Due to its focus exclusively on the work of new talents from Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Luxembourg, it is considered the most important newcomer film festival in the German-speaking world.
The cinema film as an audiovisual artistic narrative form is the focus of the festival. Due to its name, the film festival traditionally feels obliged not only to tie in with domestic film history, but especially to deal with politically and socially relevant topics. The eponym and Saarbrücken-born Max Ophüls (1902-1957) is considered one of the great European film directors of the 20th century. Born into a Jewish family, Max Oppenheimer had to flee from the National Socialists in 1933 and found refuge first in France and later in the USA. In the 1950s Max Ophüls returned to Europe.