Jaka Bizilj (born December 8, 1971 in Ljubljana) grew up in Slovenia, Libya, Tanzania, Malaysia and Germany. During his school and studies in politics, literature and film at the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, he devoted himself to journalism. Jaka Bizilj posted articles and reports for print, radio and television, for example for ZDF, Bild and Der Spiegel. Since 1995 he has been working as promoter and producer. With his Berlin-based production company Star Entertainment Jaka Bizilj is the founder and since 2002 the largest financial sponsor of the global Cinema for Peace initiative, which has been reaching billions of people via media coverage and could collect more than 10 million USD for charity, confirmed by external audit. Since its inception in 2008 Jaka Bizilj also volunteers as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Cinema for Peace Foundation.
Promoter and Producer
Jaka Bizilj is as writer, promoter and producer. He began organizing concerts in 1995 with artists such as Andrea Bocelli, Bryan Adams, Montserrat Caballe, Liza Minnelli and toured with artists such as José Carreras. Since the end of the 1990s, Jaka Bizilj has been working internationally as a producer and was the largest presenter of open-air opera in Europe for many years. Jaka Bizilj annually staged up to 700 concerts and live productions. Among his productions are "Magic of the Dance", Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Jesus Christ Superstar" and "Evita", Elton John’s musical Aida and the Broadway musical Jekyll & Hyde. Moreover he has launched a number of festivals. In 2002 he founded the Cinema for Peace initiative and in 2008 the Cinema for Peace Foundation with the goal of creating awareness of the social relevance of films and the influence of movies on the perception and resolution of global social, political and humanitarian challenges of our time. Jaka Bizilj is also involved in the production of films, including the Richard Curtis remake “Suddenly Gina ” and the documentary “Letter to Anna” about Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya. He was also involved in the realization of the documentary "This Prison Where I Live" about the detained Myanmar comedian "Zarganar" and the recent film productions "After the Silence" and "Song of Names" with Dustin Hoffman and Anthony Hopkins.
Jaka Bizilj is a member of the Clinton Global Initiative and collaborates with and supports, among others, UNICEF, Unifem, Amnesty International, ONE, amfAR, Richard Gere's work for Tibet and the International Campaign for Tibet, which was initiated through a meeting with the Dalai Lama in 2004. After visiting Nelson Mandela in November 2006, he began working with the "Schools for Africa"- program, a joint initiative of UNICEF and the Nelson Mandela Foundation. Since 2002, Jaka Bizilj has raised a notarized amount of more than three million Euros for a variety of charitable causes. He has co-chaired various charitable events alongside Federal Ministers, head of states and legendary artists such as Elizabeth Taylor.
Following the tragedy of 9/11 Jaka Bizilj launched the Cinema for Peace initiative with an annual gala as a platform for communicating humanitarian, political and social issues through the medium of film. The Cinema for Peace Gala has grown to the attention of well over a billion media hits each year, possibly making it one of the most relevant film events in the world. Bob Geldof described the awards gala as "the Oscars with brains". George Clooney said to have found inspiration for his Oscar-nominated film "Good Night and Good Luck" in the Cinema for Peace initiative.
Previous hosts, chairs and speakers at the Cinema for Peace galas include Leonardo DiCaprio, President Mikhail Gorbachev, Richard Gere, Buzz Aldrin, Sean Penn, Dustin Hoffman, Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins, Antonio Banderas, Sharon Stone, Catherine Deneuve, Forest Whitaker, Clint Eastwood, Hilary Swank, Robert De Niro and Uma Thurman. In 2007 Cinema for Peace launched together with Amnesty International the “International Human Rights Film Award” and together with the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the “Cinema for Peace Award for Justice” in 2009. President Mikhail Gorbachev presented the first “International Green Film Award” on the occasion of Cinema for Peace 2009 to Leonardo DiCaprio.
Jaka Bizilj distributed the Bosnian Oscar-winning war-satire "No Man's Land" by Danis Tanovic. Ahead of the G8 Summit in Germany he produced at the initiative of Bob Geldof and Richard Curtis a remake of the Golden Globe-winning film "The Girl in the Café" with Iris Berben, Julia Jentsch, Jan Josef Liefers and Catherine Deneuve in 2007. He also initiated Bob Geldof to become the editor of Europe's biggest-selling newspaper BILD for a day in order to publish an issue solely dedicated to Africa, with guest contributions by personalities such as the Pope, Bill Gates and Bono.
