February 24, 2021

My Mexican Bretzel wins the International Filmfestival Mannheim-Heidelberg


– Spanish director Nuria Giménez Lorang’s first feature has been handed the International Newcomer Award for Best Director at this year’s German gathering, the first under new management

My Mexican Bretzel wins the International Filmfestival Mannheim-Heidelberg

My Mexican Bretzel by Nuria Giménez Lorang

The first edition of the International Filmfestival Mannheim-Heidelberg (12-22 November) under new management (see the interview) presented a diverse programme of international film productions across its various sections. Founded in 1952, and therefore boasting a tradition nearly as long as that of the Berlinale, the festival sees itself as “a mediator and networker of different cultural scenes”, always searching for the newest directing talents. This year, the gathering went online owing to the coronavirus-related closure of the cinemas in Germany.

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The 14 films in the main “On the Rise” competition were competing for six awards and were judged by four different juries as well as the public. The films were first, second or third movies by directors at the beginning of their careers. A jury of three, including film critic Jessica Kiang from Variety, German film director Jan Bonny (A Winter’s Tale [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
), and film curator and producer Mathilde Henrot, handed the International Newcomer Award for Best Director to Spaniard Nuria Giménez Lorang for her experimental, essayistic docu-fiction My Mexican Bretzel [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
. The prize money of €25,000 thus went to the film that, without a doubt, used the most daring form. Giménez Lorang made use of found-footage material from the 1940s, showing her grandparents, and an invented personal journal to craft a highly suggestive and unique essay. Or, as the jury put it, an “incredibly eccentric, entertaining debut film, which at the same time questions what a film is and what a film is allowed to do”. My Mexican Bretzel also won the FIPRESCI Award.

This year marked the first time that the festival gave out the Rainer Werner Fassbinder Award for Best Screenplay, complete with prize money of €10,000. It went to Single Cycle by Chinese director Zhang Qi, a debut feature with a melancholic character and enigmatic elements – and it was precisely this mysterious side that won over the jury. The award was presented in collaboration with the Rainer Werner Fassbinder Foundation and also came with two Special Mentions, which went to Come Closer by Saskia Walter and Ralf Walter from Germany, and Beginning [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Dea Kulumbegashvili
film profile
]
by Dea Kulumbegashvili, a Georgian-French co-production. The prize was created to also honour Fassbinder as an author, and not only as a director. Indeed, Fassbinder was one of the countless directing talents that were discovered during the festival’s history.

The Ecumenical Award, with total prize money of €5,000, went to the Italian-French-Belgian co-production Una promessa [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Gianluca and Massimiliano D…
film profile
]
by Gianluca and Massimiliano De Serio, a social drama about a father and son who have to start from scratch once Angela, respectively their wife and mother, dies. Side by side, they work in the fields and experience the brutality of an Italian landowner abusing his primarily refugee workers. The Special Mention was given to the Iranian drama The Slaughterhouse by Abbas Amini, which paints a similarly pessimistic portrait of an egoistic and violent society.

Finally, the Award of the Student Jury, which comes with €5,000, was given to Sabrina Doyle‘s Lorelei (USA). The drama is about a man who returns after a 15-year stretch in jail and meets his former girlfriend, with whom he starts up a new, but somehow toxic, relationship. The film also won the Audience Award, which comes with the same monetary amount of €5,000.

Here is the complete list of award winners at the International Filmfestival Mannheim-Heidelberg:

International Newcomer Award – Best Director
My Mexican Bretzel [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
– Nuria Giménez Lorang (Spain)

Rainer Werner Fassbinder Award – Best Screenplay
Single Cycle – Zhang Qi (China)
Special Mentions
Come Closer – Saskia Walker, Ralf Walker (Germany)
Beginning [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Dea Kulumbegashvili
film profile
]
– Dea Kulumbegashvili (Georgia/France)

FIPRESCI Award
My Mexican Bretzel – Nuria Giménez Lorang

Ecumenical Award
Una promessa [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Gianluca and Massimiliano D…
film profile
]
– Gianluca and Massimiliano De Serio (Italy/France/Belgium)
Special Mention
The Slaughterhouse – Abbas Amini (Iran)

Award of the Student Jury
Lorelei – Sabrina Doyle (USA)
Special Mention
Shithouse – Cooper Raiff (USA)

Audience Award
Lorelei – Sabrina Doyle

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