International Competition


Špela Čadež

Filmmaker, Producer, Co-Founder Finta Studio, Ljubljana


Špela Čadež is an animation director and a co-founder of Finta Studio in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Her films have received more than 130 awards at festivals worldwide and were screened in competition selections such as at the Sundance Film Festival, in Clermont Ferrand and Annecy. A passionate advocate for the analogue, Špela Čadež has impressed with films in puppet and cut-out animation techniques.


Ebele Okoye

Producer, Director, Designer, VR Artist, Berlin


Ebele Okoye is a Berlin-based Nigerian-German animation producer, designer, director, and VR artist. As Africa’s first female animator, a pioneer of the animation industry on the continent, an animation entrepreneur and multimedia creator with over 20 years of industry experience she takes pride in being often referred to as the “Mother of African Animation”. A two-time winner of the Africa Movie Academy Award and the Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF), she also has received many recognitions and prizes worldwide. She has also taught animation in universities, is a sought-after jury member, instructor, speaker, and panellist for industry events globally. In 2022, she took a step into the world of EdTech and founded Spunky Toonz, a startup creating materials that nurture healthy, communal, and ecology-friendly mindsets in preschoolers and young children.


Carolina López Caballero

Artistic Director Animac Festival, Lleida


Artistic director of Animac Lleida, the International Animation Film Show of Catalonia and curator of Animario Madrid, International Festival of Contemporary Animated Film. She has curated “Metamorphosis. Fantastic visions of Starewitch, Švankmajer and the Quay brothers”, exhibition co-produced by the CCCB (Barcelona 2014) and La Casa Encendida (Madrid 2014-2015) and “From doodles to pixel, more than a hundred years of Spanish animation”. The program co-produced by the CCCB and AC/E, presented at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival and the MoMA in New York, among other venues internationally. She directed Xcèntric, the CCCB’s cinema for 12 years and founded Anima’t, the animated section of the Sitges Fantastic Film Festival. He has curated animation at ArtFutura, FICG Guadalajara International Film Festival (Mexico) and MACBA, as well as film cycles for other festivals, museums, and art centers. He has created personal and commissioned audiovisual pieces in the United States (where he worked on staff for MTV and Locomotion), United Kingdom (MTV Europe), Italy (RAI), Iceland (ILM Films) and Spain (Canal Plus, TVE, Tesauro Films).

She is a lecturer at museums, festivals and universities and a professor at the Image and Multimedia Technology Center of the UPC. She holds a 5 year Degree in Fine Arts by UB (Barcelona University) and a Batchelor Degree in animation by UCA Farnham (University for Creative Arts) in the UK. She’s a doctoral candidate at the UPF Barcelona (Pompeu Fabra University)

Her writings on animation have been published in books, newspapers, and magazines. He is a member of governmental commissions, as well as juries in animation festivals such as Annecy (France), Ottawa (Canada) and Zagreb (Croatia).

Pre-Selection Jury:

  • Verena Fels (Ludwigsburg)
  • Till Penzek (Hamburg)
  • Christina Schindler (Potsdam)
  • Annegret Richter (Leipzig/Stuttgart)

Student Competition

Agnes Li headshot

Agnes Li

Coordinator ASIFA Award Ceremonies, Comitee of Asia Animation Summit


Jonatan Schwenk

Director, Animator, Producer, Sounddesigner, Berlin


Jonatan Schwenk, born in 1987 in Göttingen, is a director, animator, producer, and sound designer. His animated short films have gained widespread acclaim at major international festivals. His graduation film, “Zoon” (2022), premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and received numerous awards, notably in Ottawa, Hiroshima, and Stuttgart (Lotte Reiniger Promotion Award 2023). His film “Sog” (2017) won the Cristal Award of Annecy International Animated Film Festival and qualified for the Academy Awards. As an animator and sound designer, Jonatan Schwenk competed twice at the Berlinale. Jonatan Schwenk is a graduate of the Hochschule für Gestaltung Offenbach. In 2020, he was chosen for the Berlinale Talents programme, in 2022, he participated in the International Residency for Animated Films of the NEF and, in 2023/24, he was selected for the European Animation Development Lab “Animation Sans Frontières”.