Together with the Trust Fund for Victims at the International Criminal Court he organized with the Cinema for Peace Foundation - "The Special Evening on Justice" on the eve the International Criminal Court Review Conference of the Rome Statute in Kampala, Uganda. The Cinema for Peace Foundation presented on this occasion the first "Justitia Award" to honor the United Nations and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for establishing and supporting the International Criminal Court. The award was presented to Ban Ki-moon by the Council of Europe Goodwill Ambassador Bianca Jagger, founder and chairperson of the Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation. Ban Ki-moon said that it is a great honour to accept the first "Justitia Award" and he thanked the CFPF for recognizing the UN's persistent efforts to establish justice in the world.
On the occasion of the 12 IAAF World Championships in Athletics in Berlin 2009 he launched together with Gerhard Janetzky the initiative "Sports for Peace". This was preceded in 2008 by a unilateral appeal in the International Herald Tribune on the occasion of the Olympic Games, signed by more than 100 world champions, Olympic champions and world record holders in order to remind China to live up to the Olympic ideals and universal human rights. The first “Sports for Peace” Awards were presented at the “Sports for Peace” inauguration 2009 to IOC Vice President Sergey Bubka, Laureus ambassador Dr. Edwin Moses and those players of the Iranian national football team, who wore green wristbands during their match against South Korea, thus expressing their solidarity with the freedom and democracy movement in Iran. They all identified themselves with the “Sports for Peace” goal: to create awareness for the peace-building ideals of sport and the need for the implementation of a global communications platform designed to also support various sports oriented aid projects.
On June 8, 2010, Jaka Bizilj hosted the "Sports for Peace" gala on the occasion of the FIFA World Cup in South Africa - the world's biggest single sporting event and first ever FIFA World Cup to take place in Africa - bringing together the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, South African President Jacob Zuma, Madama Graça Machel, the Nelson Mandela Foundation, 1Goal Ambassadors and many other dignitaries from across the globe in order to address this serious issue - the second Millennium Development Goal (MDG): "achieve universal primary education by 2015".
In 2011 he organized for the first time a Cinema for Peace Dinner in Cannes and accompanied the visit of the 14th Dalai Lama to Wiesbaden with a film program and a charity dinner to support the culture of Tibet. Furthermore, he assisted on 24 and 25 August in The Hague a symposium on the issue of child soldiers which was held at the International Criminal Court in The Hague on the occasion of the closing statements of the case against Thomas Lubanga by arranging for film screenings and a charity dinner. Together with former child soldiers, UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie and the UN Special Representative for Children in Armed Conflict, Radhika Coomaraswamy all parties involved signed a petition urging all UN member states to condemn the use of child soldiers, to fight the use of sexual violence in war and to make efforts to prevent that schools and hospitals become targets of armed attacks. On 23 September 2011 Jaka Bizilj produced the presentation of the first universal human rights logo on the occasion of the UN General Assembly in New York.
Bizilj also produced the Los Angeles premiere of Cinema for Peace in January 2012 by staging “Help Haiti Home” benefiting Sean Penn’s J/P Haitian Relief Organization.; Cinema for Peace Los Angeles raised 5 million USD for Haiti with the help of Julia Roberts, Leonardo DiCaprio, George Clooney, Oprah Winfrey, Bill and Hillary Clinton amongst others. The Cinema for Peace-Gala in Berlin 2012 saw Angelina Jolie receiving the “Honorary Award for Opposing War and Genocide” for her directorial debut “In the Land of Blood and Honey”. In this context Bizilj arranged for a press workshop with Angelina Jolie and Luis Moreno-Ocampo, initiating a global campaign against sexual violence in war and post-conflict zones.http://newssun.suntimes.com/photos/galleries/?story=10619908
In June 2012 Jaka Bizilj welcomed 100 personalities from the world of arts, film and society on the occasion of Art Basel and “Art & Cinema for Peace” in honour of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei. This occasion included the premiere of the documentary film “Ai Weiwei – Never Sorry” by Alison Klayman. Two time Academy Award-winning actress Susan Sarandon concluded the evening with a video statement expressing the worldwide support for Ai Weiwei. At the Cinema for Peace Gala for Humanity in Los Angeles, produced by Jaka Bizilj in January 2013, Ben Affleck received the Cinema for Peace Humanitarian Award for his work with the Eastern Congo Initiative. At the Cinema for Peace Award Gala in Berlin in February 2013 Charlize Theron and her Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project was awarded the Cinema for Peace Honorary Award for the exemplary dedication to prevent South African Youth from HIV and Aids. On 12 July 2013 actress Nicole Kidman and UN Women Action Head Lakshmi Puri were honored by Jaka Bizilj at a 'Cinema for Peace' Honorary Dinner for their furthering of women's rights. In 2014, Jaka Bizilj as the Founder of Cinema for Peace invited Pussy Riot to the Olympic Games in Sochi and introduced them to Hollywood and to Washington in order to promote global Human rights responsibility and advocate a global Sanktion List for Human rights offenders.
