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69th IFFMH (November 19 to 22): The Programme

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The programme of the 69th IFFMH is complete. The International Filmfestival Mannheim-Heidelberg (IFFMH) will take place from November 12 to 18, 2020 in cinemas in both cities. Immediately afterwards, from November 19 to 22, 2020, the Festival will be extended online for the first time on the online service IFFMH EXPANDED, in cooperation with Festival Scope and Shift72 ( – presales starting on October 28).

The selection of films benefits from submissions from 86 countries: “In this year, which is complex in every respect and which also poses great challenges for the IFFMH, we have succeeded in putting together a programme that illustrates the demands and ambitions of the Festival as well as its passion and internationality,” says Festival Director Dr. Sascha Keilholz.

Photo: Beginning | © Wild Bunch International

In the competition ON THE RISE, endowed with new monetary prizes, 14 films from 16 countries will be screened in Germany for the first time, half of them directed by women. 11 of the competition entries are the feature debuts of their respective directors. In addition to the focus on debuts, also reflected in the choice of The Death of Cinema and My Father Too as the opening film, the new section PUSHING THE BOUNDARIES guarantees a reunion with established auteurs and earlier discoveries from the history of the Festival. “The return of filmmakers such as Hong Sangsoo, Frederick Wiseman and Jacques Doillon for us represents the fact that tradition and a yearning for innovation belong together at the IFFMH,” says Frédéric Jaeger, the Festival’s Head of Programme.

In the entire programme, a feminist thread runs across the sections. Films such as Enormous, High Tide and Tragic Jungle adopt singularly female perspectives both in front of and behind the camera, bringing gender conventions under remarkable scrutiny. Here the “male gaze” is exposed and ironically broken, and gender constellations are envisaged anew. In Fanny Lye Deliver'd, the birth of feminism is given a martial introduction as beguiling as it is disturbing. Longing Souls from Colombia and Mum, Mum, Mum from Argentina focus on two exclusively female communities, with the latter film produced by an all-female film team.



The RETROSPECTIVE Le Deuxième Souffle – The Second Generation 1968-83 echoes in the other sections through various French contributions. Gold for Dogs by the talented newcomer Anna Cazenave Cambet and À l'Abordage by the unique Guillaume Brac trace opposite movements initiated by the same impetus: in the first, Esther pursues her summer love from the south to Paris; in the other, Félix pursues his summer love from Paris to the south. Both films, characterised by their sincerity towards their young characters, brim with a timeless humanism.



Love Affair(s) and Home Front demonstrate the fascinating diversity of contemporary francophone cinema. The two auteurs Emmanuel Mouret and Lucas Belvaux have succeeded in crossing unusual and unexpected genre boundaries. While one approaches the love drama as a battle of words and as an erotic roundelay, the other turns the war film into a fascinating study of trauma.



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Gold for Dogs | © WTFilms



Among the already controversial and widely discussed titles of the festival season are Una Promessa by the De Serio brothers and Beginning by Dea Kulumbegashvili. The De Serios dare a harsh contemporary reinterpretation of Italian neorealism, while the Georgian film turns out to be a fascinating study of fanaticism in a specific milieu: a community of Jehovah's Witnesses. Here, too, the director dares to take an unusual look at female desire, telling a thoroughly provocative story of radical emancipation. 



The programme of the 69th International Film Festival Mannheim-Heidelberg is made possible by the generous support of its sponsors.



“Despite a difficult point of departure, the film festival with the oldest and richest tradition in our state, under the new leadership of Dr. Sascha Keilholz, is holding on to its high quality standards,” emphasises Minister of Arts Theresia Bauer. “With a healthy combination of the proven, the new and the current, Sascha Keilholz’s signature is clearly visible. I am confident that with his innovative ideas and a fresh perspective, he will initiate important stimuli for the future.”



Dr. Peter Kurz, Lord Mayor of the City of Mannheim, is “pleased that the team around Dr. Sascha Keilholz has succeeded against all odds in putting together an attractive programme for 2020. I very much look forward to experiencing the IFFMH this year both on site in the cinemas and online!” 

Professor Dr. Eckart Würzner, Lord Mayor of the City of Heidelberg, said: “I am looking forward to a top-class programme with many innovations and to the strong presence of the Festival in both Heidelberg and Mannheim. The IFFMH enjoys an outstanding national and international reputation as an artistically significant home for young and innovative cinema by young filmmakers from all over the world. The fact that this Festival programme is possible even under difficult pandemic conditions and that a dialogue with the audience is made possible is essential for the cultural vitality of our region, especially now.” 

“Having given the Festival an important foundation by changing its legal form to a gGmbH, we are full of anticipation for the 69th edition under new leadership. The promising new orientation in terms of content and organisation in this complicated year nevertheless allows us to look positively towards the anniversary year 2021, in which the festival can hopefully take place under normal conditions again,” says Michael Grötsch, Cultural Mayor of the City of Mannheim and Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the gGmbH.

Dr. Joachim Gerner, Cultural Mayor of the City of Heidelberg, adds: “Not only as Cultural Mayor, but also as a former filmmaker, I am delighted that the IFFMH has succeeded in bringing the latest festival highlights from Venice, Toronto and San Sebastián to the region as German premieres. Supplemented by further discoveries, family films and insights into film history, this is a diverse programme that fuels one’s enthusiasm for cinema.”

The IFFMH takes place in accordance with the current hygiene and distancing regulations of the country.

A list of all the films of the 69th IFFMH can be found here:



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