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 Irja von Bernstorff

Director and Producer

Irja is an award-winning documentary producer, director and environmentalist. She has worked for ARD, ZDF, ARTE , ProSieben, NHK , numerous NGO’s and has directed commercial films for international companies with a focus on sustainability. In 2013 Irja moved to Bhutan, where she was the first foreigner to direct a 25-episode series for the Bhutanese National Broadcaster BBS called “The Farmer – Sonam Zhingpa”.


    The feature-length documentary “The Farmer and I” reflects her personal experience in Bhutan, premiered in 2016 on the Max-Ophüls Film Festival and had a theatrical release in German cinemas. It won Best Documentary Film at the Polish International Film Festival and the Hollywood International Independent Film Festival.

    Since 2016 she has produced and directed several documentaries on children in challenging situations that have aired on KIKA/SWR. Her portrait on a child forced to work in a tannery in Bangladesh called “Ridoy” (30 min) was awarded one of the ten best children film productions in 2018/2019 by German National Broadcaster ARD.

    In 2019, Irja produced and directed a film called "Bhutan – Change in the Happy Kingdom" a co-production between NDR and ARTE. 

    In 2020, Radio Bremen, ARTE and SWR commissioned a feature-length documentary “GIRLS FOR FUTURE” (original title “Kinder der Klimakrise”) about four girls who are environmental activists, fighting to save their homes and their communities. Irja also directed a mini-series 4 x 25 min. (Original title: “Wenn nicht ihr, dann wir!”) commissioned by KIKA/SWR and Radio Bremen that portrayed each of the girls in their unique struggle for a better future. 


      Production Crew made in Bhutan!

      When Irja moved to Bhutan in 2013, she was fortunate to find and build a team of very passionate and talented filmmakers: DOP Sonam Rinzin, Sound Operator Sangay Dorji and editor Kinley Tshering. In Bhutan there are no film schools and very few have the means to study abroad. All members of the core film team are self-taught. For the production of “GIRLS FOR FUTURE” they travelled for the first time around the world to capture the story of these inspiring young activists.

    Local Production Team

    For such a worldwide production the starting and access point is always the local producers and fixers in the respective countries without their expertise nothing would work. This film was blessed with an amazingly strong, passionate and highly professional crew that made every shooting unforgettable and even possible in Senegal during the pandemic. Special thanks goes to: Deepak Ashwani, Sourabh Saini, Kim Ngyuen, Devianti Faridz and Awa Ly.

    Post-Production made in Berlin!

    Being the founding members of film production company ‘Monic Films’ Maximilian Pauly and Jonas Harmsen are the best address in Berlin when it comes to complex film projects dear to one’s heart. With their broad know-how in media campaigns as well as their technical expertise they have not only mastered the post production but will continue to accompany the impact campaign of “GIRLS FOR FUTURE”.

    Amelia Hanibelsz

    Amelia is a two-time Primetime Emmy-nominated Supervising Producer and Genesis Award-winning producer-director. For over two decades, Amelia has developed, pitched, produced, directed, supervised, and executive produced award-winning content for Discovery, National Geographic, Animal Planet, History Channel, FremantleMedia, Smithsonian Channel, A&E, and VICE in New York, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Geneva, and France. Her ultimale passion lies in creating social change through powerful stories.

    Elizabeth Radshaw

    Being the Industry Programmes Director at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, Elizabeth oversees the festival and year-round industry programmes. At its centre is the Hot Docs Forum, a documentary film pitching forum which provides a unique opportunity to pitch feature documentaries, series and interactive documentary projects to financiers. Additionally, she curates the Conference and other market events. Her passion lies in securing an audience for documentaries in a highly competitive market.

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