Foto: Giorgos-Frangiskos
Foto: Giorgos-Frangiskos

Maria Anestopoulou

Co-Founder and Festival Director of Animasyros International Animation Festival, Greece


Born in Larissa, Greece. She studied Law at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and pursued postgraduate studies in Intellectual & Industrial Property Law at the University of Kent in the UK. She has been a founding member and programme director of Platforma Video, an international film festival dedicated to the art of digital film that has been taking place in Athens from 2003-2009. In 2008, she founded, with Vassilis Karamitsanis, Animasyros International Animation Festival, the largest animation event in Greece ( There, she holds the position of the Festival Director. In this capacity she has developed international cooperation schemes with multiple animation organisations, and she is particularly dedicated to the promotion of the local animation industry internationally. She has also served as a member of the Board of Directors of ASIFA Hellas. In her non-animated world, she works as a legal advisor at the General Secretariat of Public Investments and the European Structural Funds, and she collects fridge magnets.

Pre-Selection Jury:

  • Shadi Adib (Ludwigsburg)
  • Paul Maresch (Munich)
  • Franka Sachse (Weimar)
  • Hannes Rall (Singapore)


Nicolas Burlet

Nicolas Burlet

Producer, Founder Nadasdy Film, Geneva


Born in Geneva in 1969, Nicolas Burlet holds a degree in engineering, a master’s in political science, a master’s in business administration and a master’s in communication and media science. A film lover since childhood, he founded with his friend, director Zoltán Horváth, Nadasdy Film. Since 2008, he has focused himself entirely to producing and developing Nadasdy Film. Since then, he has produced almost 116 animation projects, including 6 feature films, 76 shorts, 14 series, 3 documentaries and 14 specials.

Kristine Knudsen

Kristine Knudsen

Producer, Co-Founder Knudsen Pictures GmbH, Berlin and Den siste skilling AS in Bergen, Norway


Norwegian producer, studied Film Production at Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg. Co-founded Knudsen Pictures GmbH in Berlin in 2005 and Den siste skilling AS in Bergen, Norway in 2010. Holds alumni status from programs including MEGA Master, EAVE, Inside Pictures, ACE Animation, and ACE Leadership. Notable productions include CGI animated films “Richard the Stork” (2017) and sequel “Richard the Stork and the Mystery of the Great Jewel” (2023), former grossing $20m globally. Nominated for “European Animation Producer of the year 2017” at Cartoon Movie and awarded Bavarian Film Award for “Best German Children’s Film” 2018. Executive producer on 2D animated feature “Titina” (2022).


Kaya Kuhn

Producer, Founder Those Production Girls, Johannesburg, South Africa


With 10+ years of experience in production, Kaya Kuhn is a versatile producer, specializing in post-production and animation. She started her career in the South African film industry in live action post-production where she notably post-produced six seasons of reality television series ‘The Voice’.  In 2017, she took the leap into producing animation at renowned studio ‘Triggerfish’. Since then, she line produced critically acclaimed short films ‘Zog’ (BBC1) and ‘The Snail and The Whale’ (BBC1), co-produced animated feature film ‘Seal Team’ (Netflix), was involved with pre-production for animated series ‘Mama K’s Team 4’ (Netflix) and ‘Kiya & the Kimoja Heroes’ (Disney+), and most recently was the senior producer on the groundbreaking anthology ‘Kizazi Moto: Generation Fire’ (Disney+) and the consultant producer for animated short ‘Aau’s Song’ which forms part of anthology ‘Star Wars: Visions Volume 2’ (LucasFilms). She has also produced numerous live action feature films for local South African broadcaster, Kyknet. Kaya is involved with organizations including Triggerfish Academy and Foundation, Animation SA and AFDA in running training and mentorship programs for aspiring African producers; and has been involved in various festival workshops and panels speaking on the role of production and the need for diversification in the industry.

In 2022 she founded production management company ‘Those Production Girls’ which offers high end production support through innovation and inclusion. Through Those Production Girls she consults for internationally acclaimed companies such as Magic Light Pictures, Giant Animation and Nexus Studios.

