Our Team

MARY LOU BELLI

Two time Emmy award-winning MARY LOU BELLI has been directing television for over 30 years including NCIS New Orleans, True Lies, Black Lightning, Bull, Legacies, Station 19, Sweet Magnolias, Pitch, Monk, Famous In Love, Devious Maids, The Quad, American Woman, and Hart of Dixie as well as Disney’s The Secret of Sulphur Springs, Ms. Pat, Wizards of Waverly Place, Sister, Sister, Girlfriends, and The Game. Her short film, Straight Eye for the Gay Guy won “Best Mini-short” at the California Independent Film Fest where she also premiered I Heard Something, a thriller that went on to play fests internationally. She has done ground-breaking work on web-series. Her award-winning short, America, played its 14th fest on its 4th continent at The Hague and won best micro short. She was recently nominated for a Primetime Emmy for Comedy Directing as well an another Emmy in the Children’s Programming category. Mary Lou served two terms as the Co-chair of the Women’s Steering Committee at the DGA where she also has served on the Western Director’s Council, presently she is on Leadership Council PAC and as an alternate to the National Board. She is an Honorary Board member of the Alliance of Women Directors and Advisory Board member of Women in Media. Mary Lou also serves on the Advisory Circle of Film Fatales is and a long time member of Women In Film as well as the Peer Group Executive Committee of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences where she presently serves as one of the Governors. She has served as judge and/or guest speaker for the CSU Media Arts Fest, a judge for the Miss America Outstanding Teen Pageant, a jury member at the Sapporo Short Festival, Newport Beach Film Fest, Regina International Film Festival, and The Voice awards, a lecturer at the Chautauqua Institute, and a panelist for Women In Film, the DGA, SAG, and AFTRA and the LA Times Festival of Books. She has been a guest artist at the International Thespian Festival for secondary school theatre where she gave workshops to thousands of teens and high school theatre teachers. Through her teaching, she supports many of the vibrant diversity programs including ABC/Disney, CBS, Sony, HBO Access, AFI’s Directing Workshop for Women, and Warner Bros. Directing Workshop mentoring the next generation of directors. She is the co-author of four books: “The NEW Sitcom Career Book,” “Acting for Young Actors,” and “Directors Tell the Story” which she co- wrote with fellow DGA member Bethany Rooney. Her 4th book, “Acting for the Screen” was published by Focal Press summer 2019.

Jonathan Blank

Jonathan Blank has written, produced and directed a number of films, some of which received awards, but all of which deserved them. These include Sex, Drugs & Bicycles, (“The cure for boring!” –David Ferguson), Anarchy TV (“A wild, crazy and twisted comedy!” –Jan Wahl), Sex, Drugs & Democracy (“A seductive argument” –Roger Ebert), and Collecting America (“Fascinating!” –NY Newsday). He is currently working on a new movie that solves the riddle of the meaning of life and offers detailed instructions on how to make the perfect sandwich.

Brianna Seamster

Brianna “Bri” Seamster is a Yorba Linda, California-raised creole descendant from Louisiana. Seamster was a finalist for the Disney Writing Program, 2023. She has worked under renowned Showrunners for shows like THE BEAR Season 2 (FX Networks)  and THE SON IN LAW (ABC) Pilot. Bri was also Writer’s Assistant for THE UPSHAWS Season 2, Parts 1 & 2 (Netflix). In 2020, Bri won the Create the Writer’s Room Competition for her comedy work. She placed second round for The Orchard Project (2022), Sundance Screenplay Lab (2022), and Scriptapalooza Fellowship (2020). Bri volunteers with WriteGirl LA and frequents writing/film organizations such as Ghetto Film School, The Writer’s Mob (Leah Daniels-Butler, Henry Butler, and Sade Sellers), Always Write (Deonte Stats), and The Disney PA Program (2020). Overall, Bri Seamster strives to hold space for characters who are persistent and never give up despite their obstacles.

