Competition Jury

The AFO Festival has a total of 4 juries consisting of leading filmmakers, scientists or representative of major film or scientific institutions. The Student Jury consists of one representative per one Palacký University Faculty.


International Competition Jury, 2018

Paul Lewis (Canada)

Paul Lewis is the President of Great Pacific Television, one of the biggest Canadian production companies focusing on creating documentaries and regularly releasing internationally successful and innovative shows. He is also the founding Chairman of the World Congress of Science & Factual Producers (WCSFP) and the Canadian Science Media Centre. He personally participated in the creation or contracting the creation of thousands of hours of ambitious and successful documentary shows, both for television and the Internet, including the world’s first scientific journal. His career began in the 80s in CBS where he worked as a news editor.

Pete West (Australia)

Pete West is an Australian diver, photographer and technician who has founded two companies specialising in underwater filming equipment. One of them is the National Underwater & Marine Agency (NUMA) which focuses on the logistical support of production teams operating all over the world, from the ice-covered Poles to the equatorial regions. The second one is BioQuest Studios which provides oceanologists and filmmakers with professional photographs and video shooting of the underwater world. In 2017, Pete West joined the French Tara Foundation where he currently works as the head of underwater photography on board of the research schooner Tara. The photos and videos taken on his expedition in the Pacific Ocean are now appearing in educational materials all around the world. He contributed to raising awareness of the general public about the threat we pose to the fragile ecosystems of our oceans and coral reefs.

Irem Couchouron (France/Germany)

She is the Head of Film & Exhibition at the Silbersalz International Science and Media Festival in Halle, one of the newest German multi-day festivals combining film, science and the arts. The festival seeks to present its participants with scientific topics in a clear and entertaining way. It simultaneously serves as an interactive platform for the exchange of ideas and mutual inspiration. Before Silbersalz, Couchouron worked for the Sunny Side of the Doc Festival in France as the main editor of the specialised documentary programme. She is, therefore, a seasoned professional at the international documentary scene – she constantly works with filmmakers, producers as well as jury members and tries to bring quality and original projects to the international scene.

Zdeněk Holý (Czech Republic)

Zdeněk Holý is the Dean of FAMU since May 2016. He deals with production and writing film reviews. He is an alumnus of Palacký University in Olomouc. Earlier, he worked as the Editor-in-Chief for the Cinepur Magazine and as the Director of the AMU Publishing House. He also participated in organising several film festivals (e.g. Febiofest, Cinepur Choice and AFO). He founded Vernes, a production company, whose first film was entitled Whose Is My Child? which won the Award for the Best Popular Science Film at AFO 2014.

Ekaterina Eremenko (Russia/Germany)

Ekaterina Eremenko is the Director and Producer of EEFilms. She also works at the Technical University in Berlin where she specialises mainly on producing documentaries about maths. She has directed seven feature documentaries for leading European TV channels (BBC, ARTE, ZDF etc.) and received awards at many international festivals including the Award for the Best Popular Science Documentary Film at AFO52. In 2017, she received the Medienpreis Award from the German Mathematical Society (DMV).


Czech & Slovak Competition Jury, 2018

Jiří Ovečka

He studied Dramaturgy at DAMU, worked as an actor in regional theatres for 11 years, he was a journalist after the Revolution and since 1994, he has been a reporter and dramaturge of investigative shows, such as Nadoraz, Klekánice, Fakta… In 2003, he founded his own studio and he has been independently filming a variety of documentaries for the Czech TV or other producers. In the Infiltration series, he has filmed documentaries which include Me, the Antiquary (Já, starožitník), Me, the Muslim (Já, muslim), or Me, the Immigrant (Já, uprchlík). In 2006, he received the Kafka Award for The Story of Thread (Příběh vlákna), in 2017, he received the Award for the Best Czech & Slovak Popular Science Film at AFO Olomouc for his film Hunting Parkinson (Hon na Parkinsona). Currently, he also works as an editor for the newspaper Hospodářské noviny.

