Erika de Hadeln, after a short teaching career in Rolle and Lausanne (Switzerland), co-founded in 1969 the International Documentary Film Festival in Nyon (known today as Visions du Réel), that she headed from 1981 to 1993. She directed the Swiss Company of International Film Festivals from 1972 to 1977 before taking charge of several key tasks in the fields of organization, protocol and film selection at the Berlin International Film Festival between 1980 and 2001 and at the Venice International Film Festival in 2002 and 2003.
Erika de Hadeln was born in Pomerania (Germany) in February 1941, second child of Dietrich von dem Hagen and Sigrun von Maltzahn. She has three brothers and a sister. Her family emigrated to Western Germany in 1945 escaping the Red Army, and established itself near Hamburg, first on the Hadeln Land, then in Winsen (Luhe). After studies in Freiburg, Paris and Berlin, she earned a Master's Degree at the "Freie Universität Berlin” in History, French language and literature in 1967. Among others, she studied with Prof. Gordon A. Craig working on the image of the Weimar Republic as reflected by films.
During one of her stays in Paris as a student at the Sorbonne she met Moritz de Hadeln and participated in the making of his second documentary Ombres et Mirages. They married in Berlin in January 1968 and thereafter established their home in Gland, Switzerland. For a short period she served as German language and literature teacher at the La Combe private school in Rolle, then at the public high school Collège du Belvedère in Lausanne.
At the height of the Vietnam war, the student revolt in France and Germany and the Prague crackdown, together with her husband, Erika founded in 1969 the Nyon International Documentary Film Festival. After taking charge of the festival organisation and sharing part of the selection tasks with her husband, more particularly in Canada and the United States, Erika de Hadeln became director of the festival from 1980 to 1993. It is already during the early years of the Nyon International Documentary Film Festival that she got first hand knowledge of the difficult art of negotiations with the film authorities in East Europe and Russia, a knowledge that will help her later to fulfil her role as a confidential advisor when Moritz de Hadeln was appointed in Berlin. During her 25 years in Nyon, she worked with many prominent documentary film-makers, including Joris Ivens, Roman Karmen, Georges Rouquier, Lothar Wolff, Basil Wright, Georges Dufaux, Herz Frank, Erwin Leiser and Henri Storck – who all attended the event. Erika and Moritz de Hadeln succeeded in making of the Nyon International Documentary Film Festival , in spite of many difficulties and a miserable budget, a unique meeting place for documentary film making while discovering many new talents. The event has served as model for other festivals such as those created later in Amsterdam or Munich. Erika de Hadeln is co-author of such landmark retrospectives as "Documentary films of the Baltic Soviet Republics" (1987/88), "Documentary films of the Armenian Soviet Republic" (1989/90) and "Romania: the documentary films 1898-1990" (1990/91).
•Erika de Hadeln is Chevalier in the Order des Arts et des Letters of the French Ministry of Culture (1990),
• the honorary FIPRESCI prize, jointly with Moritz de Hadeln
• the honorary Oecumenical Jury prize (2001) jointly with Moritz de Hadeln
• the Armenian Filmmakers Union ANAHIT Award (2006) for the "great effort promoting Armenian Cinema and helping it find its place in the international cinema scene".
From 1972 to 1977, de Hadeln coordinated and directed the Swiss Company of International Film Festivals head-quartered in Geneva, which was set up by the de Hadelns while Moritz was directing the Locarno International Film Festival. This office located in Nyon was in charge of the selection, the programming and the press relations for both festivals of Nyon and Locarno and was run thanks to an important yearly Swiss federal grant. She then joined Moritz in Berlin in 1979, when he was appointed director of the Berlin International Film Festival (1979-2001). She was actively involved in the practical organization of the event and in the selection of films for the Official Program (Competition and Panorama programs), specializing particularly in American, British, Italian, French and Chinese cinema. Among other she was, in the early '80s and long before the internet era, the first to introduce on a large scale, computer technology for the organization of an international festival. Many of her organization ideas have since been adopted by film festivals world wide. From 2002 to 2003, she fulfilled an advisory role at the Venice International Film Festival, both in selection, coordination and organization matters.
Together with her husband Moritz she founded in Berlin in May 2001 "de Hadeln & Partners", a company specializing in film consulting and event management that was transferred to Gland, Switzerland, in 2007. After Venice, she was also associated with the New Montreal International Film festival adventure in 2005, as adviser of “how to market Brazilian cinema” commissioned by Cine Novo in Rio de Janeiro (2001) and for the new festival created in Portugal, the Douro Film Harvest (2009).
Erika de Hadeln has been a member of several International juries, among others in Taormina, Moscow, Amsterdam and Yerevan. She has been member of the European Film Academy and chairperson of the International Short Film Conference, an association grouping all major short film and documentary film festivals. As an accomplished organizer and team leader, with the mastery of several European languages, her extensive travel background and her experience in film selection activities worldwide, Erika de Hadeln is today a renowned and respected personality in the film industry. Swiss citizen since 1986, Erika de Hadeln is currently residing in Gland (Switzerland).
de Hadeln, Moritz 20e Festival International du Film Documentaire Nyon, Suisse "C'est du Cinema", 196 pages (in French only), Ed. Nyon Film Festival, 1988. ISBN 2-88346-006-X. cf-Dictionnaire historique de la Suisse  (http://www.hls-dhs-dss.ch/textes/f7F10479.php)
de Hadeln, Moritz & Erika with Schlegel, Hans-Joachim "Documentary Films of the Baltic Soviet Republics", 112 pages (in French, German and English), joint publication of the Nyon and Berlin International Film Festivals, Ed. Nyon Film Festival, 1988.
de Hadeln, Moritz & Erika with Schlegel, Hans-Joachim Documentary "Films of the Armenian Soviet Republic", 128 pages (in French, German and English), joint publication of the Nyon and Berlin International Film Festivals, Ed. Nyon Film Festival, 1989. ISBN 2-88346-007-8
de Hadeln, Moritz, de Hadeln, Erika & Schlegel, Hans-Joachim "Romania: the Documentary Films (1898-1990)", 124 pages (in French, German and English), joint publication of the Nyon and Berlin International Film Festivals, Ed. Nyon Film Festival, 1990. - ISBN 2-88346-009-4
de Hadeln, Moritz "L'lnsupportable Verite, Chronique de six annees turbulantes (1988-1993)", 132 pages (in French only), Ed. Nyon International Film Festival, 1993- ISBN 2-88346-014-0
Jacobsen, Wolfgang 50 years Berlinale, 563 pages (in English, edited also separately in German), Ed. Nicolai, 2000 - ISBN 3-87584-906-X
Baer, Volker and de Hadeln, Moritz "Closing the Book", Moritz de Hadeln's Berlinale, 89 pages (bilingual German and English), Ed. Berlin Festspiele GmbH, 2001 - Catalogue of the Deutsche National Bibliothek (http://d-nb.info/963444476)