As part of its 70th anniversary, the International Film Festival Mannheim-Heidelberg (IFFMH) is presenting its new Grand IFFMH Award for the first time, honoring two filmmakers at the top of their game, Andrea Arnold and Guillaume Nicloux. IFFMH will also pay tribute to producer Bettina Brokemper and director Claude Lelouch with Homages.
All four will be on hand for this year’s festival, where they will hold masterclasses and discuss their work.
“This year we’re trying to find a balance between tradition and innovation, so with our Homage we are paying tribute to the tradition of cinema with Lelouch, and radical cinema, which Lelouch has done and which Brokemper is also producing,” says IFFMH director Sascha Keilholz.
Keilholz described Brokemper “one of the most important German producers,” in part for her ability to find different solutions to make different types of films. She does not limit herself to only working within the confines of Germany’s funding system, which includes federal and regional funders and television broadcasters, he adds.
“She has also been the German co-producer of all the Lars von Trier films over the last 20 years, really making her one of the most important European producers as well.”
As part of the Homage lineup, IFFMH will screen a number of Brokemper’s productions, including Margarethe von Trotta’s “Hannah Arendt,” Jan Bonny’s “Germany. A Winter’s Tale” and von Trier’s “Antichrist.”
Keilholz likewise named Lelouch one of the most significant living directors. “We’re really happy that he wanted to come here.”
In addition to Lelouch works like “A Man and a Woman,” “Love Is a Funny Thing” and “Bolero,” the festival will also have the international premiere of the director’s latest – and 50th – work, “Love Is Better Than Life,” as its closing film.
While the Homage prize is seen as IFFMH’s lifetime achievement award, the new Grand IFFMH Award honors the ongoing work of filmmakers who are perhaps less known internationally but who continue to have an impact on cinema, like Arnold and Nicloux.
The Grand IFFMH Award celebrates filmmakers who are maybe in the middle of their careers, or the first half, explains Frédéric Jaeger, IFFMH’s head of program. “Guillaume Nicloux has already made quite a few films but he still needs to be seen much more, especially in Germany, where he’s not that well known. It’s a really particular voice and perspective on cinema and something very contemporary too.”
In announcing Nicloux as one of the recipients of the new prize, the festival said the French director’s work was “as diverse as it is radical,” noting that he “repeatedly takes on the most varied of genres and transcends them.”
The fest will present Nicloux’s 2018 Indochina War drama “To the Ends of the World” as part of the Homage lineup.
“And Andrea has made five feature films – she is still one of the most original voices in cinema right now,” Keilholz adds. “Her new documentary ‘Cow,’ which premiered in Cannes, is really one of the films of the year, so we thought this is a good time to present her with this award.”
The fest will screen Arnold’s 2009 drama “Fish Tank” as well as “Cow,” which unspools in the Pushing Boundaries sidebar.