lov­er, Crit­ic­al, Strike Back, Bod­ies, The Grim­leys, Invasion:Earth and Car­di­ac Arrest. Line of Duty and Bod­ies …

Abi Morgan

Writer (UK)

  Abi Morgan’s plays include SKINNED and SLEEPING AROUND (Paines Plough); TINY DYNAMITE (Tra­verse); TENDER (Hamp­stead); SPLENDOUR and FUGEE (Nation­al Theatre), LOVESONG (Frantic Assembly) and 27 (NTS) and The MISTRESS CONTRACT (Roy­al Court) . Her tele­vi­sion work includes MY FRAGILE HEART, MURDER, SEX TRAFFIC, TSUNAMI – THE AFTERMATH, WHITE GIRL, ROYAL WEDDING, BIRDSONG and THE …

Tatjana Samopjan

Tat­jana Sam­op­jan is a cre­at­ive con­sult­ant, lec­turer and coach spe­cial­ising in devel­op­ment of TV series, films and doc­u­ment­ar­ies. Tat­jana has worked with ACE Pro­du­cers, EAVE, European TV Drama Series Lab, Flanders Audi­ovisu­al Fund, Gothen­burg Film Fest­iv­al, Enter­tain­ment Mas­ter Class, Hel­sinki Script, The Neth­er­lands Film Academy, Inter­na­tion­al Film School Cologne, Uni­ver­sity of Tele­vi­sion and Film Munich, …

Anna Winger

Showrunner (USA, Germany)

Anna Wing­er is the cre­at­or of the acclaimed TV series  Deutsch­land 83 and Deutsch­land 86. Her nov­el This Must Be the Place is pub­lished by River­head Pen­guin.Her essays have appeared in The NewYork Times Magazine, Con­dé Nast Trav­el­er and the Frank­furter Allge­meine Zei­tung. Her work for Deutsch­land 83 has been awar­ded with an Inter­na­tion­al Emmy …