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.

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 Best Script Award.

The international jury honours the best directorial work of the respective year with the International Newcomer Award. In doing so, it celebrates the strongest work and the directorial talent that becomes visible in it.

The Best Script Award is presented by the international jury to the authors of the best script of a film in the competition. It honours the aspects of the script that become tangible in the film, such as the development of the dramaturgy, the dialogues, the arrangement of the characters or the form in which motifs and questions arise.


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.

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.

Student Jury

Five 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 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.