Susanne Middelberg (The Netherlands)

Susanne is a professional dancer, actress, and photographer for more than 30 years. She completed her dance training at the Folkwangschule in Essen and at Artez. Her acting education includes studies at DeTrap, the Meisner theater academy in Den Bosch, and the Toneelschool Rotterdam. As a dancer and actress, she has participated in numerous productions, collaborating with Hans Teurlings, Feri de Geus, Shusaku Takeuchi, Kim Zegers, Irma Achten, Unieke Zaken, Peter Pluymaekers, Guusje Eijbers, among others. Susanne has appeared in many short films, series, and feature films, including Aaron Rookus’s “Idylle” and “Bestsellerboy” directed by Norbert ter Hall. For “My Best Friend Anne Frank” (directed by Ben Sombogaart), she performed German voice dubbing.

Virginia Youngren

Virginia is a licensed clinical psychologist and filmmaker with more than half a dozen films to her credit as a writer, director, and producer. She holds a Ph.D. in English literature and a Ph.D. in Psychology. She has won several screenwriting prizes.

Sonu Shiva

She is a Professor of English in Dungar College, Bikaner, India. She has 25 yrs of teaching and research experience. She is a film critic and has traveled to Europe and Southeast Asia to deliver lectures. She has done a language assessment course from the University of Maryland and Baltimore County. Eleven scholars have completed PhD under her supervision. Her areas of interest are ELT, Diasporic literature, Film studies, gender studies.

Barbara McVeigh

Barbara lives in Northern California and works as both a teacher for young children and as a documentary film producer and media artist. She has had the joy of creating film projects with legacy international artists, storytellers, and activists, understanding that stories and the arts are the vessels to share our collective humanity and build resilience, empathy, and understanding between us all.

Jerzy Suchocki (Mexico)

Jerzy is a screenwriter and novelist for over 12 years. He specializes
in comedy-drama sci-fi, fantasy, snf horror. He has been a judge/jury member in various international film festivals in different parts of the world.

Scott Blum

Scott has a passion for enjoying films of all sorts in particular those with “a message that makes him ponder and think”. His involvement in the International Film Festival The Hague, formerly The Hague Global Cinema Festival is as a film-goer and he is mightily impressed by the innovation and the sheer quality of all of the films that are submitted.

Scott has lived and worked overseas, he has travelled extensively, and now resides in the UK where he is enjoying life.

Brenda Malley

Brenda Malley obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree with Honors in Psychology in 1982 from the University of New Brunswick and a Master’s degree in Criminology from the University of Ottawa in 1984. She worked in the New Brunswick Department of Justice and Public Safety until her retirement in 2017. Since then, she has pursued her passion for writing and filmmaking, receiving training and support from the NB Film Co-op. Brenda has actively contributed to Co-op members’ film projects. Still, her primary focus has been on writing, directing, and producing her works, including award-winning films such as “After the War,” “Chuppah,” and “The Town Clown.” Notable accolades include Best NB Short Film and Excellence in Screenwriting in an NB Short at the 2019 Silver Wave Film Festival. Brenda has also been recognized with the Jane Leblanc Filmmaker Award in 2018 and the Short Film Venture Award in July 2020. Currently, she is nominated for her unproduced feature screenplay, “For the Love of Pete,” at the 2024 Paramount Film Festival in Los Angeles, with plans to produce her next short screenplay, “inJUSTICE,” soon.

Sunita Rajvanshi

A Mathematician with a degree from IIT, Roorkee, India and a Mixed Media Artist. With a passion for art, she attained a diploma in Fine Arts from Raja Mansingh Tomar Music & Arts University, India and has participated in various art exhibitions across India, Middle East and Europe for charity purposes. She loves to watch all types of films and is a passionate critique. She also believes that movies shape our lives.

Follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube : @SunRajArts

John Yiu

Graduated from the University of Hong Kong with a degree in Law, John Y. was a lawyer who later obtained his two Masters of Law from the University of London and Beijing University respectively. After spending over 20 years working for the Hong Kong offices of a few international law firms, John became a Litigation Partner of a renowned U.S. law firm in Hong Kong in 2013 and specialized in commercial litigation work. In 2015, John decided to leave the legal profession to pursue his long-dreamed career in acting and film production. In 2016, he produced and acted in two short films, “My Dear Banquet” and “The Unknown Mother”, with the unconditional love of a mother to her child as the main theme. Both shorts were aimed to praise motherly love and convey the message of cherishing the family to film viewers. John made his feature film acting debut in “Million Loves in Me”. Although this is his first time taking up the lead in a feature film, his performance in the film is highly appraised by a number of movie critics and audience who commented that “his acting is very truthful and convincing” and “it is one of the very rare cases that a male actor brilliantly played the female role”. “Million Loves in Me” earned John a number of Best Actor awards from film festivals worldwide. John has also been awarded with Best Film Awards as producer to the film and a number of Best Screenplay Writer awards. These awards and recognitions have given John tremendous push and encouragement to excel in future feature film writing, production and acting. With the aim to become an all-round filmmaker, John will also pursue his directorial debut in the near future. In real life, John enjoys movies of different genres, especially those that could reflect the current situations and issues of society, like "Thelma & Louise" and "Lorenzo's Oil" from Hollywood. These movies have inspired and shaped his style of filmmaking. John applauds the outstanding acting of the famous English actor Daniel Day Lewis, and admires Marion Cotillard for her performance in the movie “La Vie en rose”. Like many newcomers to the film industry, John will strive to participate in big international film productions and to perform alongside renowned actors as his ultimate career goals.

Patricia Hetherington

Patricia is a narrative short-form content producer based in London. She has produced over 30 short films. She has worked on multiple short projects (narrative and commercial) in most departments and continues to freelance as a Production Manager and Assistant Director. She runs Action On The Side, a collaborative filmmaking project in London. She is the Festival Coordinator for the Ealing Film Festival. She has worked in the screen industries at VICE media and BAFTA albert.

AMALIA BARNA

Amalia Barna was born and raised in Romania. She graduated from Caragiale Academy of Theatrical Arts and Cinematography, Bucharest, Romania, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Screenwriting and Film Studies. She was involved in film production, direction, screenwriting, music supervision, and casting direction. In 2017, she and her writing colleague won the competition for the program MidPoint Intensive, organized by MidPoint Institute, where she had the opportunity to meet Csaba Bollok (screenwriter and director) and have a few days of a creative workshop for developing the script. Made two short films as director and screenwriter, many others shorts and medium films as only screenwriter or co-writer. Currently working in Digital Marketing too. She is also managing and writing for her website amaliabarna.ro, a place where she says that she can “be herself, no fiction, just reality. I can finally say my own story”. On her website, Amalia also has a column where she is discussing movies. For the last few years was involved in some editions of international film festivals such as the Cinemaiubit Film Festival, and the SEECS Short Film Festival. Amalia is known also for being a jury member at the National Film Festival FILMMIC for Teenagersfrom Constanta, Romania.

Irfan Jaami

He is a Bollywood Director with around 15 years’ experience of directing over 100 projects of a variety of genres. Projects range from TV commercials , Tele-films , Tele-series , Video spots , Corporate Films, documentaries to independent short films. He has also penned down Lyrics for an international Album ‘ Colours of peace ‘ .

Willemijn Mignot

Willemijn is a film producer and (script) writer. Her first book, the road novel Lijndansen, was recently published. She has always had a strong interest in people, stories, music and drama. But it was only after her law studies, three children, many moves and teaching Dutch in high school and as a volunteer for refugee mothers that she decided to write stories again. In 2016 she started screenwriting training at the Script Academy, where she met her writing colleague Sarif Tribou. After graduating, they decided to unite to further develop their ideas, stories and knowledge, resulting in the production of the short film Bibi’s Breakfast, written by Willemijn and directed by Sarif. What fascinates and inspires her are the fine lines that connect people. Patterns and the underlying motivations of people. Incomprehensible choices. Their quest to get out of oppressive frames.

