Documentaries about people and their worlds

THURN FILM, an independent production company for documentary films, was founded in 2003 by Valentin Thurn. The focus of THURN FILM's work is the production of internationally and nationally produced documentaries and documentary films for TV and cinema, which deal intensively with current topics. TASTE THE WASTE with more than 100,000 viewers and 10 BILLIONS with over 54,000 viewers were the most successful documentaries in German cinemas in 2011/12 and 2015.

THURN FILM wants to offer new perspectives on current issues with a social significance, by not only pointing out, but also moving the audience. THURN FILM is campaign-film-experienced and always interested in taking new paths in the evaluation process. The development of innovative online projects or cross-media projects is also becoming an increasingly important part of our business and is truly a matter of heart.


THURN FILM has been cooperating with broadcasters like ARTE, WDR, NDR, cinema distributors like PROKINO and world sales like AUTLOOK for a long time. The films have been shown on international markets such as the IDFA or the BERLINALE and at renowned international festivals such as the CPH:DOX. They were broadcasted in more than 40 countries around the world and won important awards such as the Justice Prize of the Santa Barbara International Filmfestival (USA).


Valentin Thurn

Owner of THURN FILM - Valentin Thurn Filmproduktion since 1994.

Author and director of made-for-TV documentaries for the televion broadcasting stations: WDR („Die Story“ [‘The Story’], „Menschen Hautnah“ [‘People Up Close’], „Weltweit“ [‘Worldwide’]), ZDF („37 Grad“ [‘37 Degrees’]), SWR („Zeichen der Zeit“ [‘Sign of the Times’]), Arte („Reportages“ [‘Features’]), as well as for several magazine reporting programmes on business, politics and the environment (Markt, Report Mainz, Globus) for broadcasters such as ARD, NDR, BR, ORB, HR, ZDF, Deutsche Welle TV, Transtel and DRS, the German-speaking Swiss television network.

Author of radio features (ARD broadcasting network and Deutschlandradio, e.g. political feature for WDR), for periodicals such as Die Zeit, Zeit Magazin, Die Woche, Natur & Kosmos, and Merian.

Editor of the non-fiction books „WüstenErde“ (‘DesertEarth’) about desertification, „Klassenfeind Natur“ (‘Nature, the Class Enemy’) about the environment in eastern Europe, „Adressbuch Umweltverbände Osteuropa“ (‘Addressbook Environmental Associations of Eastern Europe’).

Teaching and lecturing at international conferences and workshops: Goethe Institute in Mumbai/India, Miguel Alemán Foundation in Mexico, Eco-Tourism Conventions in Johannesburg/South Africa and Guayaquil/Ecuador, NetzwerkRecherche (‘Investigative Research Network’), RTL School of Journalism in Cologne, Ecopresscenter Environmental Media Centre Macedonia, Third World Journalist Network, Netzwerk Wirtschaftsethik (‘Business & Commerce Ethics Network’), lecturer at the Fachhochschule Köln, a state institute of higher education in Cologne.

Member of the founding board and Secretary-General of the International Federation of Environmental Journalists (1993 - 2001), Member of the Advisory Board of the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung, a foundation for environmental projects in eastern Europe (1994 - 1997). Spokesman for the nationwide work group “Environmental Co-operation with Eastern Europe” within BUND, the German Association for the Environment and Conservation (1990 - 1994).

Member of the Jury for the Biodiversity Reporting Award for journalists from Colombia, Bolivia and Guatemala (1999 - 2002).

Member of the Jury for the “Festival Vert - Recontres de Meaux” (France, 1995).

Studies in geography (concluding with a degree as geographer), ethnology and politics in Aix-en-Provence/France, Frankfurt and Cologne.

Recipient of scholarships from the foundations Friedrich Naumann (studies 1984-1991), Karl Gerold (research in Spain, 1987), and Heinz Kühn (Mexico, 1999).

Educational training to become an editor at the Deutsche Journalistenschule in Munich (1985/86).

Muriel Breier

Production Manager at THURN FILM since 2014.

After her Master's degree in Comparative Literature, English and German Studies at the Rheinischen Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität, Bonn, Muriel Schulte worked for various german TV-production companies such as filmpool, Radio Erft, mma meimedia association GmbH.

