Opening 19/10/2017                                                      PressRelease01_Opening

Tegernsee Mountain Film, 15th International Festival, 18 – 22 October 2017

Thrill-Seekers on Narrow Ridges 

A drone embarks towards new horizons, flies into a world beyond the Tegernsee mountains on the hunt for the most beautiful images — this new trailer kicked off the 15th Mountain Film Festival. On board: not only the most unique films, but also the people who used their imagination and creativity to successfully innovate narratives that enthuse their viewers and “get under their skin”.

 It is Wednesday evening. The first guests jostle in front of the screening venues and the jury has already completed a film-viewing marathon. While outdoors, the last mild sunrays hit, freezing cold is captured on the indoor silver screens. The decision has almost been finalised. However, jury members Helmut Scheben (Switzerland), Julia Brunner (Austria), Mojca Volkar Trobevšek (Slovenia), Benedikt Kuby (Germany) and Martin Kaufmann (Italy) would like to take a second look at some of the competing films. The bunch of nutters from “A mords Sauhaufen in a z’kloan Zelt” will therefore once more fly across the universe in their tiny tent to reach the steepest chutes. Those snowboard die-hards are sick! The jury attributes a couple of extra points. After what felt like a hundred hours in a darkened room, the world starts to look a bit different. Is that going to translate into a prize though? Even the Tegernsee festival audience has rarely been exposed to so many new ideas, deeply moving experiences and fascinating images as this year.


A truly international audience

“Mountain and valley will never come together, however people do,” states Festival Director Michael Pause, glancing at the audience: Here is a lady from Qatar who climbed Mt Kilimanjaro together with her family, accompanied by an Irish filmmaker. Having left behind her native desert, she cannot get enough of the colourful abundance imbuing a sunny autumn day at Lake Tegernsee. Not far from her sits a man of partly Greek origin who lives in the USA and who brought a film about ski touring at Mount Olympus to the Bavarian Alps. The longest trip was undertaken by film maker Carla Braun-Elwert who was part of last year’s Tegernsee jury. This year, she submitted an award-worthy, highly personal documentary to the competition: she traversed New Zealand’s Southern Alps on Nordic skis, tracing the footsteps of a father who died far too early. The film maker from Shanghai is slightly delayed. For Fuzzy Garhammer and Markus Wasmeier on the other hand, the festival is a kind of home game — they will be present during Thursday’s retrospective.


Message more important than achievement

Once again, what film makers are presenting does not fail to impress. However, the heroes seem to have changed — at least on Wednesday at the Barocksaal venue. Delivering a message definitely seems more important than achievement: Stephan Sigrist, one of Switzerland’s foremost mountaineers embarks on a first ascent in Kashmir and discovers intriguing traces. Locals remember an attempted ascent, a tragedy. The film parallels old and new fates. Athletic achievement becomes more and more eclipsed by the poignancy of the small ridge between good and bad luck. The previous ascension could have ended well, just like the Swiss one, but it did not. Because many years ago, a rock came loose just beneath the summit und almost squashed one of the English mountaineers’ leg. This would normally be a death sentence, but his friends master an incredible rescue. Sometimes, people get a second chance. BASE jumper Maximilian Werndl took advantage of his opportunity: “Last Exit”, the evening’s second film, turns out to be short and intense. It is characterised by unheard-of sentences: “How can one unlearn to feel?” The extreme athlete mulls this question when he learns of his friend’s death and finds himself incapable of any feelings. To him, this is a warning signal. He senses himself “trapped in a cul de sac”, always questing for even more intense — and thus risky — experiences. Maximilian Werndl got professional help. During talks with Michael Pause, he calls his coach his lifesaver. This is not a story of heroism. With simple means that get under one’s skin, the film reveals what lies behind one individual’s extreme sport as well as its devastating effect on those around him, especially on his mother and his life partner. For those who cannot find a way out it becomes an addiction, a terminal disease.


Farewell to Heiner Geißler

Such thought-provoking films would certainly have impressed Heiner Geißler, the Festival’s patron, who passed away in September. “He is with us in spirit,” former mayor Peter Janssen is certain. Janssen is a co-founder of the Mountain Film Festival and a longtime companion to Geißler. “His outstanding personality has left an indelible mark on the Mountain Film Festival.” It was always one of the highlights when Heiner Geißler raised his voice, usually during the final celebration, to say “words we will not forget and which are worth thinking about time and again — they will be missed.”


Did we make you curious? Secure your tickets now!

The best films will be re-run during the Mountain Film Festival. Also, many new films and festival features await discovery. Check out the festival programme now and book your tickets online at or in person either at the Festival Forum “Gipfeltreff” inside the town hall (Rathaus) or at the Tegernsee Tourist Information Centre.


Internationales Bergfilm-Festival Tegernsee
Rathausplatz 1
83684 Tegernsee
Tel. +49-8022/1801-37 of -53