About us

Austrian film director Alenka Maly started the European Oral History film project THE EUROPEAN GRANDMA PROJECT. In 2015 she launched a European-wide call and found eight like-minded filmmakers, who created portraits of their grandmothers in parallel to one another in Israel, Greece, Italy, Iceland, Bulgaria, Russia, England, Turkey and Austria. These women, born in the 20s and early 30s of the last century, tell their filmmaking granddaughters about war, political upheavals, love, and everyday life in their time in Europe.
Alenka Maly and her colleagues have succeeded in capturing an authentic panorama of European history on film and creating a small cinematic memorial for a group of women, which offers an insight into the dark chapters of European history of the 20th century for the generations born later.


ALENKA MALY, Project founder, director

Alenka is an actress and director currently based in Linz, Upper Austria. She completed her studies at the Bruckner Universität Linz and has been working as a theater and film actress in various German-speaking countries for the past ten years. She also holds a degree in Visual Media Design from the Kunstuniversität Linz (University of Art and Design Linz). She has been working as a film maker and stage director since 2002, her main focus being the aspect of social reality. As a video editor, she has completed many projects with fellow independent film makers, as well as projects for ORF (the Austrian national broadcaster).

Films (selection):

  • Kain Denkmal (premiered at Crossing Europe Film Festival Linz, 2004)
  • Noch gibt er nicht Milch (premiered at Crossing Europe, 2006)
  • Irmas Zeit (premiered at Heimatfilmfestival Freistadt, 2007 / Moviemento Linz)
  • Zwaso (premiered at Jerusalem Jewish Film Festival, 2009, Crossing Europe, 2009)
  • Haiti episode in Micha Schagrir’s ‘Hoppa, Hoppa Reiter’
  • Hammerweg* (premiered at Crossing Europe, 2010)

*Hammerweg documents the temporary Arbeitersiedlung Hammerweg museum (www.hammerweg.at), a museum created inside the houses of a partly vacant worker’s settlement. The project, conceived and realized by Alenka Maly herself, was an interactive and multidisciplinary intervention in urban space that allowed visitors to experience first-hand the city’s architectural and social history.

NORA GUMPENBERGER, producer, cinemas

Nora is a project manager and events coordinator with a profound interest in art and culture. She holds a master degree in German philology and studied comparative literature. Her prior experience encompasses a huge range of projects, from working as assistant director in several international theatre projects to participation in art exhibitions and festivals. Nora spent several years as assistant manager for Don Juan Archiv Wien, organizing international conferences and scientific publications on theatre, opera and musicology. She is currently event manager and producer of the famous Viennese festival Volksstimmefest, a two-days outdoor festival offering political debates, concerts, children’s and sports program and gastronomy. Since 2016 Nora is also employed as program manager at Die Wiener Volkshochschulen, an adult education centre in Vienna.

VERONIKA PETERSEIL, producer, translations & subtitles

Born in 1985 in Linz, Upper Austria, Veronika studied Conference Interpreting and Translation in Vienna, Genoa (IT) and Leeds (UK) and is currently working as a freelance interpreter, translator and subtitler based in Linz. As a translator, she has worked for the Austrian Foreign Ministry, Austrian Federal Ministry for Education, the Arts and Culture, and the Federal Office for Monuments Protection (BDA).

BARBARA STEINER, producer, festivals

Barbara is political scientist (University of Vienna and University of Lund, Sweden), with main areas of research Europe and the EU, feminist theory and gender studies. She is the director of transform! europe, a European network for alternative thinking and political dialogue, at the same time a think tank organizing research, publications and international conferences that explore political and social issues in Europe. She is a member of the Vienna based educational association present:history, organising historical study trips in Europe and critical historical discussions and events, with focus on the time of WWII and after.

The Directors


Born in 1980 in Gabrovo, Bulgaria, Desislava graduated in Film and TV Directing at South-West University ‘Neofit Rilski’, Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria, in 2005. In 2004, she started working in the field of contemporary art together with the Art in Action Association based in Sofia, as the assistant of Prof. Orlin Dvoryanov. Since 2010, Desislava has been working as a video and performance artist, as a freelance cultural manager and workshop leader. Most of her artistic appearances feature the cooperation with Art in Action Association and its members.


Anna Sæunn Ólafsdóttir was born in Northern Iceland in 1987. Since graduating from the Icelandic Film School in 2012, she has actively been working in the Icelandic film scene. In 2016, she established her own production company, NyArk Media. Anna worked in the production department of the winner of the Un Certain Regard section at Cannes Film Festival 2015, Rams, and produced the award-winning and Edda-nominated films ‘Rainbow Party’ and ‘Salvation’. Anna directed her first short documentary ‘Jump’ in 2016 and is currently co-directing a full-length documentary about Syrian refugees in Iceland, finishing post-production of two short films as producer and developing her second short film as a director.


Giorgia is a filmmaker and editor with Italian origins. She has been living and working in London for about 10 years.


Born and raised in Israel, Hadas served as a cinematographer in the Israeli army. Upon her release, she studied film at Sapir College in the city of Sderot near the Gaza border and graduated with an Honours scholarship majoring in Script-writing and Directing (BFA). Having lived in close proximity to a conflicted border during wartime inspired her to create films with whimsical fantasy-like humour and beauty, yet with a deep, raw emotional core. Today, she is based in Tel-Aviv, writing and directing short films whilst working on her debut feature film.


Maria has a background in Visual Anthropology and documentary film production. She lives as a freelancer in London.


Berke was born in 1985 in Turkey, Kayseri. She holds an M.A. in Visual Arts, and is currently working on her PhD thesis about ontology of the new visual culture. She is also a contemporary artist and a lecturer. She is currently living and working in İstanbul.


Ekaterina is a professional award-winning film director and filmmaker born in Leningrad, currently based in Rome, where she graduated from the National School of Cinema (‘Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia’).

During her studies she was involved in various academic and extra-curricular projects. For example her work ‘Ships in the Night’ was shown at Auditorium (the main music venue in Rome), and her graduate short movie ‘Selfiesh’ was already shown at different film festivals and won numerous nominations.

She used to work in Russian TV productions and continues to do similar work on a freelance basis, since she currently lives in Italy. She has also participated as a director in various shoots (documentaries, advertising), working with Alexander Sokurov, Armani brand and RAI.

She gained experience of cinematographic direction through her work as a director’s assistant on the set of ‘Ben Hur’ (Paramount & Goldwin Mayer). She also had a chance to improve her cinematographic knowledge and get an inside perspective on film festival organisation thanks to taking part as a judge at Medfilm festival, Rome.


Fleur is a UK based feature documentary Impact Producer (‘ISLAND’ (2017) by Steven Eastwood and ‘Even When I Fall’ (2017) by Kate McLarnon and Sky Neal) and Project Manager working across all films at Hakawati. Fleur’s legal background informs her interest in documentary, understanding that storytelling has the power to create positive change and give new energy to social issues. She previously worked as an impact assistant on the BAFTA / Academy Award nominated film ‘Virunga’ (2014). More recently she managed outreach for ‘Almost Heaven’ (2017) – winner of Best Documentary at the British Independent Film Awards 2017.