Esther van Messel Esther van Messel, First Hand Films, Switzerland

Esther van Messel is the founder of First Hand Films (FHF). Since 1998, the Zurich and Berlin based company deals in international distribution of documentaries, TV series and fiction films. In 2014, the company represented around 300 films and producers from all over the world. FHF acts as executive producer for selected projects. FHF films have competed in Cannes, Berlin, Venice, Rotterdam, Locarno, San Sebastian, Sundance, Toronto and many other festivals. Its very first project went on to receive the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature. Since then, most FHF films have won awards: Emmy, Prix Europa, numerous IDFA main awards, Biarritz, Banff, Grimme, Grand Prix Nyon, European Film Awards, Silver Leopards, Golden Rose Montreux and more. In 2010, the company represented yet another Oscar Nominee. Messel has been working as lecturer, consultant panel participant and moderator on all five continents including EAVE Brussels, IDFA Amsterdam, MipDoc Cannes, Cinemart Rotterdam, Eurodoc Montpellier, Toronto Documentary Forum and HotDocs along with numerous others.