In 2013 Muriel worked as Production Coordinator for eyeworks Germany GmbH.

From 2009 - 2013 she worked as Videojournalist (news), Production Manager and Production Coordinator for center.tv in Cologne.

Laura-Johanne Zimmermann

As being responsible for the creative development and production management at THURN FILM since 2013, Laura has been involved in the development and production of several documentaries as recently 10 Billion (2015), The Business of Development Aid (ARTE, 2017), The School Experiment (WDR, 2017), Here And There (cinema documentary, in production), Dream On! (coproduction with Schnittstelle Köln, cinema documentary, in development) and many others. In 2016 she takes part at the DCM with the project The Second Life (coproduction with Mon Amour Film (IT), in development).

Laura has graduated in Audiovisual and Cinema Studies (M.A.) after studying in Austria, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands and has been a trainee at the documentary editorial department of the public service broadcaster ARTE (2010) and 3sat (2011) as well as the documentary production MISCHIEF Films (2011) a.o.

She completed a number of extra occupational further trainings on the synergies of documentaries, new media and sociopolitical activism and has given lectures on this topic, too.

Tamina Moana Söll

Joined THURN FILM in 2018 as production assistant.

Currently studying MA Media and Cultural Studies at the University of Cologne.

From 2012 to 2015 filmstudies at Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz.

Supports the team in various areas.

Maja Meiners

Since 2020 Maja is a trainee at THURNFILM. Maja’s documentary film “BREAKING BARRIERS – The Casteless Collective”, which premiered in February 2020 and deals with a South-Indian protest band, is currently in its festival stage. Until now it has been screened, among others, on Sheffield Doc/Fest. During and after her studies Maja worked on and off as a freelancing radio author for WDR 5.

Maja, born 1988, studied her Bachelor in Comparative Literature Studies and English Studies at the Ruhr-University Bochum. There, aside from her studies, she was very active in the Uni-Radio and Uni-Theatre. After that she studied her Master in Modern Indian Studies at the ‘Centre for Modern Indian Studies’ at Georg-August University Göttingen. Here Maja took part in many practical seminars on the topic of Ethnographic-/Documentary Filmmaking at the Visual Anthropology of Uni Göttingen and therein realized three small documentary film productions. Her fourth and most current film project, a 70-minute long documentary, she realized alongside her Master-field study with the title “The Castless Collective – The Making of Protest Music in South India”.

Alica Humm

Since 2020 production assistant at THURNFILM.
Alica Humm studied theater, film and media studies and art history at the Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main. During that time she worked at the Arc Film Festival in Mainz. After her studies she realized together with Nora Lea Bartz and Elizabeth Owobiak the documentary "Sisters from another District", which is currently still in post-production.


Tatjana Mischke

Tatjana Mischke works as a journalist, author and Commissioning Editor for television, such as ARD, WDR, SWR, Vox and Arte.


Tatjana Mischke studied directing and dramaturgy at the Mozarteum in Salzburg and Ernst Busch in Berlin. In addition to working as a TV writer, she also worked for many years as a director for numerous theaters and german - language theaters, such as the Nationaltheater Mannheim, the Salzburg Festival and the Kammerspiele Hamburg.


For Thurnfilm she realized “Purchased agricultural policy? - How is the industry influencing parliament” for ARD, Story im Ersten and "How do we manage the agricultural turnaround?" for Arte.

Lukas Roegler

Lukas Roegler has worked as a journalist, director and producer since 2004 - mostly multilingual, international and investigative, among others for ARD, ZDF, WDR, ORF, HR, arte, RTL, DW, DLR culture and BBC.

For his films MEINE HÖLLE EUROPA (D / NIG 2007, 86 '), WARE FRAU (ARD, 2013, 45') and DER TRAUM VON SICHERHEIT (WDR, 2016, 45 ') he was nominated among others for the "Prix Europa" and as "CNN Journalist of the Year" and was awarded with the "Peter Scholl-Latour Journalist Award" in 2017.

Lukas studied the North America Program (NAP), Political Science and Modern History in Bonn and  at the McGill University in Montreal, Canada. He wrote his master's thesis on "Dealing with the Past in the USA and South Africa".

Lukas is a DAAD awardee, Alumni of the "Berlinale Talent Campus", the "Mediengründerzentrum NRW" and the "Documentary Campus Masterschool". He has lived in the US, Canada and Nigeria and has been actively involved in the international start-up scene for years.

