57th Mannheim-Heidelberg Festival gets underway

Article published on Nov. 13, 2008
Article published on Nov. 13, 2008
The 57th Mannheim-Heidelberg International Film Festival (November 6-16) opened yesterday evening in Heidelberg with the competition screening of Canadian film The Baby Formula. In Mannheim, the festival will kick off this evening with the avant-première, out-of-competition screening of Clara, the biopic about Schumann’s wife.
Director Helma Sanders-Brahms will be in attendance, as will actor Pascal Gréggory, who stars alongside Martina Gedeck.

The festival – which every year welcomes around 1,000 industry personalities and some 60,000 viewers in the host cities – continues its tradition of unveiling new talents. The event offers audiences a radical selection (every year, the 40 or so international features presented in the two main sections, the international competition and "International Discoveries", are chosen from over 2,000 contenders) of recent titles, none of which have been previously presented at major festivals.

There are 18 films from 14 different countries screening in competition this year. The 12 European works vying for honours include Spanish films Awaking from a Dream by Freddy Mas Franqueza, 14 Kilometros [trailer] (“14 Kilometres”) by Gerardo Olivares and Un poco de chocolate (“A Little Chocolate”) by Aitzol Aramaio; Vincent Pluss’ The Noise In My Head (Switzerland), Ferenc Moldoványi’s Another Planet (Hungary), and French titles Les murs porteurs [trailer] (“The Carrier Walls”) by Cyril Gelblat and A Police Romance [trailer] by Stéphanie Duvivier.

Further competition titles are Maris Martinsons’ Loss (Lithuania), Paul Kieffer’s Arabian Nights [trailer] (Luxembourg), Linda Wendel’s One Shot (whose screening will be attended by the Danish director as well as actor Jesper Christensen, who has appeared in the latest two James Bond films), Zornitsa Sophia’s Forecast (Bulgaria) and Ulrik Imtiaz Rolfsen’s The Last Joint Venture (Norway). The contenders will be judged by the international jury presided by Edgar Reitz.

The "International Discoveries" section will screen 14 films from 11 different countries, including nine European and three Russian titles. The "German Film Festival" sidebar is showing five films, including Nicolette Krebitz’s superb The Heart is a Dark Forest.

The programme also includes a section devoted to children’s films; a special section entitled "Intense Times" which explores – 40 years after 1968 – that era of turmoil and revolution; and an important series of discussions with filmmakers.

On the industry side, the festival is hosting the 12th edition of the "Mannheim Meetings" (November 12-16), a dynamic and effective meeting place for professionals, which also offers a selection of training opportunities.

Bénédicte Prot cineuropa.org