Born 1965 in Vienna, lives in Switzerland and holds a Bachelor’s degree in film & television production and in history from the University of Tel Aviv.
In 1990, she joined Warner Bros. Israel and became Head of Distribution. From 1992 she produced international feature films and documentaries as Head of Co-Production and Sales for an independent production company in Zurich.
In 1998, Esther van Messel founded her own company First Hand Films in Zurich and Berlin for world sales of documentaries and fiction films. First Hand Films acts as executive producer for selected projects.
Esther van Messel has been working as a lecturer and consultant for various organisations like EAVE Brussels, IDFA Forum Amsterdam, Cinemart Rotterdam, Eurodoc Paris, Avea Johannesburg, Eureka Warsaw and Tallinn, Another Finland, TV Media Business School Barcelona, Discovery Campus Munich, F&S Screen Training Ireland, the Filmacademy Ludwigsburg, the Erich Pommer Institut and the Austrian Parliament, a.o.
She was an appointed member of the Selection Committee for the Austrian Film Institute and served on several juries like Golden Link EBU and Nordisk Filmpanorama.
Since 1999 she co-owns Vertical Strategy Ltd. in Leipzig together with Björn Koll from Edition Salzgeber Berlin. Esther van Messel is fluent in English, German, French, Dutch, Hebrew, and not yet in Danish. Since 1992 and 1995 she is raising a daughter and a son. She rides a Hornet 900.