Jitka Čejková

She studied Chemical Engineering at the Faculty of Chemical Engineering at the University of Chemistry and Technology in Prague and four years later she successfully defended her PhD as well. Currently, she works at the Chemical Robotics Laboratory at the UCT in Prague where she devotes her time to study the properties of droplets and their similarity with the behaviour of living cells. Her work entitled “Droplets as liquid robots” received particularly interesting responses. In 2011, she was in the finale of the FameLab competition and since then, she has been focusing on popularising science in the Czech Republic and abroad. Particularly, she focuses on the popularisation of artificial life and the etymology of the word “robot” which has its origins in Čapek’s play R.U.R.

Jiří Dušek

An active observer of the night sky, night sky “correspondent”, Internet journalist and the creator of a series of exhibitions at the Brno Planetarium. Currently, he is primarily a manager. In 1996, he completed his master’s degree in expert physics at the Masaryk University and, in 2002, he completed his PhD there with a focus on carbon stars. Currently, he is the Director of the Brno Observatory and Planetarium. Together with a team of talented associates, he was able to build a new building and install a digital planetarium which is now one of the most visited ones in Central Europe.

Václav Velčovský

Václav Velčovský works at the Czech Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports as the Deputy Minister for EU Operational Programmes Section. He studied Czech language and history and he has a PhD in education. Besides his clerical work, he also holds lectures at the Charles University and the University of Hradec Králové. He mainly focuses on Czech-German relations and 20th-century Czech culture.

Steve Lichtag

In 1990, following the Velvet Revolution, he returned to Prague where the film production company Twin Star was founded. His films highlight wildlife protection with special emphasis on the underwater worlds and were broadcasted on TV channels worldwide. Steve Lichtag is the president of the Crystal Planet Foundation Fund which is committed to preserving and protecting the endangered environment and won the Czech Minister of Environment Award and the prestigious Kantuta 2007 Award. Steve Lichtag is the president of the International Film Festival Water Sea Oceans and the Director of Global Relations in Ocean Ark Alliance in Australia.


Short Film Competition Jury, 2018

Stefan Hampl (Austria)

Culture and media psychologist, video and film analyst and better information provision enthusiast. Stefan Hampl, PhD is the vice-rector of Sigmund Freud University in Vienna. He is also a member of the following organisations: International Institute for Information Design and Centrum für Qualitative Evaluations- und Sozialforschung. Currently, he works on a project exploring and reconstructing the memory of places where the psychoanalyst and biologist Wilhelm Reich was born and spent his inspirational youth.

Jan Lukačevič (Czech Republic)

Jan Lukačevič (26) is a winner of the prestigious British Interplanetary Society Award for Best Technical Paper and a member of Czech Academy of Sciences team which is developing technology for measuring electrical discharges in dust storms on the surface of Mars. In the time span of three years he worked as a delegate of the prestigious Space Generation Fusion Forum or as a representative of the twelve-member Science & Exploration group which was looking for answers to questions of the current as well as future space research conducted in Colorado Springs under the guidance of directors and leaders of cosmic agencies, such as NASA.

Domingo Escuita (Spain)

Domingo works in Valencia, Spain where he is leading the European film distribution of the GSF company. He is an expert in the field of museums and popularisation thanks to his 13 years of experience in business administration in Valencia, the well-known city of arts and science. He is in charge of programme, exhibition and operation of museums and theatres including a 3D cinema and IMAX Domé Planetarium. He is a life-long enthusiast of cinematography and film industry.

Kayla Iacovino (USA)

Kayla Iacovino is an American volcanologist who has been working at the Arizona State University in the USA since 2005. He followed volcanoes around the world and is the first woman to take part in a scientific expedition in North Korea. She is also a longtime fan of the fictional world of Star Trek and the editor-in-chief of the website. She believes that science fiction is a useful tool for science popularisation and she supports young women in their scientific careers.

Craig Leeson (Austalia/Hong Kong)

Craig Leeson is an award-winning filmmaker and journalist and also the Global Chief Evangelist of the Plastic Oceans Foundation. He directed the feature film A Plastic Ocean and he was also its screenwriter and main producer. The film has been screened in sixty countries over the world and translated into more than fifteen languages. It became the best documentary on iTunes in the USA, UK and Canada and is broadcasted worldwide on Netflix and Amazon. Craig will talk about how and why the film was created and will help us understand the problem of using disposable plastics based on eight-year-long research.