Scandinavian cinema dominated the awards at the 50th edition of the International Mannheim-Heidelberg Film Festival in Germany (November 8-17).
The Art of Film Award for Best Fiction Feature Film went to Danish filmmaker Tomas Gislason's P.O.V. (Point of View), while Norwegian Erik Smith Meyer received the Award in the Best Short Film category for his seven-minute comedy Sveits (Switzerland). Denmark also provided the winners for the Rainer Werner Fassbinder Prize - Jonas Elmer for his Monas Verden (Mona's World) - and for the Ecumenical Jury Prize - to Ole Christian Madsen for his En Kaerligedshistorie (Kira's Reason - A Love Story).
Meanwhile, the newly established "Essays and Documents" jury selected Argentinian Ulises Rosell's Bonanza as the Best Documentary from the competition line-up of seven titles.
The international jury, whose members were directors Vera Chytilova (Czech Republic), Henning Carlsen (Denmark), Peter Lilienthal (Germany), Swedish film buyer Willmar Andersson and former broadcaster Eckart Stein, gave its Special Award to Lukas Nola from Croatia for Nebo Sateliti (Skies Satellites) and made Special Mentions of Assaf Bernstein's Run (Israel) and Polish director Lukasz Barczyk's Patrze, Na Ciebie, Marysiu (I'm Looking At You, Mary).
The Audience Award went to the documentary Absolut Warhola by Polish-born Stanislaw Mucha while the FIPRESCI prize went to John Williams' Ichiban Ustukushii Natsu (Firefly Dreams) and made Special Mention of Lukas Barczyk's film.
In addition, a jury of German exhibitors announced its recommendation of four titles for theatrical release in Germany: Peter Naess' Elling, Ole Christian Madsen's Kira's Reason, Pierre-Alain Meier's Thelma (Switzerland) and John Williams' Firefly Dreams.
Summing up this year's jubilee edition, festival director Michael Koetz announced that admissions were expected to be 10% above last year's 60,000 total with many screenings complete sell-outs.
'Mannheim Meetings' considers European arthouse distribution, co-production
The parallel industry events of the Mannheim Meetings co-production forum and the New Film Market were joined this year by the "Art of Distribution" conference which brought together distributors from Germany, France, the UK, Croatia, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia and Greece to take stock of the current situation of of arthouse distrubution in Europe.
Meanwhile, the Mannheim Meetings focused on discussions with 50 potential co-producers on 64 film projects from 33 countries with a total production volume of $93m. According to Koetz, Malgorzata Szumowska's Strangers (Poland), the Michael Nyman opera adaptation Facing Goya, Lucia and Esteban Puenzo's The Invisibles (Argentina) and Andrea Seligmann's Ana (Brazil) are among the projects with a strong chance of having found a partner in Mannheim.
In addition, it is understood that Germany's Arsenal Film is interested in acquiring Elling and Kira's Reason while Czech distrubutor SPI International is reportedly looking to pick up the festival's main prize-winner P.O.V. for selected East European territories.