WaterBear Network sets senior leadership team ahead of fall launch

WaterBear Network, a joint venture from ZDF Enterprises and Off the Fence, has cemented its top line structure for the interactive VOD platform with a team of international industry executives. As ...
August 12, 2020

WaterBear Network, a joint venture from ZDF Enterprises and Off the Fence, has cemented its top line structure for the interactive VOD platform with a team of international industry executives.

As previously announced, the digital platform and mobile app – slated to launch this fall – will showcase documentaries, original content and live streaming “dedicated to bringing together a global community” passionate about the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“I am excited to have such a talented team ready to go the distance together – each brings a wealth of experience, innovation and a passion for WaterBear’s mission of impact storytelling,” said WaterBear Network CEO Ellen Windemuth (pictured) in a statement. “As we prepare for launch, we are creating an inspirational showcase of purpose-focused content paired with unique technology for our global audience to interact with the causes they care about.”

Joining Windemuth, previously the owner and CEO of Dutch indie producer-distributor Off the Fence, will be Victor Eckard who retains his position of managing director. In his role, Eckard is responsible for overseeing the company’s strategic direction and general management.

Eckard comes to the WaterBear Network from Off the Fence where he has previously held the positions of director of strategy and business development and director of digital media. Prior to this, he was head of content at ShowMax in Africa and director at M-Net, part of the MultiChoice Group.

Sam Sutaria, formerly GM of the European Nature Trust, will board WaterBear as head of strategy. He will be tasked with managing the outfit’s strategy and business development, while also leading WaterBear’s collaboration with the Resilient Foundation, which works to raise funds for high impact documentaries and

A life-long conservationist, Sutaria has previously worked at the award-winning ethical creative agency Nice and Serious in London, and was one of the first graduates from the joint Masters program developed by the BBC’s Natural History Unit and University of the West of England.

Joining as head of content and production will be Andrea Walji, who will be responsible for the company’s strategic direction, creative execution and production management. Walji previously owned and operated the London indie Triangle Monday, where she produced such films as #NatureNowNot A Pet and Pangolins: Scale of the Trade.

Also joining WaterBear Network will be entertainment industry veteran Justin Steel and Off the Fence alumna Bracken Hollings.

Steel has been tapped as head of planning and distribution with responsibility for the overall direction of programming, planning and distribution. He will also be tasked with creating and maintaining the company’s programming schedule.

Hollings, meanwhile, has been named as head of partnership content where she will be responsible for creating “impactful and inspiring short films” with WaterBear’s 65 non-governmental organization partners.

In addition, WaterBear Network has appointed Lisa Rose as head of impact; Pierre Le Gaudu as head of technical operations; Louis Botha as head of finance; and Poppy Mason-Watts as head of marketing and publicity.

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.