Eiko Jin

With her passion for film music, Eiko moved to the US to pursue her composer dream in 2014. The international background offered her different perspectives to understand film and music which enriched her composition in return. She’s an active member of The American Society of Music Arrangers and Composers and a voting member of The Society of Composers and Lyricists. She paints her music world with not only instruments but also her ethnic style vocal performance. Joining the team of The Hague Global Cinema Festival is a true honor and the brightest glow of her expanding professional records.

Rogier van Beeck Calkoen

Rogier van Beeck Calkoen (writer, director) has trained in Prague, Italy and Los Angeles. He directed the award winning short “24/7 Fitness Club: set in nighttime Prague, the incredible World War II story “The Storykeeper”, shortlisted for the Hot Springs Documentary Award, and the documentary of the Czech Puppet master, Pavel Trülar. Last year he produced and directed in Málaga “Andersen and the Jinn”, leading the short film from an emerging script idea through post-production to festivals and distribution. Andersen and the Jinn won several awards at Film Festivals all over the world. Currently working on his new feature film called The Life Coach.

James Fitzmaurice

James Fitzmauric is an emeritus professor of English at Northern Arizona University and an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Sheffield. He has won numerous screenwriting awards at film festivals, and had two scripts produced. He continues to write and edit in the world of academe, as with his co-edited collection for Amsterdam University Press – Authorizing Early Modern European Women (2022).

Keyuri Shah

She is a known Bollywood actress based in Mumbai with around 2 dozen films to her credit. She started as a theater artiste and has done many short films, commercials, fashion modelling for many brands and print shoots. She has acted as a lead actress  in a number of regional language feature films in India.

Gijs van Beeck Calkoen

Gijs is the founder of the Practice for Bold Thinking that facilitates teams to design ideas for innovations, both technical and socio-cultural. To this end, he applies well-considered and structured thinking techniques, such as lateral thinking and TRIZ, the Russian acronym for the Theory of Inventive Thinking. He started Malaga Ideathons which brings together digital nomads to develop solid ideas for startups. He sailed in the Royal Netherlands Navy in various technical positions, including as the Chief Engineer aboard an oceanographer. At the Defense Academy he taught and supervised promising officers in their management training. His last position was Director of Naval Research.

Willem Handels

Willem Handels is a connoisseur of art, well read and well traveled person. He lives in The Hague. He has great interest in literature and art cinema. Great and well developed interest in music of many origins and classical and modern dance in it’s widest sense.

Martijn de Man

Martijn de Man started his professional music career as a keyboard player for the Dutch rock band Urban Heroes. With them he recorded the album ‘Innerdream’ for Sony Records in 1994 and in the same year also performed with them on Parkpop, the largest free concert festival in Europe. Although Martijn enjoyed performing live, he developed a greater interest in music composition & sound design for film and became a fulltime composer in 1995. Highlights include scores for the documentaries ‘Oude Bomen’ and ‘We zien ons’ for Dutch television as well as immersive soundscapes for Ferrari: Under the Skin, van Gogh Museum and Dunhuang Caves. He is also the inhouse composer/sound designer at MCW Creative Agency in Rotterdam.

Beatrice Piovan

Beatrice is an accomplished Sr.Project/Program Manager with more than 15 years experience in Telecommunications and Consultancy corporations. She has been living in The Netherlands since 2008, appreciating the combination of history and modernity that the Country offers. She is passionate about architecture, art, ballet, and literature. Volunteering for the International Film Festival The Hague is a natural step towards integrating her cultural interests and the surrounding plurality of cultures.

