Press Release       02/0ctober/2013

11th Tegernsee International Mountain Film Festival

Electricity, Tea and a Great Prize
Surprising twists, new perspectives and problematic issues that might be novel to most viewers: audiences and jury alike were enthralled by exceptional films and their intense close-up of mountains and the people on them.

‘I came here with a typical European set of expectations regarding what defines a good mountain film,’ confesses jury member Helmut Scheben from Switzerland. According to him, this includes a notion of mountains as providers of happiness and of opportunities to fulfil life-long dreams. ‘But then, my attitude changed radically,’ states the longstanding editor of Switzerland’s Tagesschau TV broadcast. Because what moved him and others most were productions that promote a completely different perspective: films in which mountains do not stand for freedom, summit bliss and athletic achievement, but figure as potential cause of marginalisation, loneliness and social conflicts. These films reveal how the approach of civilisation steeps people into serious dilemmas. This might sound like ponderous cinema that conveys a message but lacks in entertainment value. Nothing could be less true. Belgian filmmaker Jérôme Le Maire for instance approaches the issue with playful ease in his documentary Le thé ou l‘éléctricité. ‘That is what we consider high art and that is why we chose him for the Great Prize of the City of Tegernsee,’ explains German juror Matthias Fanck. Jérôme Le Maire subtly witnesses a remote Moroccan village community’s problematic path towards the modern world of information and media. With a light hand, the film traces the tragic story of a disillusionment. ‘He makes such unobtrusive use of the camera that the villagers hardly even register that they are being filmed,’ Fanck marvels. ‘The film shows what really goes on in the mountains, not just in Morocco, but around the world. That is what makes it so absolutely relevant and I am happy to see it win the Great Prize,’ festival director Michael Pause confirms.

Special Mention for La Dura Dura
Chris Sharma, a giant of the sports climbing scene, and ‘child prodigy’ Adam Ondra struggle in Spain with one and the same route: La Dura Dura. It comes as a surprise that this does not develop into a grim competition, but into a shared, playful undertaking that challenges both to an equal degree. Both learn many lessons but also have incredible fun – precisely because they do not have to be solitary fighters any longer. ‘This opens a new dimension within the genre,’ the jury praises the film by American filmmaker Irish Rankin. ‘It ranges at the opposite end from the omnipresent solo trip, which Alex Honnold pushes to its limit,’ Leo Baumgartner comments. ‘In those films, it is truly a miracle if the second climber even makes it onto the screen. And sometimes you get the impression that all that hangs off the other end of the rope is a crate of energy drinks.’