Freelance authors

Rubén Abruña

Rubén Abruña has over twenty-five years of experience as writer, director, producer, and editor of
documentaries, and broadcast journalism stories, in New York, San Juan, Miami, and Zürich. His
love for documentaries began when he studied under the tutelage of trailblazers Jean Rouch and
George Stoney. In 2014, Rubén Abruña completed “The Absent House”, which he wrote, directed
and edited, about a pioneer of green architecture 30 years ago, who today confronts climate change
with sustainable constructions such as a house without a roof that is off the grid. It has screened in
fourteen film festivals worldwide, and is distributed by Icarus Films and EspressoMedia. His
editing credits include the award winning “South of Brooklyn” (2001), “What About
Coral?” (2001), and “The Battle of Vieques” (1986).

Kadriye Acar

Kadriye Acar was born in 1968 in Turkey. She came to Germany at the age of four, after her father had previously worked here as a foreign worker in an aluminum factory and grew up in a village which was considerably smaller than her home town in Central Anatolia. She studied politics, German and Islamic studies in Cologne. Meanwhile, she has been working as a journalist for 25 years.

Davide Gambino

Davide Gambino was born in Italy in 1985.

2003 - 2006 Bachelor in Science and Technology of Audisovisual Arts at University of Palermo with 110/110 mention.

2007 - 2008 Master of Arts at Estudio de Cine (Escuela productora Barcelona): Digital Cinema and advertise.

2008 Videoart stage at Studio Azzuro, Regieassistent bei „Viola di Mare“, produced by Italian Dream.

2009 - 2012 Studies at National Film School Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia, Italy.

2009 - 2014 Teacher of Audiovisual arts at the High School Regina Magherita Palermo.

He speaks english, french, german, spanish and italian.

Awards and nominations

"The Second Life”: FIPA Festival International of Biarritz 2014; CVD Cross Video Days Paris 2014; In the selection for Festa del Cinema di Roma; NCN New Cinema Network 2013;

„Pietra Pesante”: Special mention i-Art Catania Film Festival 2015; Best Documentary for New York Film Academy and Italian Institute of Culture; ‘Young Italian Filmmaker’ 2014; Winner of Pino Veneziano Prize 2014; In the selection for Future Film Festival Hungary 2013; Sciacca Film Festival 2013; Festival di Frontiera di Marzamemi 2013;

„Alberto Burri - La vita nell’arte”: In the selection for Efebo Film Festival 2012; Soleluna Film Festival 2012;

„L’arte del mostrare”: Best short documentary Ares Film Festival 2011; In the selection for Soleluna Film Festival 2011;

Jessica Krauß

After completing her jurisprudence, the Jessica Krauß from Munich devoted herself to her passion for journalism. In Hamburg and Berlin she completed a print and TV dissertation and began to implement magazine contributions for culture and social policy for ARTE and Deutsche Welle. Later, she co-authored numerous reports and documentaries for public broadcasters ARD, ZDF, Arte, BR, WDR and rbb. For several years, the electorate has also devoted itself to the development. So she helped starting Südwild, the long-standing youth program of the BR as well as Xenius, the knowledge magazine on Arte. She also developed the youth series LOOP and Zipp, which ran on a third-license broadcasting station at RTL. One of the episodes she was responsible for, was awarded the Youth Media Prize "Golden Sparrow". In addition, she co-managed the five-part Arte series "Handgemacht" and oversees the knowledge dissemination fact checker (RTL).

Karin de Miguel Wessendorf

Karin de Miguel Wessendorf is a freelance journalist and filmmaker since 2008. She works for SWR, NDR, RBB, WDR and other public broadcasters. She was born in Barcelona in 1974 and studied media sciences and philology in Spain and Germany.
Karin de Miguel is author of TV and radio features on social, environmental and media topics. Since 2008 she has worked as (Co-)Author and Researcher for THURN FILM and has cooperated with Valentin Thurn in the cinema documentary Taste The Waste and the TV documentary Innocent Behind Bars among others.

