Rona Meyendorf - With over 20 years of work as an editor for „Sehen statt Hören“ and her experience in working as a director for film projects, she still directs in the world of theater from time to time and keeps track of all films submitted for the Della AWARD 2023.
As the head of the jury for Della AWARD 2023, she brings her familiarity with the industry into communicating directly with the jury members regarding the selection process and thus paves the way for the jury's final decision.
Briefly, I am a native user of BSL and have extensive experience of translating including working across indigenous sign languages including International Sign. The bulk of this experience has come from my world travels, involvement in international events such as those hosted by the United Nations, World Federation of the Deaf, International Deaf events, International Committee Sports with Deaf events, and, international broadcasting.
I have worked both behind and in front of the camera and am very comfortable with media work including audience members. I am already a competent translator and very comfortable with presenting and translating both on screen and in front of audiences as I am functionally bilingual and understand the target audience’s needs. This is a role I have been doing for over fifteen years for many broadcasters, organisations and companies.
Mindy Drapsa is the first deaf artistic director of Riksteatern Crea, which is Sweden's national touring theatre. She is also co-founder and chairman of the board of the well-known media company Dramaski in Sweden. Mindy Drapsa has directed several short films, documentaries and theater performances that are broadcast on Swedish television. In 2013, Mindy Drapsa received the Gold Sign, an honorary award from the Swedish Confederation of the Deaf, and in 2023 she received a certificate for manager in the performing arts with a focus on diversity and inclusion. Mindy Drapsa has a master's degree in linguistics from Stockholm University.
Deaf voices are valuable. When hearing and deaf perspectives converge, a diverse palette of insight is opened. In my work for deaf accessibility in filmmaking, I expand opportunities, fostering an inclusive environment that supports deaf students in pursuing arts careers. As a People's Operations Specialist at Apple SoHo, I lead monthly worldwide Deaf+ Social events, fostering connections among deaf professionals globally. I collaborate with the People Accessibility team to ensure high-quality interpreter services for the Apple community. As a Freelance Deaf Interpreter in New York City, I facilitate barrier-free communication, ensuring no voice is left unheard. I shape an environment of understanding by providing consultations on interpreter etiquette.
Marco Lipski deafened in 1985 as a result of meningitis and has been active as a sign language artist in German-speaking countries since 1995. His activities extended to sign language theatre (among others with the theatre groups "Visuelles Theater Hamburg", "Deutsches Gehörlosen Theater" and "Visual Arts") as well as film direction contributions and moderation of individual programmes in the weekly magazine "Sehen statt Hören" of the Bayerischer Rundfunk from 1999 to 2012. He has been part of the "deaf movement" since the 1990s, advocating for the rights of deaf culture and the state recognition of German sign language. Lipski received his first awards in 1999 ("Bronze Hand" at the Sign Language Festival in Berlin and "Best Theatre Group" at the DeGeTh Festival in Munich). Among other awards, he won the "Best Theatre Group" prize at the DeGeTh Festival in 2003 with the self-produced play "Alles Hörende muss sterben" (Everything Hearing Must Die) and the "Golden Crown" 2008 from the City of Leipzig and the Förderverein der neuen Bundesländer e. V. (Association for the Promotion of the New Federal States). In the field of stand-up comedy, Lipski has played "Deaf Caveman" since 2007 and the "straight man" alongside Susanne Genc of the comedy duo "Susanne & Marco". At the 5th German Culture Days of the Deaf from 20 September to 22 September 2012 in Erfurt, he presented a number of shows with Im Bilde 1983 & 1984, Die DDDR - Die Gehörlose Deutsche Demokratische Republik (The DDDR - The Deaf German Democratic Republic) and Gehörlos so, was! in cooperation with the "Zentrum für Kultur und visuelle Kommunikation Gehörloser in Berlin und Brandenburg". Since 2012 Marco Lipski has been working as a freelance film producer and director in Berlin and Brandenburg.
In Hollywood and beyond, Deanne Bray-Kotsur is known as someone who brings honesty, depth and her own unique charm to her growing list of roles. She burst onto the scene with her critically acclaimed starring role as Sue Thomas in the award winning television series Sue Thomas: F.B.Eye. She then brought a new legion of fans to her work when she was a regular actress on the NBC hit show Heroes where she played the role of 'hero' Emma Coolidge.
She has also worked for Disney, Paramount, HBO, Sony, and NBC as well as having been a stalwart performer at the prestigious Deafwest Theatre and CTG Theater Group, earning accolades and awards for her performances.
Born in Plauen in 1991, Athena Lange completed her acting training at the Schauspielschule Leipzig, where she graduated in 2015. During and after her training, she performed in various theatre and film productions, including at Schauspiel Leipzig, Theaterfabrik Sachsen, Filmstudio Babelsberg and in productions by Possible World e.V. Berlin. She also gives theater workshops for deaf and hearing children and young people. She lives as a freelance actress in Berlin.