The Festival Directors
We are Elisabeth Staak & Anna Maria Ortese, two female filmmakers based in Berlin and Potsdam who have a passion for the art of filmmaking. We are both working in different fields of film and bring our personal expertise to the festival. The issue of mental health has always been very important to us and we often see its portrayal in movies as stigmatizing and trivializing.
Festival Founder & Content Manager
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.
Anna Maria Ortese
Festival Founder & Communications Manager
Anna Maria Ortese is a German-Italian filmmaker with a Bachelor degree in cultural studies. She has worked on various art and cultural projects in Berlin and as an art consultant in a renowned photo gallery. Since 2019, she started focusing entirely on filmmaking. She worked as a producer and assistant producer on several short film productions and as a producer and co writer for the german television channel ZDF in the field of investigative journalism. In 2019, she also started developing her first feature length documentary that deals with the social impact of art combined with activism. Since May 2020, she is one of the founders of the Go Mental! International Short Film Festival where she focuses primarily on communication management.
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 creative director.
PR Manager / Actor
Neven had his debut in 2017 and 2018 on German and French television on ARTE and on the ARD program; continuing later with an appearance on Netflix. In the fictional documentary drama, “The Slavs – Our Mysterious Ancestors” French: “Les Slavs”, he was seen in the lead role of Boleslav, the Great. The show broadcasted on ARTE, ARD, MDR, and RBB.
Since April 2021 he supports Go Mental! in the role of PR Manager.