The Chilean film-maker’s film will open the Mannheim-Heidelberg International Film Festival today (November 11) and runs until November 21.

Chilean film-maker Matias Bize’s intimate and minimalist story The Life Of Fish will open the 59th edition of the Mannheim-Heidelberg International Film Festival tonight (November 11).

Bize, who won Mannheim’s Rainer Werner Fassbinder Prize in 2003 for his debut Sabado, premiered his latest film in the Venice Days sidebar in September.

The 15 –strong competition line-up, selected by festival director Michael Kötz and his team, includes international premieres of Daniel Grou’s 10 1/2 (Canada) , Tomas Donela’s Farewell (Lithuania), Ahmet Boyacioglu’s Black And White (Turkey), and Maiju Ingman’s When The Day Is Done (Estonia), as well as European premieres of Sabrina Farji’s Eva Y Lola (Argentina) and Francois Delisle’s Twice A Woman (Canada).

Meanwhile, the competition will also host the world premiere of independent UK producer-director Marcel Grant’s Just Inès. The story of damage and hope stars Daniel Weyman and French actress Caroline Ducey.

The winners will be decided by a jury comprising film-maker Cynthia Beatt, director Clemens Klopfenstein and Warsaw Film Festival director Stefan Laudyn.

The International Discoveries sidebar includes the international premieres of films from Georgia, Aleko Tsabadze’s Renee Goes To Hollywood, and Turkey , A. Taner Elhan’s Love, Bitter, and the European premiere of Taiwanese director Wen-Pin Chen’s Everlasting Moments.

The festival will present its Film Culture Award to the East Berlin-based drama school Hochschule für Schauspielkunst ‘Ernst Busch’ - whose graduates include August Diehl, Devid Striesow, and Julia Jentsch; however it is not handing out the Master Of Cinema Award, which went to Atom Egoyam last year.

A new initiative called Festival Academy, which was to be launched this year and would have given invited film professionals and other guests of the festival an opportunity to meet and exchange experiences, has been postponed until next year.

Meanwhile, the Mannheim Meetings co-production market – which had been held annually since 1997 - has been re-invented this year under the new name of Mannheim Meeting Place to provide a forum for six start-up producers to pitch their projects to potential partners.

The four-day event – from November 17-20 –will also include a roundtable discussion about arthouse cinema and video on demand services; the nuts-and-bolts of digital theatrical distribution and a case study of the omnibus film Some Other Stories, which was pitched at the Mannheim Meetings in 2006 and is screening in International Discoveries.