PT_01_General                                                                        20/10/2018

Mountain Film Tegernsee, 16th International Festival from 17 – 21 October 2018

Vultures, Rock Stars and the Preciousness of the Mountains

 Vultures and tardigrades, simple mountain farmers and the climbing world’s great rock stars: these are the winners of the Mountain Film Festival 2018. Also winners are more than 6,000 enthused viewers who were able to re-discover the preciousness of the mountain world in 80 films over the course of five days: mountains as a habitat, a natural space or as a playground for great adventures.

 Their protagonists are kings of the air and they are great masters of their profession: the Lapied nature film makers. “An impressive film, a masterpiece,” is the professional jury’s as well as the audience’s verdict regarding the latest documentary by Anne and Erik Lapied. 70 minutes of nature in harmony with itself. Cruel, tender, unique and always incredibly beautiful. A young eagle brutally evicts its siblings from the nest. Later, in winter, the eagles barely manage to feed a single eaglet. The Lapieds know their animals very well, not just the vultures and eagles who play the lead part in this production. The French film makers are at one with their environment, know exactly when a sun ray will make the snow dust glitter. They do not gloss over anything and pass no judgement. Which makes their message — und thus their films — strong enough to receive the Great Price of the City of Tegernsee for the second time.

Between Devotion and Obsession
Where does passion end and obsession begin? Gripping scenes play themselves out at the Yosemite Valley’s Dawn Wall. They get under the skin of viewers because this film does not merely focus on the outstanding athletic achievements of climbing “rock stars” Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson, but also on their human experiences: tragedies that shaped their life journeys and might offer an answer to the question “why?”. These aspects render depth and meaning to the film. “The point of making films, after all, is to ask important questions and to grant insights. But also to take a stand and at least hint at an answer,” insists jury member Carla Braun-Elwert. For his great, dramatic climbing film “The Dawn Wall”, US film maker Peter Mortimer takes home the German Alpine Club Prize for the best Alpine film.

Close and Unknown
Never before did tardigrades and water shrews achieve movie stardom. Most people barely notice them. In loving and unpretentious fashion director Uwe Müller casts a glance at the smallest of creatures of the Erzgebirge mountains, however without over-exposing them in Hollywood style. He brought surprising images to Lake Tegernsee, which subtly sharpen our appreciation for the great miracles of a smaller world. This earned him the Prize for the Best Nature Film, donated by main sponsor Bergzeit.

Ancient Knowledge and the Future
For a family of mountain farmers in the Swiss canton of Uri, nature is a living environment. Respectfully, they make use of steep mountain meadows without destabilising their fragile equilibrium. This way of life has become rare in central Europe; director Beat Bieri narrates it by means of a moving story. The documentary “Die Wildheuer” (Wild Hay Makers) inspires hope that future generations may carry on ancient knowledge. The jury recognised this contribution with the Prize in the Category Mountain Life.

The Really Big Moments
“This was another outstanding festival with many amazing films and interesting guests,” reflects Festival Director Michael Pause after the conferring of prizes. “I am particularly chuffed when so many award recipients come from quite a distance to personally accept their prize and to share with a big audience what moves them.” Because those are the really big, unforgettable moments, which encourage the organisational team around Mayor Johannes Hagn to forge plans yet again for the next festival in October 2019.