HONOURABLE MENTION: Afghan Winter (Fulvio Mariani and Mario Casella)
Swiss film makers Fulvio Mariani and Mario Casella traverse war-torn Afghanistan as documentarists. Theirs is an unhurried journey on skis into under-exposed corners of the country, where high-speed TV cameras do not tend to venture. Their routes are hardly plannable and take viewers to plenty of virgin territory. Time and again, they come up against their own limits. En route, they capture stories by the dwellers of the Hindu Kush region and their current living conditions in delicately composed images. Sparse commentary leaves ample of room for us to participate in this experience. A travel reportage of the finest kind that leaves us hoping for a sequel.

HONOURABLE MENTION: In Between (Rolf Steinmann)
This film is a poetic tableau. It is set in a surreal landscape. Archaic musk oxen only seemingly reference eternity. The film’s reduction to its core essence saves the jury any further comment.

SPECIAL JURY PRIZE: Metronomic (Vladimir Cellier)
Regarding mountain sports, we hear the question “Why would someone do this?” far too often. It was delightful to see a film which tosses this question aside. In fact, it inverses it: Why wouldn’t someone do this? The Jury Prize goes to a film embodying an experience. It is creative, completely unexpected, humorous and adventurous. Moreover, it features something no other film does – a flying drummer!

PRIZE FOR A JUNIOR FILM MAKER:  Simply the Worst (Franz Müller and Johannes Kürschner)
We are not awarding this prize to the “best” film in this category – seeing that the winning film is about the very opposite – Simply the Worst. We were laughing and nearly crying while swept along through dirt and fun on a wild “road trip into the past”. The film shows that a new generation of film makers does not always need a novel world for inspiration. They certainly do not lack creativity – which is expressed down to the level of subtitles. The Prize for a Junior Film Maker goes to two individuals who by now have hopefully developed a healthier lifestyle – because frankly, we would like to see more of their work!

BEST FILM IN THE CATEGORY MOUNTAIN LIFE: Drawing the Tiger (Amy Benson and Scott Squire)
“Village life is hard. But city life is lonely.” These are the words of a young man in the film Drawing the Tiger by Amy Benson and Scott Squire. After having moved from his Nepalese mountain village into the capital of Kathmandu, the young man supports his sister Shanta’s efforts to get an education and thus free her family from poverty. The film makers achieve a warm-hearted portrait and grant intimate glimpses of everyday life without becoming voyeuristic. On the contrary: With the help of carefully chosen images and with great delicacy they trace the life of a family who attempts to escape from its lack of perspective. This long-term eye witness account of a disjointed world took more than seven years to make and impressed the jury very much.

This film swayed the jury with is differentiated account of plans and actions for and against a touristic resort around British Columbia’s Jumbo Glacier. It depicts the efforts made since the Nineties to erect a winter sports centre in the middle of pristine nature as well as attempts to prevent this undertaking. Exacting research, extensive interviews with decision-makers and doers within both camps reveal these efforts without falling prey to black-and-white judgements. Film maker Nick Waggoner’s attitude remains transparent at all times.

In 1986 a total of 13 individuals lost their lives on the world’s second-highest mountain. Among them were mothers and fathers. 30 years later, film author Eliza Kubarska travels to the foot of K2 together with the children of theses mothers and fathers. Grown up by now, these daughters and sons tell the tale of how their parents’ passion and death in the mountains affected them. Where should self-determined living end and where does responsibility for one’s family begin? What is the pursuit of a passion and what is egotism? What does it signify when somebody is aggrieved because the mountains always seem to be more important than they? The film sounds out these questions in a way that is never judgemental or moralising, but always differentiated and empathetic. The author gets intimate with the sons and daughters of the perished mountaineers. She narrates their parents’ lives by deftly mixing historical footage from 1980s expeditions with freshly shot material. There are no drone flights, the mountains are never glorified. In accordance with the film’s theme, the camera stays on the ground and reveals the beauty of the Baltoro Range from the perspective of the children who trek around it. The jury considers the Polish production K2 – Touching the Sky a highly successful cinematic rendition of a topic that keeps being raised but is rarely explored at such depth.

GREAT PRIZE OF THE CITY OF TEGERNSEE:  Verso l’ignoto – Towards the Unknown (Federico Santini and Roberto Dall’Angelo)
Gripping, authentic, up close and very real. During this first attempted winter ascension of Nanga Parbat in the footsteps of Mummery on the Diamir Flank, film makers Federico Santini und Roberto Dall’Angelo grant insights into the emotional cosmos of extreme mountaineer Daniele Nardi. They do this without overstatement or artificial dramatisation, but purely with the simplest means. This in turn contrasts with the physically and psychologically almost dehumanising efforts of the protagonist. On screen, we experience him intimately and without distortions. An unvarnished account and rare narrative honesty reveal the truth of an experience most would call a mountain failure.