Tegernsee Mountain Film Festival - Warmth in the Realm of Extremes 22/10/2011

9th Tegernsee International Mountain Film Festival

Warmth in the Realm of Extremes

During the 9th Tegernsee International Mountain Film Festival, screams for encores were only audible from the youngest audiences, at the children’s cinema. Yet all visitors were thrilled by the top-class programme, moving moments on the silver screen, moving inter-personal encounters and the festival’s warm-hearted atmosphere.

Jakob is no famous extreme climber, has not performed any outstanding deeds, nor does he live in the Himalaya. He was not cast for any great role; the film in which he appears received no prize. Still, the 6-year-old boy who lives on a simple Bavarian mountain farm now has 230 new friends – those who saw him in the film “Die Sennerin und ihr Sohn” (The Dairymaid and her Son).

The great stars in Tegernsee’s mostly packed screening venues are often the “Jakobs”, those who pop up, with surprising natural charm, in a seemingly unspectacular production; those who are never in the limelight
and who yet steal the scene from the official – and also artificial – spectacle.  In short: they are that extra something, that humanizing element during a festival often preoccupied with extremes.

“And that is very important to us,” emphasises the Mayor of Tegernsee Town, Peter Janssen. By now, screening techniques have been perfected, the festival runs smoothly, the programme is international, diverse
and of the highest quality. “However, what pleases me most is the way in which all participants feel at home during the festival. This personal warmth has not been sacrificed to perfectionism.”

One key element in ensuring this is Tegernsee’s small-town charm. Viewers and film makers, extreme alpinists and hikers, actors and volunteers cross paths. Many regulars are familiar with one another, the ice has been broken. Everybody seems to delight in this annual reunion at a time when the leaves take on a bright golden hue, when slanted sunrays sparkle on the lake and the mountains take their first, cool white distance. “A more beautiful place for a mountain film festival is hard to imagine,” states one director. She is not bothered by the fact that her film did not bag a prize. “The competition is too stiff. I am happy enough to see our film running in the festival at all.”

Also delighted are those festival visitors who managed to get tickets for the festival’s highlights – especially the German Alpine Club night who sold out in two venues and the final celebration. Word has gotten around that tickets may sell out quite quickly; no wonder that 3,700 of them were pre-sold. The seats that went the quickest were those at the children’s cinema. This has grown from a shy attempt into a smashing success: almost 500 little mountain film fans came to the children’s screenings. An audience trampling the ground with their feet and screaming for an  ncore: even in Tegernsee, this phenomenon is unique to the children’s cinema.