With a Scholarship of the Heinrich-Böll-Foundation she travelled to Mexico in 2005 and worked for Chiapas Media Project in San Cristóbal de las Casas (an NGO to support documentary film making in indigenous communities). Since then she has coached several film projects and community-media projects in schools and social organizations. She has also published several articles in newspapers, magazines and books and gives lectures on the topic of videoactivism and social documentary.

Since 2011 she also works as a video-journalist for online newspapers, and produces videoblogs, webcasts and institutional videos for social and cultural projects and organisations.

Caroline Nokel

Caroline Nokel works since 2002 as an author and journalist for radio and television.

She realised many radio features for WDR5, WDR3, Deutschlandradio Kultur, NDR Info and SWR2, for instance for radio programmes like "Lebenszeichen", "Zeitfragen" and "dok5 - das Feature". Received the german-french Award for young journalists (2003) and the journalist prize of the federation of taxpayers NRW for "Es gibt keinen Skandal - die hessische Steuerfahnderaffäre" (2010).

Together with Valentin Thurn as a coauthor she realises films with topics like sustainability ("Fresh To The Trash"), whistleblowing ("The Whistleblower"), speculation with food ("Hunger for profit") und development aid ("The Business of Development Aid").

Insa Onken

Born 1975 in Wilhelmshaven. 1995-2003 Music studies at the Musikhochschule in Cologne as well as biology and education at the University of Cologne at Lehramt, 1. Staatssexamen 2003. Since 2003 free-lance musician and filmmaker. 2006 Participation in Berlinale Talentcampus. 2006-2011 postgraduate studies of film / television at the Kunsthochschule für Medien Cologne. Diploma in 2011. In 2009, RICH BROTHER (documentary, ZDF Das kleine Fernsehspiel / Twenty Twenty Vision) won the Golden Dove in the German competition DOK Leipzig, as well as the 2010 Cibis Media Prize and the German Kamerapreis Kategorieschnitt u.a. Prices. 2011 Feature film FRIENDSHIPS (27 min.) Festivals: Golden Sparrow, Chicago International Children's Filmfestival. From 2010 documentary films and reports for WDR and ZDF / 3Sat as well as an episode of a cinema documentary film. The film SAFET TANZT was awarded the AWO Journalist Prize 2015, the BVKJ Media Prize 2016 and the Dietmar Heeg Media Prize 2016.

Bettina Renner

Born in 1974, Bautzen / Saxony (former East Germany).

1991 - 1992 High School exchange year: Scholarship „Davidson Academy“ in Nashville, Tennessee (High School Diploma).

1994 - 2002 Studies at the University of Dresden and the Ohio Wesleyan University: American studies (Cultural studies) communication sciences economics.

Since 1996 freelance writer at the newspaper.

2001 "Tribal Touring Program" of the American Indian Film Institute, San Francisco.

2002 - 2003 Studies and training in filmmaking and broadcasting at the german broadcast ZDF.

2003 - 2004 Organisation of the broadcast for ZDF at the german filmfestival Berlinale.

Since 2005 Freelance director for documentaries and commercials.

2009 Documentary Camps Masterclass

Bettina Renner has working experiences in Germany, Eastern Europe, Switzerland and the USA.

She speaks english (fluent), russian, french and german.

Awards und nominations

2009 - „Outstanding“ for the documentary „In den Fängen der Stasi“ at Axel Springer award for young journalists;

2007 - Nomination for the german-polish journalist award;

2005  - „Outstanding“ for the documentary „Unser Vater der Spion“ at Axel Springer award for young journalists;

Lin Sternal

Born in Berlin in 1987. 2008 - 2015 at Filmacademy Baden-Württemberg with focus on directing and documentary films. After her foundation courses she gained experience abroad in South America and South East Asia. During her time in the academy she realised several filmprojects. 2015 she obtained her diploma with the film "Eismädchen" and works now as a freelance director in Berlin.

Christian Vogel

Born in Marsberg 198, he is a skilled installer and journalist. 2004 - 2008 he conducted his study of technical journalism at  Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences. After internships at action concept, VOX and WDR, among others, a traineeship led him to Hessischer Rundfunk in 2009. Since 2010, he has worked there as a reporter, author and editor for various departments. As an editor he was in charge of the arte scientific magazine for several years - today he is an author for the arte format 2undvierzig. Aditionally, he realises science documentaries and is responsible for the content of film productions in the field of motor sports.

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