Lauren Stephenson

Lauren is a Senior Lecturer in Film and Media and Communications at York St John University. She has taught extensively across the Film, Media, English Literature, and American Studies programmes since 2014. She is the co-founder of the Cinema and Social Justice project at York St John, and executive producer of the FOCAL award-winning short film ‘Cost of Living’. Her research areas include cinema and social justice, horror cinema, the female friendship film, and cinematic depictions of women in power.

Martin Hall

Dr Martin Hall is a Senior Lecturer and the Course Leader for Film Studies at York St John University. He is the Principal Investigator on the SIGN and UKRI-funded Cinema and Social Justice Filmmaking Project, is the co-founder of the Cinema and Social Justice Project and is an executive producer on the award-winning film Cost of Living (2022). Dr Hall is the Course Leader for BA Film Studies, BA Media & Communication and MA Film and Screen Studies and his research focusses on the areas of European and British art cinemas, comedy, the American Independent cinema and the adventure documentary with a particular interest in trans representation, masculinities and queer cinema. He’s the editor of the books Women in the Work of Woody Allen (2022) and The Mountain and the Politics of Representation (2023).

Dirk Gunther Mohr

Born in The Hague in 1981, Dirk Gunther Mohr embarked on his acting journey during childhood, gracing his parents’ living room with impromptu performances and reenactments of iconic scenes from films like Rocky and Scarface. His aspirations were grand, aspiring to share the screen with his idols Al Pacino and Robert de Niro in major cinematic productions. As a youth, he also penned his initial forays into scriptwriting.Dirk’s career trajectory truly soared when he reached the age of 30, following intensive acting instruction across various institutions, with a pivotal focus on refining his craft at the RJB Studio. There, he delved into method acting, an immersive technique where actors delve deep into their characters, drawing from their own memories and personal encounters to authentically and emotively convey the narrative. This dedication was exemplified in his role as an autistic young man in the short film “Tweespalt” (2017), where Dirk maintained his character’s distinctive traits throughout the entire shooting process, even when off-set.Throughout recent years, Dirk’s portfolio has been enriched by a plethora of movies, television ventures, and commercials. He also contributed as a scriptwriter, crafting narratives for works such as “HVIII: The Male Heir” (2015), “A Royal Love” (2016), “Capo di Famiglia” (2017), “Capo di Famiglia II” (2020), and “Capo di Famiglia III” (2022) — a dramatic exploration of a Dutch-Italian mobster family. Notably, he assumed the lead role in each of these creations.In recognition of his portrayal of Vincent la Rosa across the Capo di Famiglia trilogy, Dirk garnered multiple accolades as Best Actor at prestigious international film festivals, including the International Film Festival The Hague, the Los Angeles Actors Awards, and the European Cinematography Awards. Beyond his triumphs, Dirk also secured numerous nominations for his captivating performances in the Capo di Famiglia Trilogy, “Daddy’s Day,” and “A Royal Love.”Branching into historical drama, Dirk undertook the role of a cunning SS lieutenant in the World War II film “Betrayal” (Grenzeloos Verraad), a work that graced Dutch cinemas and is poised to grace Netflix screens from September 2023 onward.

Avnish Rajvanshi

“An Oil/Gas Producer by Profession and A Filmmaker by Passion”

From the oil production fields of Middle East and Europe, Avnish Rajvanshi ventured into the field of filmmaking with his first film ‘The Kingmaker of the Mughal Empire’ which won international awards and accolades. With three more film production projects in the pipeline, he is also organising film festivals in The Netherlands, United Kingdom, United States, Malaysia and India. As the Festival Director of this event, his vision is to encourage, identify and showcase talent from the crowd and to support production value over budget.

Additional Background: With a distinguished career behind with majors like Shell International, he holds a Ph.D. from Indian Institute of Technology IIT(ISM), India, with management certification from Queensland University of Technology, Australia; Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands; Cranfield School of Management, United Kingdom; University of Texas at Austin, United States and Shell Project Academy, The Netherlands.

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