Vadim Jendreyko

A well-established documentarian with a knack for creating fascinating character studies, German-Swiss producer and director Vadim Jendreyko began studying film at the Kunstakademie Art Academy in Düsseldorf, Germany. He quickly landed several assistant directing and editing jobs before securing his debut project in the director's chair "Exiltibeter zwischen zwei Kulturen," or "Tibetans in exile between two cultures," a 60-minute documentary. After establishing a successful career directing and producing television documentaries in the mid-'90s, Jendreyko released his first feature-length documentary "Bashkim" in 2001. Telling the story of a teenage Kosovo Albanian kickboxer who fled to Switzerland as a young boy, "Bashkim" won the Swiss Film Prize for Best Documentary in 2002. Jendreyko's 2004 television documentary "Performance at the Limit" followed several athletes struggling to balance the highs of winning competitions and the lows of suffering losses and injuries. But it wasn't until 2009 that the director would demonstrate his true potential behind the camera. While researching an intended Dostoevsky project, Jendreyko interviewed one of the author's translators, 85-year-old Svetlana Geier, and found her personal history as a translator for the Nazis during World War II so fascinating that it became the basis for his award-winning documentary "The Woman with the 5 Elephants." When approaching a documentary, Jendreyko follows his own philosophy that they "are like journeys: you throw a pack over your shoulder and set off, but when you least expect it you reach a river or get your foot caught in a swamp."