Grand Festival opening

with ›Diary of a Fleeting Affair‹ and guests from the film makers

We kicked off the 71st edition last night with a packed cinema hall, the Cinemaxx 10 in Mannheim. The welcoming speeches were held by festival director Dr. Sascha Keilholz, Mannheim mayor Michael Grötsch, Heidelberg mayor Wolfgang Erichson, state secretary Arne Braun and Carl Bergengruen from MFG. To our great delight, numerous representatives from culture, politics and business from the metropolitan region and the state of Baden-Württemberg were present.

We showed the German premiere of the light-footed, profound and surprising romantic comedy 'Diary of a Parisian Affair' by French director Emmanuel Mouret. From the film team, producer Frédéric Niedermayer and actors Georgia Scalliet and Vincent Macaigne did us the honour.

In his speech, Sascha Keilholz expressed the festival's self-image as an institution of mutual understanding. In this context, he particularly emphasised the openness to other cultures. Because the films from all over the world that we show at the IFFMH offer an insight into precisely that. In this spirit, Minister President Winfried Kretschmann had previously stated in his written greeting in the programme booklet about our festival: "The International Film Festival Mannheim-Heidelberg also makes a contribution to international understanding by opening horizons and widening the view for the most diverse cultures."

Furthermore, Sascha Keilholz referred to the very concrete political commitment of the IFFMH. Even though it is still far too little: thanks to our involvement, 60 cultural workers whose existence was threatened after the Taliban took power could be flown out of Afghanistan. The initiator of this relief action is the Iranian filmmaker, writer and human rights activist Mohsen Makhmalbaf. He was also in the cinema last night and is a member of our International Jury this year. It was a special and moving moment when Sascha Keilholz explicitly thanked Mr Makhmalbaf in his speech for his initiative. The audience expressed its respect with warm applause. Even before the Opening Night, we also published a note of solidarity with the protesters of the current revolution in Iran on our website and social media channels yesterday, 17 November.

The welcome of the film team as well as the lively film discussion following the screening again confirmed the greeting of Mannheim's Lord Mayor Peter Kurz, where he states: "Thanks to the encounters with international guests and the reflection with the directors, the team around Dr. Sascha Keilholz succeeds in creating the unique atmosphere of the Mannheim-Heidelberg International Film Festival."

Until 27 November, you have the opportunity to experience the diverse selection of films in our partner cinemas in Mannheim and Heidelberg. The partner cinemas in Mannheim are: the Cinema Quadrat, the Atlantis and the Cinemaxx. And in Heidelberg: the Gloria, the new Karlstorkino in Südstadt and the LUXOR-Filmpalast. In addition, for those interested who cannot travel to Mannheim-Heidelberg or come to the cinemas, there is the opportunity to see a selection of the films via our online service IFFMH Stream. We would like to thank the video-on-demand service provider Pantaflix for making this available. International guests are often present in the cinemas to talk to the audience. Don't miss this unique opportunity.

In addition to the 16 films by outstanding directorial talents in the ON THE RISE competition, innovative cinema by established directors will be shown in the PUSHING THE BOUNDARIES section. Furthermore, this year there will be the RETROSPEKTIVE "Cinema on Splendour - Fashion in Film", the KINDERFILMFEST and our cooperations with the Kunsthalle and the Nationaltheater Mannheim. There is also a wide range of supporting events. These include free panel discussions with international experts and two master classes, open discussions of works, with our guests of honour Alice Winocour and Benoît Debie. Because as Heidelberg's Lord Mayor Prof. Dr. Eckart Würzner explains: "Festival director Sascha Keilholz and his team have enriched the festival with new sections and they never tire of inspiring the film industry."

By the way: After the festive opening in the cinema hall, the international guests from the film team went to our festival lounge in the Stadthaus Mannheim afterwards. It was a happy and relaxed evening. And it will certainly continue like this on the next ten evenings!