2009 Conference


Marcus Vetter is an award-winning director and producer. His documentaries have won the 'Grimme Prize' (highest German TV award) three times: in 2000 for the dramatized documentary The Tunnel; in 2001 for Where money grows – the European Championship TV story; and in 2002 for Broadway Bruchsal. Other films include Wenn der Bus kommt (1997), Wargames (2002), Battle for Bruckmann (2004), Die Unzerbrechlichen (2006), Mein Vater der Türke (2006), Traders' Dreams (2007). Following the success of Heart of Jenin (2008), which won the 2010 German Film Award for Best Documentary, he founded the “Cinema Jenin Project” which is striving to rebuild an old cinema in Jenin on the West Bank which was closed down 20 years ago. Born in 1967, he studied business in Worms, Buenos Aires and Madrid. After a work placement with Bavaria Film, he studied media sciences at the University of Tübingen. Since 1994 he has worked as a freelance editor, writer and director for SDR/SWR (German TV channel).


Ian Kirk-Smith worked as a producer/director with BBC NI from 1996 to 2009 on a wide range of documentaries. Between 2001 and 2007 he produced 16 films for BBC NI on different sporting, musical and craft traditions in the North of Ireland. These include The Bonfire, a look at life on a north Belfast loyalist estate in the months before the 11th July bonfire night; And Many Children Came, an observational documentary of a year in the life of a Camphill Community; Division or Diversity, a film on racism in Northern Ireland. He studied at the London School of Economics and worked in West Africa as a teacher and anthropologist before becoming a journalist. After a period as a feature writer and drama critic with The Belfast Telegraph, he moved to the BBC and was Head of Music and Arts in BBC NI from 1991 to 1996. A member of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), he has taken a break from filmmaking to work in London as editor of the independent Quaker journal The Friend, the first Irishman in 165 years to be appointed to the position.


Peter Kelly is Managing Director of Esras Films and an award-winning television producer with over 25 years' experience. Formerly a producer with the Radharc Team (1984-1996), he has credits on hundreds of documentaries for Irish and international broadcasters filmed in dozens of countries, and his work has been seen on stations as diverse as CNN and Al-Jazeera. Issues of the developing world have been prominent in his work, including assignments on human rights and refugee issues. He has lectured on film production and contributed to conferences and periodicals on the international audiovisual industry. He was a speaker at a Hong Kong seminar on 'Human Rights in the Media', and at a New York symposium on globalised media and its coverage of international affairs. He is a graduate of DIT in communications studies and holds an MA in film and television studies from DCU.


Martina Durac has worked with Loopline Film since the mid 1990s, has been responsible for developing much of its arts-based programming, and is currently directing a documentary on the Irish-German writer, Hugo Hamilton. She is also producing John Ford – Dreaming The Quiet Man, a feature documentary shot in Ireland and the US. She was the series producer of Imprint, a weekly books programme commissioned by RTÉ, and producer/director of its sister show, Writers in Profile, both of which ran for three years. She also produced Patrick Kavanagh – No Man's Fool for RTÉ and the Irish Film Board, and Kathleen Lynn – Rebel Doctor. She runs documentary courses at Filmbase in Dublin and documentary workshops for Screen Training Ireland. She holds degrees in law from UCD and design from IADT, and qualified as a barrister at King's Inns. She served on the board of the European Documentary Network and is a member of the advisory panel for the European magazine DOX.


George Carey is an established filmmaker and former BBC TV journalist. After running his own independent company, Mentorn Media, for 20 years, he has returned to making films himself. Among his credits as producer or executive producer are award-winning films like Terror in Moscow, The Unforgiving, Say Goodbye to the President, Babitsky's War and The Valley (which won the Prix Italia and the Golden Nymph in Monte Carlo) and landmark documentary series such as Russia with Jonathan Dimbleby, The Plague, The White House Tapes, Comrades, The Clintons, Queen and Country, Visions of Heaven and Hell, Century Road and Testing God. Before becoming an independent producer, he worked at the BBC where he was the creator and first editor of BBC2's Newsnight, editor of BBC1's Panorama, and head of the TV newsgathering operation. His most recent films (which he has shot and directed himself), from inside Russia, are Close Encounters in Siberia (which got the year's largest audience for the True Stories series on Channel 4) and A Long Weekend with the Son of God, described by The Sunday Times as 'riveting'.


Teresa Cherfas began her career as a producer in the BBC World Service, making programmes in Russian for broadcast to the Soviet Union, and later working freelance on television documentary films. She was in Riga for Channel 4's Dispatches when the Black Berets, the OMON (Special Operations State Militia) troops, ran riot, shooting civilians in the city centre in the dying days of Soviet power, and in Tbilisi a year later, when the bloody civil war in Georgia began. Her work has taken her inside Soviet prisons and camps, and to the frontline on the unravelling borders of the former Soviet Empire – the Caucasus, Central Asia, the Baltic States and the Black Sea. As editor of BBC's MPM (Marshall Plan of the Mind Trust) in Moscow, she watched Russia's economic meltdown in 1998 as she trained the next generation of Russia's regional radio journalists. Her television work has included Babitsky's War (Amnesty Media Award), Beslan (BAFTA winner), a ground-breaking three-part series Stalin, the first of its kind to be filmed inside the Soviet Union in 1989, and Russia: A Journey with Jonathan Dimbleby, a five-part series for BBC2.


