Czech film On the Roof won the main prize at IFF Mannheim-Heidelberg

25 November 2019

Czech Film

Czech film On the Roof won the main prize at IFF Mannheim-Heidelberg

Czech Film

Czech film On the Roof won the main prize at IFF Mannheim-Heidelberg


The film On the Roof by Jiří Mádl won the Grand Newcomer Award at the International Film Festival Mannheim-Heidlberg.

One of the oldest film festivals in Germany, Mannheim-Heidlberg has long focused on the work of talented young filmmakers and many directors who later became big names presented their early work there, among them Wim Wenders, Jim Jarmusch, Atom Egoyan, and Thomas Vinterberg.

This year, it was the audiences themselves who decided which films would get the festival’s main prizes. All of the films enjoyed a lot of viewer interest, with screenings attended by more than 40,000 people in total.

“I was very pleased to receive the award. It’s an award from audiences that have seen a lot. And I’m especially happy that it’s from Germany. That’s a country that is culturally close to us and I admit, I would love to work there someday as a filmmaker or as an actor,” says writer-director Jiří Mádl on the success of his film On the Roof and his pleasure at how local audiences understood it. This would seem to back up the universality of the film’s story about the need for human solidarity, particularly in moments when one finds themselves on the brink.

“I was pleasantly surprised in particular by how many people came to see our film and that it became such a festival hit. The rather low attendance in the Czech Republic has been disappointing, so maybe it was all the more heartening to see the crowds pouring into the cinema. Even the screening that started at 10:15 pm has a lot of viewers. But in fairness, festival-goers in Mannheim and Heidelberg love international film, they go to see that, not only our film. And the festival is a tradition for them, something they look forward to like Christmas. It’s incredible what that festival has accomplished over the years. They have a loyal, knowledgeable, and most importantly, large audience – it’s lovely,” says Jiří Mádl, recapping his experiences.

In addition to the Grand Newcomer Award, the makers of On the Roof also left Mannheim-Heidelberg with Empfehlung der Kinobetriber award, which is bestowed by cinema operators and is an important signal for buyers and distributors, confirming a film’s potential among audiences.

On the Roof has also earned accolades from the Czech organization NASK (Novoborská akademie spojených kinematografií), which awarded it Best Film of 2018/2019 while naming leading man Alois Švehlík best actor. For this performance, Švehlík also won innogy’s Blue Cube, which the company awards at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, where On the Roof also placed third in the Právo Viewers’ Award.

The film premiered earlier this year in Czech cinemas and played at Karlovy Vary IFF, Denver IFF or Leiden IFF. The film was produced by Monika Kristlová from Dawson Films in co-production with Slovak Hitchhiker Cinema, Czech Television, Barrandov Studio, Radio and Television Slovakia, Innogy and Investito. On the Roof was supported by Czech Film Fund, Creative Europe – MEDIA, Slovak Audiovisual Fund, Slovak Ministry of Culture and Prague Film Fund.


On the Roof

Set in Prague, while the same story may easily take place in any European or North American city that attracts immigrants and is big enough to shelter stories we never get to know. Song, a 20-year-old Vietnamese, hoped for a…


Jiří Mádl






Jiří Mádl

Cast, Writer, Director, Story
Czech Republic

Czech Film Center

Národní 28, 110 00 Praha 1
Česká republika


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