The award winners of the 68th International Filmfestival Mannheim-Heidelberg

The “Grand Newcomer Award Mannheim-Heidelberg” 2019 goes ex aequo to
THE GRIZZLIES by Miranda de Pencier, Canada
ON THE ROOF by Jiri Madl, Czech Republic

Dr. Michael Kötz, Monika Kristl (producer), Minister Theresia Bauer, Jiří Mádl (director & author) & Audience Member

The „Talent Award of Mannheim-Heidelberg“ 2019 goes to

Audience Member, Dr. Michael Kötz, KENTARO (director), Dr. Peter Kurz (mayor),
Yuya Yagira (actor), Kazz Kitaki (producer), Masanori Yamamoto (Executive Producer) & Tsuyoshi Chino (Executive Producer)


The „Special Award Mannheim-Heidelberg“ 2019 goes to
END OF SENTENCE by Elfar Adalsteins, Island/Irland/USA

The Ecumenical Film Prize 2019 
awarded by the Ecumenical jury  – Lothar Strüber, Alexander Bothe, Dr. Guido Convents, Arielle Domon and Mirko Klein — goes to
RONA, AZIM‘S MOTHER by Jamshid Mahmoudi

In the city’s metabolism, work in the essential sewer system provides a basic lively hood for Afghani Azim and his family in Iran. Azim’s capacity to bear suffering seems boundless. What finally breaks his strength and resolve, as well as his set of values, is the collapse of his mother’s metabolism, a life-threatening failure that can only be treated with a kidney transplant by donation. Traditions and laws, conscience and the need to survive, love of one’s mother, feeding the family, living without rights but with a sense of duty, flight, patriarchal decision making, nationalism and religion collide with Iranian theocracy. The right to pursue life and survival are nonetheless sacrosanct. The film moves us because Azim is amongst us, in our society, within each of us. How do you live with death, when does life end, how far are you willing to go for what and who is holy to you? The path to the end of life can only be taken, when we hold on to one another in love and let each other go in love.

Dr. Michael Kötz, Mirko Klein (jury), Gönül Dönmez-Colin, Dr. Guido Convents (jury),
Lothar Strüber (jury), Alexander Bothe (jury) & Arielle Domon (jury)

Special Mention
The film takes place amongst the Inuit, who across generations are still traumatized by the forced assimilations of the past. This is a story based on actual events, of a non-Inuit, a white teacher who is full of illusions, and whose theoretical teaching ethos is confronted with the unusually high number of suicides amongst young Inuits in particular. Everything in his classroom changes as he introduces Lacrosse as part of the curriculum, a sport that historically helped settle differences between Native American tribes. With this change and through the values of the sport, pupils are able to find a way out for themselves, towards respect for the essentials in their traditional values of family and community.

An honorable mention of the Ecumenical Jury of the 68th International Film Festival Mannheim-Heidelberg goes to “THE GRIZZLIES” by Miranda de Pencier.


The International Film Critics Prize
awarded by the FIPRESCI-jury – Robert Horton, Alexandra Porshneva and Marc Hairapetian  – goes to


This is the most cinematically confident film we saw here. The Japanese director Kentaro creates a mix of genres, displaying a commend of all the aspects of cinematography, story, acting, music and the spectacular sound design. The film is specific to its Mongolian setting, but it illuminates the universal issues of connection and return to roots.

Dr. Michael Kötz, Robert Horton (jury), Marc Hairapetian (jury), Alexandra Porshneva (jury), Kazz Kitaki (producer), KENTARO (director), Masanori Yamamoto (executive producer), Yuya Yagira (actor) & Tsuyoshi Chino (executive producer)


for a movie from the competition, which should be released in german cinemas. Jury: Elke & Werner Hoffmann (Zoom Cinema Brühl), Lina Winkler (Kinowelt Diessen am Ammersee), Steffen Jurk (Cinema in the roof, Dresden) & Melanie Hoffmann (cinema cult e.V., Ludwigsburg)

THE GRIZZLIES by Miranda de Pencier, Canada

You can’t get much further North. To help adolescents overcome their lack of perspective unusual answers are searched for: A strong team, self-confidence and fun without the dulling effects of alcohol. From the film’s opening moments, the Grizzlies – the first Inuit Lacrosse team– manage to enthral us and command our empathy, through moving scenes, strong characters, a fast soundtrack and elegant cinematography.

ON THE ROOF by Jiri Madl, Czech Republic

Does an illegal immigrant ever stand a real chance of integration in a foreign country? In this film: yes – with the help of a retired old-school professor who does not shy away from using unconventionally pragmatic measures. With a lot of humour and a generous portion of humanity, the Czech director of “On the Roof” narrates his own version of international communication and understanding.

GOOD MORNING SON by Sharon Bar Ziv, Israel

A family living in a minimal space has to overcome a heavy blow dealt by faith. The smallest details can make all the difference, like witnessing the opening of the son’s eyes as he slowly wakes. In this chamber piece “Good Morning Son” Sharon Bar Ziv masterfully manages to allow us to perceive life in a mirror of society with all its conflicts, but also to truly feel it in its cheerful moments.