Marc de Jersey is an independent filmmaker who works with Public Affairs Media Group on a variety of productions for different clients and broadcasters. He was previously senior editorial advisor to BBC's global news division; launch editor of the rolling news channel Russia Today in Moscow; and an independent filmmaker for Channel Four News. He began working at ABC News' London bureau, eventually becoming a desk editor in New York, where he was a national editor on the actual day of 9/11 and — with other members of the assignment desk — won the Peabody and du Pont Awards, the highest accolades in US broadcast journalism. He won an Emmy award for an ABC news feature from Israel. While working earlier as an independent filmmaker for Channel 4 News, he was finalist for the 2005 Foreign Press Association's Environmental Film of the Year and the 2006 Golden Panda Award, the highest accolade for environmental films. He was the first broadcast journalist/ cameraman to join a North Pole record-breaking expedition, when his filming was used by media outlets around the world.


Kate Shanahan is an award-winning journalist and radio and TV producer. She began her career in The Irish Press and then moved to RTÉ Radio One where she worked as a senior / series producer across a wide range of programmes including Today with Pat Kenny, Liveline, Saturday View, Drivetime, Tonight with Vincent Browne, The Sunday Show and The Arts Show. Moving to the independent television sector, she worked as a producer, series producer and later executive producer in lifestyle and current affairs strands. She worked as senior producer on Election 2002 and Election 2007 for RTÉ Radio One as well as the 2007 Northern Ireland elections. She was series producer on The Big Bite with David McWilliams and Crimecall on RTÉ 1 TV. Her book Crimes worse than death (Cork University Press), an analysis of violence and social change in Irish society, won a Justice and the Media award. At DIT she lectures in both the taught MA and undergraduate journalism degree programmes. She has a BA from UL and an MPhil from TCD.


Clare Duignan is Managing Director of RTÉ Radio, with responsibility for RTÉ's four FM stations and seven digital services. Since her appointment in 2009, she has overseen the re-positioning of 2fm, and the consolidation of the Radio One schedule. She had been Director of Programmes - Television since 2003, where she was responsible for the delivery of RTÉ Television's home-produced programming, both in-house and commissioned from the independent sector. During her tenure, RTÉ Television commissioned award-winning dramas such as Pure Mule, Bachelor's Walk, Paths to Freedom, Stardust and The Clinic, factual series including Hidden History, Arts Lives, Haughey, Bertie and The Asylum, as well as entertainment programmes such as The Panel, Dan and Becs, and Tubridy Tonight, as well as top lifestyle shows such as No Frontiers, The Restaurant, At Your Service and Room to Improve. After receiving a history and politics degree at UCD, she joined RTÉ as a radio producer where she was the originator of the acclaimed series Women Today. She is a board member of the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival and a member of the National Film School Advisory Board.


Justin McCarthy is Chief Livestock Editor with the Irish Farmers' Journal. In 2006, along with the Irish Farmers' Association, he spearheaded an investigation to establish the standards to which Brazilian beef imports into the EU (valued at €1 billion per annum) were being produced. Undercover missions to Brazil exposed fraudulent activity pertaining to animal welfare, food hygiene and disease control standards, as well as social exploitation and rain forest destruction. He began a two-year campaign, insisting that the EU impose equivalent standards on beef imported into the EU as pertained to domestic production. His evidence, together with his newspaper's media campaign, sparked a chain of events which led to the EU imposing a complete ban on Brazilian imports in 2008. He received widespread praise for his investigative work, and won second place at the International Guild of Agricultural awards in 2008. In 2002 he was awarded a Nuffield Farming Scholarship and travelled throughout Europe and New Zealand researching beef production.


Don Van Natta Jr is an investigative correspondent at The New York Times. In September 2010 his paper published a lengthy investigation which he and two colleagues carried out into illegal hacking on behalf of a British newspaper into mobile phone messages of members of the royal household and others. He joined the paper in 1995 and has written about terrorism, the crash of TWA Flight 800, campaign finance abuses, the impeachment of Bill Clinton, and the deadlocked 2000 presidential election. He was a member of a nine-reporter team awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 2002 for coverage of the worldwide terror threat posed by the Al-Qaeda network. He was a member of a six-reporter team awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 1999 for articles that disclosed the corporate sale of American technology to China with US government approval despite security risks. Earlier, at The Miami Herald, he was part of a team of reporters that won a Pulitzer Prize in 1993 for coverage of Hurricane Andrew. He is the author of First Off the Tee: Presidential Hackers, Duffers, and Cheaters from Taft to Bush and co-author with Jeff Gerth of Her Way: The Hopes and Ambitions of Hillary Rodham Clinton. Wonder Girl: The Magnificent Sporting Life of Babe Didrikson Zaharias will be published in 2011.


Carol Coulter is Legal Affairs Editor with The Irish Times. She has worked in London and Belfast as well as Dublin for the paper, and was appointed its Legal Affairs Correspondent in 2000. In 2006-2007 she took a leave of absence to run the Courts Service Pilot Project on Reporting Family Law. She worked as a freelance journalist before joining The Irish Times in 1986, for which she reported on the Birmingham Six and Guildford Four appeals. In 1990 she won a National Media Award for her work on the Guildford Four case. A TCD graduate with a BA and a PhD in English, she also holds a Diploma in Legal Studies and an M Phil in law, and is the author of a number of books and papers on social and cultural matters, most recently Family Law in Practice: A Study of Cases in the Circuit Court (Clarus Press 2009).