Entertainment / Shows
- since 1996 - The Black Gospel Singers
- since 1997 - Nabucco, Aida
- since 1998 - Carmen
- since 1999 - Magic of the Dance
- since 2000 - Romanza with Helen Schneider, Königstein Castle Festival, Nahe-Festival (until 2005)
- since 2001 - Stardance, Dancing Queen/Abbafever
- since 2002 - Evita
- since 2003 - The Vienna Johann Strauss Waltz Gala, Festival under the Stars (Herrenchiemsee Castle)
- since 2004 - The Magic Flute, Jedermann
- since 2005 - Last Night of Spectacular Classic, Arena di Bavaria, Wörthersee Festival
- 2006 - The World Football Concerts at the FIFA World Cup, Jesus Christ Superstar, Galanacht des Musicals, Mozart Gala
- 2007 - The Lord of the Rings in concert, Queen - a ballet homage by Ben van Cauwenberg
- 2008 - Aida, the musical by Elton John and Tim Rice
- 2009 - Jekyll & Hyde
- 2011 - Phantom of the Opera Birthday Gala at the O2 World in Berlin, The Fantastic Shadows
- 2012 - The Fantastic Shadows
- since 2002 - annual Cinema for Peace Gala in Berlin
- 2005 - Long Walk to Justice / Live 8 Germany
- 2008 - Sports for Peace Campaign at the Summer Olympics in Beijing
- 2009 - Cinema for Peace Dinner Honoring Mikhail Gorbachev on the occasion of the 20 anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall
- 2010 - A Special Evening on Justice at the Review Conference of the Rome Statute in Kampala, Uganda
- 2010 – Sports for Peace Gala Event South Africa
- 2010 - Art & Cinema for Peace Dinner at the 41 Art Basel
- 2010 - Special Youth Day Screening of "Themba - A Boy Called Hope" at Cape Town, presented by Desmond Tutu, starting the anti-AIDS-film-campaign
- 2010 - An Evening for Africa in New York with Bob Geldof and Sharon Stone
- 2010 - Green Evening in Berlin with Sebastian Copeland and Orlando Bloom
- 2011 – Cinema for Peace Honorary Dinner Cannes with Sean Penn, Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro, Uma Thurman, Jane Fonda
- 2011 – Cinema for Peace Dinner and film symposium honoring Hans-Dietrich Genscher in Ljubljana
- 2011 – Cinema for Peace Welcome Dinner in St.Tropez
- 2011 – Cinema for Peace Dinner for Tibet, screenings, symposium and speeches on the occasion of the visit of His Holyness the 14 Dalai Lama to Wiesbaden
- 2011 - Cinema for Peace Evening on the Issue of Child Soldiers and petition in The Hague at the International Criminal Court
- 2011 – Cinema for Peace Dinner in New York celebrating the presentation of the first universal human rights logo
- 2011 - Justice Gala in New York staged together with the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court
- 2012 - Cinema for Peace Los Angeles – Help Haiti Home
- 2012 – Art & Cinema for Peace Art Basel in support of Ai Weiwei
- 2012 – In the Name of Justice - Farewell Event for Luis Moreno-Ocampo at the International Criminal Court
- 2012 – “Sports for Peace” London honoring Muhammad Ali and celebrating his core values on the occasion of the Olympic Games
- 2012 – Cinema for Peace Dinner New York – Artists help Development and Climate Protection, honoring Sting and Trudie Styler
- 2013 – Cinema for Peace Gala for Humanity, Los Angeles
- 2013 - Cinema for Peace Dinner Honoring UN Women, Berlin
- Not the same procedure as every year - Dinner for All with Bob Geldof and Katja Riemann (2007)
- Suddenly Gina with Iris Berben, Julia Jentsch, Jan Josef Liefers and Catherine Deneuve (2007)
- I don't feel like dancing short film (2008)
- Eric Bergkraut's documentary Letter to Anna about the murdered Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya (2008)
- This Prison Where I Live, co-production for Rex Bloomstein’s documentary about the Burmese comedian “Zarganar”(2010)
- Steuer gegen Armut - Eine gute Idee, producer of the German spot of the Robin-Hood-Tax-Campaign, following an idea of Richard Curtis (2010)
- After the Silence, co-production for Marcus Vetter's documentary (2011)
- The Song of Names, co-production for Vadim Perelman's feature film, starring Anthony Hopkins and Dustin Hoffman (2012)
- Václav Havel, the former Czech president, in 2008 committed the audience award for "Letter to Anna" at the One World International Human Rights Film Festival. The Prague festival uses international documentary films to highlight opportunities for individuals to champion human rights.
- "I don't feel like dancing" received the award "Best Short Fiction Film" by the "GoEast Festival" in April 2008