Tegernsee Mountain Film Festival 2011 - Jury Statements 22/10/11

9. Tegernsee International Mountain Film Festival 2011
Jury Statements

Members of the jury:
Sarah Senn-Hauser – CH | Ingrid Runggaldier – I | Françoise Guais –F | John
Porter – GB | Hans-Martin Götz – D.

„Großer Preis der Stadt Tegernsee“ (Great Prize of the City of Tegernsee)
"Voyage au bout de l’hiver"
Director: Anne and Erik Lapied; Lapiedfilm, France

At first we thought that 76 minutes might be a bit long for a nature film. Even the most impressive images might become boring after a while. – But no. The images in this film are entirely beautiful, well framed, surprising. Most of all we get to experience with Anne and Erik Lapied their long autumn and winter at the foot of the Gran Paradiso in Italy. Since they enjoy talking about their photographic and camera work, we come to understand just how patient and humble one has to be to go filming nature. They allow us to share in their passion. From day to day we experience nature’s transformation, the gradual changes among animals and humans. When the snow finally arrives,
when avalanches isolate the small hamlet, we seize to be spectators; we have arrived in the heart of the story.

Prize of the German Alpine Club (DAV) – Prize in the Category “Mountain Experience”
"Alone on the Wall"
Director: Peter Mortimer/Nick Rosen, USA

“Alone on the Wall” convinces us with its uncompromising narration. While eye-witnesses are busy justifying the lawfulness of his actions, young climbing celebrity Alex Honnold already moves on to their execution: during two climbing trips to the Utah desert and to the Californian climbing Mecca of the Yosemite Valley. And how he goes at it! Climbing history presents many predecessors, also in the European arena, such as Alex Huber at Cima Grande, or possibly even more impressively, Hansjörg Auer in “Weg durch den Fisch” (Path through the Fish). However, Peter Mortimer’s film gives the phenomenon of being “alone on the wall” its most adequate expression. No attention-seeking cinematography, but this one nerve-wrecking instance of Alex straightening himself up on the hand’s width of the Thanks God Ledge – in midst of the Half Dome’s sheer rock face. This brings us to the core of Alex Honnold’s life story. Director, friends, family and the humble main character have woven a web of trust to the audience. It is only thanks to our trust in Alex’s ability that we do not have to leave the screening venue bathed in sweat.

Prize in the Category “Mountain Nature
Sulle tracce dei ghiacciai" (On the Trails of the Glaciers)
Director: Massimiliano Sbrolla, Paolo Aralla, Italy

Our climate is changing, our glaciers are melting. That much we know. This passionate film sets out to gather the evidence. Fluid camera work, a lively commentary and a dynamic montage of images characterise this impassioned documentary. One hundred years after the Duke of the Abruzzi we follow a scientific team to the Baltoro Glacier in Pakistan’s Karakoram Range. The comparison of old and new panoramic photos highlights the changes undergone
by the glaciers. A lucid demonstration that anyone can follow.

Prize in the Category “Mountain Life" 
Summer Pasture” 
Director: Lynn True, Nelson Walker, Tsering Perlo, USA

“Summer Pasture” is awarded the prize in the category “Mountain Life”, although it is a film about life in the steppe of the Tibetan high plain, meaning that mountains do not play any immediate role. However, this film produced by two Americans grants us insights via epic and intense images into the everyday life of a small Tibetan/Chinese family. Living as nomads in one of China’s most remote areas, these people lead a life that is at once traditional and endangered. Intense, but never intrusive camera work allows us to participate in quotidian joys and woes. Extraordinary sympathy only becomes possible through the involvement of a Tibetan film maker: this cooperation is also proof of accelerated development in all areas of our globalized society. A film that moves on a very human level
thus becomes a political statement.

Prize in the Extra Category “Water in the Mountains"
Die Traun – ein Fluss wie ein Kristall” (The Traun – a River Like a Crystal)
Director: Klaus Feichtenberger/Erich Pröll, ORF Universum HNU, Austria

This well-researched documentary by Klaus Feichtenberger and Erich Pröll shows how the element of water makes its path through the glaciers and caves of the Salzkammergut. The journey takes us from Lake Kammersee, where the Traun originates, through the seasons and through its thousand years of history. A sophisticated film that presents impressive images and reflects all facets of a river. With great intuition it documents life around and under its water.

