The IFFMH specialises in discovering new talented directors each year.
The filmmakers who showed their early work in Mannheim-Heidelberg include François Truffaut, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Wim Wenders, Jim Jarmusch, Angela Schanelec, Atom Egoyan, Thomas Vinterberg, Derek Cianfrance, Hong Sang-soo and Guillaume Nicloux.

The IFFMH celebrates innovation as well as narrative and aesthetic courage. It stands for new experiences. The festival acts as a compass and a trend scout, discovering new talents and presenting visionaries, opening up horizons and revitalising the historical. The IFFMH creates a social experience context. As a mediator and networker of different cultural scenes, the IFFMH creates spaces for exchange between filmmakers and audiences.