64th International Film Festival Mannheim-Heidelberg
Germany, October 9 - October 24 2015
There were some changes at this year’s edition of the Mannheim-Heidelberg Film Festival. The festival shifted from November to October (it will move back to November next year) and it was extended from 11 to 16 days. The International Competition became the International Newcomer Competition, comprising 22 films as opposed to 13 last year. The top prize was renamed the Grand Newcomer Award. Through these changes, the festival made its intentions clear: to offer a worldwide platform for young talent, often presenting debut features.
There was also a new section called World Cinema showing recent films by renowned directors, works which have already premiered at other festivals. More significantly, there was an additional competition dedicated to international drama series produced for TV or internet – a way to acknowledge, as festival director Michael Koetz put it, the “new cinematographic style” of these series. This section of the competition also showed work by newcomers: a New Creators Prize was awarded to the Norwegian series Occupied (based on an original idea by Jo Nesbo) and its creators Karianne Lund and Erik Skjoldbjaerg. The latter is well-known as the director of Insomnia (1996), which was remade by Christopher Nolan in 2001.
The International Newcomer Competition included films from countries including Bangladesh, Iran, Kazakhstan and Peru. There were three entries from Mexico, including the winner of the Grand Newcomer Award. The Grand Jury, led by Belgian filmmaker Marion Haensel, awarded this prize to The Thin Yellow Line (La delgada linea amarilla) by Celso R Garcia. A Special Newcomer Award for innovative storytelling went to Dutch filmmaker Margot Schaap for her film 12 Months in 1 Day (Een dag in ‘t jaar).
Schaap’s film also won the prize from the FIPRESCI jury, for its “highly personal views on love and friendship between young people with fundamentally different concepts of life and relationships, and for its exceptional visual and narrative style. It has a subtle sense of poetry which is linked to a philosophical reflection on moving through time and space in search of constancy and continuity.”
An honorary Master of Cinema award was given to Olivier Assayas. Assayas previously visited the festival in 1992 with his third feature, Paris Awakens (Paris s’éveille). Four of his films were screened to demonstrate his growth and talent as a filmmaker. (Peter Kremski, edited by Lesley Chow)
International Film Festival Mannheim-Heidelberg: www.iffmh.de