Prize for the Best Entry by a Junior Film Maker – Otto-Guggenbichler-Nachwuchspreis
Vertical Sailing Greenland"
Director: Seán Villanueva O’Driscoll, Belgium

Adventure and humour go well together.  Laughter is usually the sign that a team is working well together. It relieves the tedium of long journeys and hardship. Too often we encounter expedition films that take the experiences far too seriously. New filmmakers rarely make this mistake, perhaps that is because they are making films about the climbs, rather than climbing only to make a film. This expedition also won the coveted Piolet d’Or for the extreme nature of the adventure. The winning film in the best New Filmmaker category is a rollicking tale of four climbers seeking adventure on the high seas and vertical walls under the half watchful, half disbelieving eyes of Captain Bob. The jury appreciated the opportunity to laugh together, but also were impressed by skilful editing and production.

Award for Best Camera
"Trou de Fer" (Iron Hole)
Director: Pavol Barabáš; K2 Studio, Slovakia

Pavol Barabáš from Slovakia takes us on a spectacular tour into the unknown. Here, cinematography makes us feel as if we ourselves were on a trip down the wet and warm, endlessly slippery descent into the deepest canyon of Réunion island. We get an atmospheric close-up of a surreal world; Pavol Barabaš not only manages to produce great images under extreme conditions that demand outrageous stamina, but also to hold on to the golden narrative thread of this long tour far off the beaten track. This great achievement deserves the prize for best camera.

Award for the Most Convincing Portrayal of Landscape
"Wildes Deutschland – Die Berchtesgadener Alpen" (Wild Germany – the Berchtesgarden Alps)
Director: Jan Haft, nautilusfilm GmbH, Germany

The authors manage to present the superficially well-known theme of homeland nature in a new and exciting fashion. The film is much more than a mere succession of beautiful images. Its lively and at times comical combinations of sound and imag as well as astute and patient camera work carry viewers off into the thrilling animal and plant kingdom of the Berchtesgarden Alps. We make our entry both respectfully and fondly into this wild world:
chamois, marmot, burbot & Co. are not presented as mere objects of scrutiny, but act as protagonists. We – the audience – become privileged spectators of events.

Special Jury Award for the ‘Exceptional Film’
A Sleepless Night"
Director: Samuel Tilman, Belgium

Fictional dramas rarely capture the emotions of mountain adventure. They tend to focus on the false heroic or the physical hardships as imagined by those who have not experienced them.  When tragedy occurs, the media often scrutinises the story in ways that attempt to uncover some human failing or folly. One film in competition, however, sets a new standard on how we might see and react to those caught up in fatalities in the mountains. This is an exceptionally well constructed and conceived short drama with hidden depths. 

Honorable Mention
"Das zweite Leben des Tal Niv " (The Second Life of Tal Niv)
Director: Tom Dauer, Germany

This film narrates the story of Israeli mountain guide Tal Niv, who lives and works in Southern Germany, in the Allgäu. The world’s mountains have become his home. The film convinces especially because of the protagonist’s fascinating personality, but also because it grants insights into interesting aspects of Alpinism. It casts an unusual glance at the often cliché-ridden issue of Israel. We understand his decision by exploring the perspectives of his friends and family in Israel and Germany.


Honorable Mention
"The Boy MIR – 10 Years in Afghanistan"
Director: Phil Grabsky, Seven Art Productions, Great Britain/Germany

Script writer Phil Grabsky and his team conducted a long-term study over ten years, accompanying little Mir, who within that stretch of time grew into a young man. The film documents the strains of Mir’s everyday life in a war-ridden country. It tells us about his dreams and plans for the future – but mostly about a fatal situation, where there seems to be no chance to escape hopelessness, poverty, disenfranchisement and subordination. The way in which the film team managed to carry out such a long-term project under terribly difficult conditions impressed the jury very much.