EXPANDED: Juries & Awards

In the international competition ON THE RISE, 18 fictional first to third feature films by outstanding directors compete for six prizes, awarded by four juries and the audience.

Watch the Award CeremonySee every winner

The Audience

All members of the audience at the International Film Festival Mannheim Heidelberg are invited to vote on the films in the competition. With their ratings they decide on the Audience Award.

The Audience Award will be given to the film in competition that receives the best ratings from the audience. The criteria for the selection – be it rational, emotional or aesthetic – are solely in the hands of the audience. The wisdom of the masses, also known as swarm intelligence, decides – the most popular film wins. The prize is endowed with €5,000.

International Jury

Three exceptional personalities of the international film industry – artists, creators and thinkers of cinema – award the two main prizes of the competition ON THE RISE: the International Newcomer Award and the Rainer Werner Fassbinder Award.

The International Newcomer Award, the main prize of the IFFMH, is endowed with €25,000 and funded by the Manfred Lautenschläger-Stiftung. The international jury awards this prize to the best directorial work of the respective year, honouring the strongest film and the talent for directing that it showcases.

The Rainer Werner Fassbinder Award for best screenplay is endowed with €10,000 and funded by the Festival. The international jury will award it to the authors of the best screenplay of a film in the competition, thus honouring the features of the screenplay realised in the film.

*The name forms "Fassbinder", "Rainer Werner Fassbinder" and "RWF" (as a word and logo) are registered trademarks of the Rainer Werner Fassbinder Foundation, Berlin.

Jessica Kiang

Jessica Kiang Jessica Kiang is an International Critic for Variety, covering festivals across Europe, Asia and North America. She also writes regularly for Sight & Sound, BC Culture and The Playlist, where she spent five years as Features Editor. She has served on festival juries from Iceland to Romania to Egypt and most recently was a judge of the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival Platform competition. She lives in Berlin – or at least, that’s where she keeps her stuff.

Jessica Kiang | © Jessica Kiang

Jan Bonny

His graduation film Gegenüber (2007) was nothing less than a sensation. With it, director Jan Bonny triumphed in Cannes, at the Munich International Film Festival and was nominated for the European Film Awards. His second feature film Germany. A Winter‘s Tale made its debut at the Locarno Film Festival. He also caused a stir with uncompromising TV productions such as the Polizeiruf episode Der Tod macht Engel aus uns allen or the psycho drama Über Barbarossaplatz.

Jan Bonny | © Jakob Beurle

Mathilde Henrot

Mathilde Henrot Mathilde Henrot is a film curator, producer and entrepreneur based in Paris, member of the selection committee of the Locarno Film Festival since 2018 and programmer for the Sarajevo Film Festival since 2012. In 2010, together with Alessandro Raja, she founded Festival Scope Pro, the online service for film professionals for on demand films from the most prestigious international film festivals. Since 2016 the duo has launched Festival Scope for the general audience and ArteKino together with ARTE.

Mathilde Henrot | © Mathilde Henrot


The jury of the Fédération Internationale de la Presse Cinématographique / International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI), consisting of three members, chooses the winner of the FIPRESCI Award in the international competition.

The FIPRESCI has been present in Mannheim (today Mannheim-Heidelberg) since 1960, which makes the IFFMH one of the first film festivals in the world where a jury of film critics was established.

The FIPRESCI Award for an outstanding film in the competition aims to support film-art and to encourage new and young cinema.

Dr. Christina Stojanova

Dr. Christina Stojanova teaches at: University of Regina, Canada
Member of: Quebec Film Critics Association
Publishes in Canadian and foreign (academic press)
Edited: The New Romanian Cinema

Dr. Christina Stojanova
© Regina daily newspaper, Leader Post

Shayan Riaz

Schayan Riaz contributes to German publications such as: Berliner Zeitung, Qantara.
Focuses on Arab and South Asian cinema
Was part of FIPRESCI jury at: Berlinale 2020

Shayan Riaz | © Loredana La Rocca

Ernesto Diezmartínez

Has been writing for newspapers and magazines such as: Reforma, Letras Libres
Teaches Cinema Studies in: Tecnológico de Monterrey
Juror at several international film festivals

Ernesto Diezmartínez
© Ernesto Diezmartínez

Ecumenical Jury

The Ecumenical Jury awards the Ecumenical Award in the international competition ON THE RISE. It consists of five members of the inter-church film networks INTERFILM and SIGNIS.

Mannheim is one of the first film festivals worldwide in which an ecclesiastical jury has been established: The ecclesiastical jury has been present at the film festival in Mannheim (and later in Mannheim-Heidelberg) since 1963, at first under the name of INTERFILM and since 1995 together with the Catholic partner organisation SIGNIS as the Ecumenical Jury.

The Ecumenical Award is given to a film in the competition that has exceptional artistic qualities, that lends expression to a human viewpoint corresponding with the message of the Scripture, or stimulates debate with the Biblical tradition and that makes audiences sensitive to spiritual, social and ethic values.

Gergely Hajnal

Chairs filmclubs, writes film reviews
Developed: Faludi Film Festival
Co-established: Szóts István Film Workshop
Works as: senior program manager (TV)

Gergely Hajnal | © Gergely Hajnal

Michael Kranzusch

Since 2004 Pastor in: Adendorf
Has been member of the editorial staff of: Kunstinfo – war
Has been member of: AK Kirche, Künste, Kultur
Co-Founder of: AK Kirche & Film
Jury member for INTERFILM in: Oberhausen, Lübeck

Michael Kranzusch | © Michael Kranzusch

Uta Losem

Legal advisor in the Commissariat of German Bishops, Catholic Office in Berlin
Responsible for: media (film) & culture
Member of the Catholic Film Commission for Germany

Uta Losem | © Uta Losem

Mina Radovic

Archivist, critic and doctoral researcher at: Goldsmiths, University of London
Founder and director of: Liberating Cinema UK
Contributes to journals and covers film festivals

Mina Radovic

Rianne Wijmenga-van Dijk

Teached at different universities & worked as a communication expert in politics
Currently fundraiser for: Netherlands Bible Society

Rianne Wijmenga-van Dijk
© NBG, Sandra Haverman

Student Jury

Three film-loving students from the region select the winner of the Award of the Student Jury in the international competition ON THE RISE.

The Award of the Student Jury is intended to make the perspective of students visible at the film festival and to go to the film with which the jurors have the most passionate connections. The prize is endowed with €5,000.

Sabrina Mertens

Studies directing since 2015 at: Filmakademie Baden Württemberg
Short films and debut feature Fellwechselzeit have been selected for multiple national and international festivals

Sabrina Mertens | © Sabrina Mertens

Nico Hagel

Studies media and communication at: Universität Mannheim
Preparing his bachelor’s thesis in film and television analysis – mehrmonatiges
Internship of serveral months at: ZDF

Nico Hagel | © Nico Hagel

Ruth Lang Fuentes

Studies mathematics at: Universität Heidelberg
Member of: Studentischer Filmclub Heidelberg
Attended courses on screenwriting, directing and film history at: Universidad Complutense de Madrid
Writes film reviews for: ruprecht, Ruthlessgirly

Ruth Lang Fuentes | © Ruth Lang Fuentes