62nd International Filmfestival Mannheim-Heidelberg
Germany, October 31 - November 10 2013
Discovering new talent and presenting beginning filmmakers is the core business of the film festival Mannheim-Heidelberg. Being founded in 1952 as the ‘Kultur- und Dokumentarfilmwoche’ it is (after Berlin) the second oldest film festival in Germany. The event changed its name in 1991 to ‘International Film Festival Mannheim’. Since 1994 the neighbouring city of Heidelberg takes part as well. In 2012 an audience of approximately 60,000 film lovers visited the event that focuses on arthouse and auteur films.
The catalogue mentions Mannheim-Heidelberg to be the only international film festival to exclusively feature premieres from newcomers — for the most part presenting their first film. To be selected for the main programme a film has to be a premiere (at least for Germany) and cannot be show on one of the major festivals (Berlin, Cannes, Venice).
The Mannheim-Heidelberg festival does not boast on a huge number of films, but rather prefers to keep the programme relatively small but carefully selected. The 2013 edition has an International Competition and a section of International Discoveries, supplemented with a number of special screenings and a small, but worthwhile international selection of films for children. Just over 50 titles altogether.
An important part of the festival is the Mannheim Meeting Place, a co-production market with a focus on start-up arthouse film producers. The renewed formula is now in place for four years. The distinguishing element of the MMP is the fact that the actual meetings at the festival are extensively prepared in the months before the event. This preparation highly enhances the chance that actual deals can be confirmed during the MMP.
The members of the international jury this year were filmmakers István Szabó, Kirsi Liimatainen and Matías Bize. The main award for Newcomer of the Year was assigned to Molasses (Melaza), by Carlos Lechuga (Cuba/France/Panama 2012). Tangerines (Mandariinid) received the audience award. New this year marked the inaugural New Master of Cinema Award. Not some kind of lifetime achievement award for a well established filmmaker, but rather a prize for a filmmaker who has proven to be able to follow up the promise of their debut. Thus Frédéric Fonteyne was lauded this year as New Master of Cinema. After his 1997 debut Max et Bobo (screened at the Mannheim-Heidelberg festival) he managed to continue on the hard road that awaits any beginning filmmaker, with notable results. His latest film Tango Libre premiered at the Venice film festival this year and won the Special Jury Prize. (Leo Bankersen)
International Filmfestival Mannheim-Heidelberg: www.iffmh.de