PR04 Interview with the Mayor      20/10/2012

10th Tegernsee International Mountain Film Festival, 13 to 21 October 2012

Our most successful festival to date

This is already the 10th running of Tegernsee Town’s Mountain Film Festival. Mayor Peter Janssen looks back at its history of success, takes stock and dares a glance at the future.

How would you sum up your impressions of the 10th Tegernsee Mountain Film Festival?

The festival programme has obviously once again hit the nail on the head: we had over 7,000 visitors; 5,000 tickets were sold before the festival opened. This makes it the most successful festival to date.
It is great to see the enthusiasm catch on with both locals and guests from elsewhere.

Was the festival always this popular or did it need to earn its respect locally?
There was a certain sense of reserve at first, but this has given way to vast approval. I must also emphasise that from the start, more than 100 volunteers have helped out with great zest, most of them from the Tegernsee division of the German Alpine Club (Deutsche Alpenverein), and also from the Tegernsee Valley Video Club. Many of them actively support the festival year after year and have done so form the very first hour. Some ask their superiors well in advance whether they will again be allowed to help out at the following year’s festival.

What has surprised you most in the past ten years?
We thought that we had reached the limits of expansion. And yet, each new year contradicts this belief. To my mind, we have by now caught up with the great mountain film festivals around the globe. We have developed a beautiful hub for the mountain film scene and visitors each year look forward to meeting old acquaintances. Some of them haven’t missed a single one of the past ten festivals. They plan their holidays accordingly and take on arduous journeys. What makes me particularly happy this time round is the glorious weather, of course, which treats our jubilee to a magical backdrop.

What made this great story of success possible?
Firstly professionalism in terms of screening technology. And of course festival director Michael Pause’s idiosyncrasy as well as the expertise of Sigi Menzel, who is in charge of both artistic and technical aspects. Both work for Bavarian Public Broadcasting (Bayerischer Rundfunk), who support our endeavors. The Alpine competencies required for such a festival are provided by the German Alpine Club, our second main supporter. Our third pillar is Tegernsee Tourism (Tegernseer Tal Tourismus GmbH), in charge all touristic aspects. Add to that the fantastic organizational management provided by our festival office’s Helga Hobmeier and Birgit Halmbacher. But despite these many levels of professionalism, the festival has not lost any of its warm-heartedness; its running has not become a boring routine. Rather, the atmosphere is as warm and personable as during its first installment. What keeps fascinating me is how smoothly the many institutions and people working for this festival coordinate their efforts.

Despite much volunteering, a festival is expensive to run and sponsors have become difficult to find …
That is certainly true. In the beginning, the festival depended on its patrons. By now, however, we have found some solid commercial sponsors for whom the festival has become more interesting as an advertising platform – more valuable also in financial terms. Thanks to these sponsors and generous support from various foundations and governmental institutions, the financial backing for the coming years has been secured.

Can you gage what direction you would like the festival to develop in?
In terms of visitor numbers no great increase will be possible, seeing that our screening venues are tightly limited. Regarding quality, many advances can always be made, and that is what our team is constantly working on. The ground already covered is discernible from the issue of translations. During the first few festivals, most foreign language films could only be screened in their original language. By now, we are showing almost all of them with German subtitles. We consider this service crucial for our audience, and no matter how painstaking, we would like to expand it in future.

Looking back at past festivals, which film has left a lasting impression?
My favourite mountain film of all times is Churubamba, Women Having a Ball. We re-screened it last week under the heading ‘Best of Tegernsee’ and once again it wowed its audience. These girls meeting in their small, impoverished village in the Andes of Peru each night to play football, they are simply the best.