Interview with Dr. Georg Bayerle: Fireside Talks at the Mountain Film Festival
Tegernsee Mountain Film, 16th International Festival from 17 – 21 October 2018
Fireside Talks at the Tegernsee Mountain Film Festival
Dr. Georg Bayerle’s contributions to “Bergauf-Bergab”, Bavarian Broadcasting’s (BR) TV mountaineering programme, always have a wholesome feel. For him, what’s special need not be extreme and what’s beautiful need not be spectacular. Still, Bayerle glances with harsh rather than soft focus at mountain realities and sensitively brings grievances to the light. This not only distinguishes him as an author for Bavarian Public Broadcasting, including radio and TV formats, but also as one of the Tegernsee Mountain Film Festival’s earliest event hosts. When the team in 2015 looked for somebody to conduct the freshly inaugurated Fireside Talks, this old hand from the Allgäu was naturally a first choice as moderator. During the fourth Fireside Talk on Friday (19 October) at Stieler-Haus, Georg Bayerle will pose a question which is currently much discussed at Lake Tegernsee: Which tourism concept will win the upper hand: mass tourism or the mountaineering village? Let us cast a glance at the past as well as into the future.
Please explain: How does a Fireside Talk proceed and can the audience participate?
Yes, that is exactly what we want to happen. The beautiful Stieler House provides an intimate atmosphere, where we can talk freely and at our ease about any topic and get up-close with our conversation partners. Many special moments have occurred, when personal experiences and views of audience members contributed to the discussion.
Which of the three preceding Fireside Talks is a particularly enjoyable memory?
Each held its special fascination. Obviously, the presence of Norman Dyhrenfurth is unforgettable, the Swiss-American mountaineer and film maker who attended on the occasion of our Herrligkoffer Night. Or the renowned alpine researcher Werner Bätzing who attended our very first Fireside Talk. That discussion spontaneously turned into one about the Tegernsee Valley, which was lively and crucial. That is also the direction of this year’s talk, on the occasion of Kreuth becoming an official mountaineering village.
Has any discussion provoked a “standoff” — and how did you react?
There have been differences of opinion, of course. When these are well substantiated, they are desirable and productive. If they turn into a dialogue between two opponents, I interrupt that process. However, if it might help us gain deeper insights, I guide the conversation in a way that explores valid arguments. Ideally, we all return home from these talks with new ideas.
Do you believe that this sort of event during a Mountain Film Festival can have a wider impact?
It is important to make people aware of the fact that the festival is more than mere entertainment packed with beautiful or spectacular images. The Fireside Talk actually is the most remarkable part of the programme, demonstrating that climbing, filming and traversing the mountains always has a societal dimension. Focusing attention on such matters creates an overall atmosphere that might make the event’s contents impact in a more intense fashion.
You have been familiar with the Mountain Film Festival since its inception. What attracts you back as a volunteer every year?
That would be the conversations, the encounters at the fringe of events, the exchange with audiences and the special atmosphere which puts mountains centre stage. The highly sensory medium of film allows us to enthuse many for our subject. Just like during a long mountain tour, there are many stages during which I wonder what went well and what needs to be improved. The diversity of the films in itself is a journey of discovery around the globe and towards the most diverse mountain personalities.
How will the Festival need to evolve to ensure your future enthusiastic participation?
My wish for the Mountain Film Festival’s future would be to see a great variety of films, including only very few commercial or advertising-related productions. I’d like to see films with an attitude that display a sharp mindset and a relevant perspective. High gloss and astounding shots are not enough. I’d also like to see these days around mountain film to become even more established, even more of a meeting place for mountain lovers and creatives.