Our winning films have been chosen

We proudly present this year's award winners

During our festive Award Ceremony at the Luxor Filmpalast in Heidelberg, we have just announced this year's winning films of the 71st IFFMH. A wonderful milestone of an already memorable festival! And it was not only our juries who had their say: the Lord Mayor of Mannheim, Peter Kurz, the Head of Department in the MWK of the State of Baden-Württemberg, Marc Grün, as well as the Lord Mayor of Heidelberg, Prof. Dr. Eckart Würzner, were also guests and did us the honour with their speeches.

Despite their diversity, the films honoured at this year's festival are characterised by a deeply humane and empathetic view of their protagonists. Our main prize of 30,000 euros goes to 'You Won't Be Alone' by Australian director Goran Stolevski, a symphonically composed masterpiece of poetic beauty and touching power. A total of five prizes were awarded by four juries in our ON THE RISE competition. In addition, there is the Audience Award worth 5,000 euros, which you decided on with your vote. There were 16 international first and second films by outstanding directorial talents to choose from.

We would like to congratulate all the award winners. Festival director Dr. Sascha Keilholz addresses the jurors directly: "Many thanks to the juries, who have dedicated themselves to the different films, approaches and energies with passion and esprit". And Frédéric Jaeger, head of programme organisation, joins him: "On the way to the cinemas in Heidelberg and Mannheim, the twelve members of the juries laughed a lot about the challenge of agreeing on prize winners. A good sign! We didn't want to make it easy for them. In the end, things got heated because everyone fought for their positions and favourites. Just like in the films, the discussions of the juries also focused on different aspects: sometimes the political, sometimes the emotional and sometimes the form. Our audience can get a picture of this diversity for themselves again over the next three days, as we repeat all 16 competition films."

Of course, we don't want to withhold the results of the lively debates, the juries' reasons - so let's raise the curtain on our winners!

Jury Members: Christoph Bach, Antoinette Boulat, Mohsen Makhmalbaf

International Newcomer Award - Best Director (30,000 euros).
'You Won't Be Alone'
Director: Goran Stolevski (Australia, United Kingdom, Serbia)
The jury's statement: "The International Newcomer Award for the best film of the 71st International Film Festival Mannheim Heidelberg goes to a deeply humane film that expands the boundaries of cinema. Through the retelling of a myth, it confronts us in an unexpected way with fundamental questions of gender and identity. The award goes to 'You Won't Be Alone' by Goran Stolevski."
The International Newcomer Award, main prize of the IFFMH, is sponsored by the Manfred Lautenschläger Foundation.
Rainer Werner Fassbinder Award - Best Screenplay (10,000 euros).
Screenplay: Youssef Chebbi (also director), François-Michel Allegrini
The jury's statement: "The Rainer Werner Fassbinder Award for Best Screenplay goes to a film that creates a cinematographic metaphor from the image of a worker who set himself on fire for freedom in Tunisia. The award goes to Youssef Chebbi and François-Michel Allegrini for 'Ashkal'."
The Rainer Werner Fassbinder Award, Screenplay Prize in Competition at the IFFMH, is sponsored by the Rainer Werner Fassbinder Foundation.
Honorable Mention:
'Wolf and Dog' (original title: 'Lobo e Cão'), assigned to the International Newcomer Award.
Screenplay: Cláudia Varejão
Jury statement: "An honourable mention goes to a film that brings the light of freedom out of the darkness of the taboos that dominate a traditional society. The honourable mention goes to 'Wolf and Dog' by Cláudia Varejão."
'The Maiden'
Written and directed by Graham Foy (Canada), assigned to the Rainer Werner Fassbinder Award.
Jury statement: "An honourable mention goes to a film whose profound cinematic expression reveals the fragility of friendship. The honourable mention goes to 'The Maiden' by Graham Foy."

Jury members: Augustín Acevedo Kanopa, Jerôme d'Estais, Veronika Zakonjšek
The Maiden
Director: Graham Foy (Canada)
Jury statement: "For its gentle yet powerful performance and the immersive power of its grainy 16-millimetre shots, which sketch a world where realism and urban mysticism intermingle, the FIPRESCI Award goes to 'The Maiden' by Graham Foy."

Jury members: Chantal Laroche-Poupard, Bärbel Mauch, Dr. Péter Muszatics
Ecumenical Award (2,500 euros).
'Valeria is Getting Married' (Original title: 'Valeria Mithatenet')
Director: Michal Vinik (Israel, Ukraine)
The jury's statement: "What happens in this film and why unfolds in a whirlwind, brilliantly constructed, written and directed drama that also has humorous moments. It is a chamber play in the best sense, in which not only interests and emotions collide, but also countries. Is freedom possibly more important than the comfortable life in an arranged marriage? The director observes her protagonists* full of clairvoyance and tenderness, especially the sibling bond of two women seeking emancipation between two countries, Israel and Ukraine."
Honorable mention:
'The Dam' (original title: 'Al-Sadd')
Director: Ali Cherri
Jury's Explanation: The Jury's Explanation in Excerpt: "While revolution is rampant in Khartoum, the film's protagonist undergoes his inner revolution in a grandiose and brightly lit landscape, which the director translates into universal symbols: water purifies, fire embraces, and earth reminds us of the human condition. Honourable mention goes to 'The Dam' by Ali Cherri."
The Ecumenical Award prize money is donated by INTERFILM and SIGNIS.

Jury members: Munir Manuel Nolte, Klaudia Rzeźniczak, Natascha Stogu
Student Award (5,000 euros)
'The Maiden'
Director: Graham Foy (Canada)
Excerpt from the jury's statement: "(...) Our choice was for a film full of sad, quiet beauty that deals with friendship, encounters with death and coming to terms with grief in a sensitive, pure way. A film full of strong symbolism that subtly directs the viewer's gaze. We were particularly engaged by the transition from the initially documentary effect to the later mystical undertone. (...) The director has let the images speak, he has given the things time to speak for themselves. (...) Congratulations to Graham Foy and the team of 'The Maiden'!"

Audience Award (5,000 euros)
'Joyland' (Pakistan)
Director: Saim Sadiq
You have given the Audience Award to a film that takes you into the nightlife of Lahore, where rigid social conventions are shaken. An epic, freedom-loving and socially critical film, whose artfully designed images pulsate with deep colours and which convinced you with its empathetic view of people. The IFFMH team is delighted with your decision and thanks everyone who voted.

During this year's IFFMH Award Ceremony, the Siegfried Kracauer Prize for Best Film Criticism and a scholarship were awarded. The prize was awarded to David Hugendick, literary editor at Zeit online. The scholarship was awarded to Dr. Morticia Zschiesche, film scholar, publicist and sociologist.

And please remember: As our programme director Fréderic Jaeger said, you can catch up on all our award-winning films until the end of the festival or, if you like, experience them again.

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