Pre-Selection Jury:

  • Richard Lutterbeck (Cologne)
  • Christian Meinke (Regensburg)
  • Silke Wilfinger (Munich)
  • Grit Wißkirchen (Erfurt)

Trickstar Nature Award

Beatrix Wesle 1

Beatrix Wesle

Director NaturVision Film Festival in Ludwigsburg, Producer, Film Agent Atrix Films GmbH


Beatrix Wesle has been heading the NaturVision Film Festival in Ludwigsburg since January 2024. As a producer and film agent, she has been working in the film industry since 2005 and with her own production and distribution company Atrix Films GmbH, she specialises in high-quality and socially relevant documentaries and arthouse films with a focus on people and nature, among other things. Her portfolio includes the Oscar-nominated cinema documentary “The Story of the Weeping Camel”, which is also one of NaturVision Festival’s great audience successes, and “Turtle: The Incredible Journey”, as well as the animated film “Lotte from Gadgetville” and the film acquisition “James and the Giant Peach”. Beatrix Wesle came to Ludwigsburg after seven years at SRF Swiss Television.


Aron Gauder

Filmmaker, Director in Budapest, Hungary


Áron Gauder, born 1973 in Kőszeg, is a Hungarian animation filmmaker, animator, and illustrator. With his first feature film “The District!” he has won the Cristal Award of the Annecy International Animation Film Festival. His second feature film “Four Souls of Coyote” won the Jury Award in Annecy and the Golden Goblet Award for Best Animation Film in Shanghai. The film was a major critical success in Hungary and was also chosen for Hungary’s Oscar entry and nominated for the Annie Award in the Best Feature-Independent category. Aron Gauder graduated from Moholy-Nagy University, Budapest and the Universität der Künste, Berlin. He is directing animation films, documentaries, and special effects for live action movies. He is a multi-talented artist at Cinemon Entertainment studios and is an Associate Professor at Metropolitan University, Budapest, Hungary.


Jorn Leeuwerink

Animator, Director, Zaandam, Netherlands


Jorn Leeuwerink (1990) is a Dutch animation director. He graduated from HKU – University of the Arts Utrecht in 2017 with the film “Flower Found!”. In 2022 he finished his debut film “Pig”, which won the Trickstar Nature Award at ITFS in the same year.

Pre-Selection Jury:

  • Irina Rubina (Stuttgart)
  • Hasan Ugur (Tübingen)
  • Ursula Ulmi (Lucerne)

Trickstar Business Award

Margit Wolf

Project Manager Creative Industries, Stuttgart Region Economic Development Corporation (WRS), Stuttgart

Viola Gabrielli

Media Consultant, Film Festival & Market Curator, Tübingen

Lennart Ström

Managing Director m:brane, Co-founder Auto Images, Malmö

Gabriele Walther

CEO & Founder, Caligari Film- und Fernsehproduktions GmbH, München

German Animation Screenplay Award

Peter Keydel

Producer, Mago Production, Barcelona/Düsseldorf

Nicole Kellerhals

Producer, Dramaturge, Berlin

Marco Kreuzer

Dramaturge/Script Consultant, member of the board of VeDRA – Verband für Film- und Fernsehdramaturgie e.V.

Tania Pinto de Cunha

Resident and Director of International Sales & Acquisitions, Pink Parrot Media, Madrid

Holger Weiss

CEO & Founder, M.A.R.K. 13 Group, Stuttgart

Silke Wilfinger

Founder & Owner, Silkway Films, Munich

Animated Games Award Germany

Felix Groll

Computational Designer and Professor for Game Art and Design, University of Fine Arts Essen

Stephanie Lang

COO, Super Crowd Entertainment, Hamburg

Matthias Linda

Game Developer, Düsseldorf

Pre-Selection Jury:

  • Anna-Katharina Brinkschulte (Ludwigsburg)
  • Jens Gutfleisch (Stuttgart)
  • Celina Retz (Stuttgart)
  • Dominik Plaßmann (Essen)

Tricks for Kids

Kids Jury:

  • Luis Maximilian Haack, 10 years
  • Maryam Hamzaoui, 11 years
  • Julius Lenz, 10 years
  • Amalia Johanna Marquardt, 10 years
  • Lena Moll, 11 years
  • Lina Rieger, 10 years
  • Marlene Sylla, 10 years
  • Dimitri Valera Vitali, 11 years


Pre-Selection Jury:

  • Iris Loos (Stuttgart)
  • Benjamin Manns (Baden-Baden)
  • Carol Ratajczak (Halle)
  • Regina Welker (Ludwigsburg)