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The Festival Director

My name is Elisabeth Staak and I am an independent filmmaker based in Potsdam who has a passion for the art of filmmaking. I am mostly working as a DoP, Producer and Creative Director and bring my personal expertise to the festival. The issue of mental health has always been very important to me and with this festival, I hope to help change the trivializing and stigmatizing ways in which mental health conditions are mostly portrayed in film.

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Elisabeth Staak

Festival Founder & Creative Director

Elisabeth Staak is a German filmmaker, Fulbright alumni, dubbing manager and writer who holds a Master’s degree in Linguistics, Literary Studies and Film Studies. From 2016 to 2019 she was based in Kansas City and New York in the United States of America where she collaborated as screenwriter, producer, director, cinematographer and editor on various film and theater productions. Since 2019, she has been based in Potsdam/Berlin as a dubbing manager through which she gained experience in casting, directing and editorial work on many acclaimed television shows. From 2018 forward she has also been a volunteer for the Goethe Institute’s German for Hire program for which she has been visiting many educational institutions in the United States as an ambassador for German language and culture.  Since May 2020, she is one of the founders of the Go Mental! International Short Film Festival where she focuses primarily on content management.

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Anna Maria Ortese

Former Co-Founder 

Anna Maria Ortese helped start the festival in 2020 and has contributed to where it is today. 




Benedikt Toniolo

Art Director

Benedikt Toniolo is a German animator and director of short films.

He is alumni of the Dipl. Animation and MA Animation Directing programs at the Film University Babelsberg KONRAD WOLF. Since 2019 he works as an independent artist in the fields of animation, directing, book illustration and graphic design.

Since June 2020 he supports Go Mental! as art director.


Stella Römhildt

Communication & Social Media Assistant

Stella Römhildt is a German UX researcher and designer.

She has a bachelor degree in English and American Studies and Master in International Business, as well as training in UX design. After working as a project manager for several years, she now works as a UX designer for a mental health startup.

Since April 2022 she supports Go Mental! as communication & social media assistant.

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