PT Opening                                                                                                10/2019

Bergfilm Tegernsee, 17th International Festival from 16 – 20 October 2019

“Finally Do Something – It Concerns Us All” 

The finest mountain films across all categories: That was the opening night of the 17th Tegernsee Mountain Film Festival. Festival Director Michael Pause and his team impressed the audience with just the right mixture and strong messages. 

Frantic applause erupts when 85-year-old Toni Sponar clambers onto the stage. It gets under people’s skin when right away, he addresses the audience with a poignant plea. “Take notice of what is happening with Planet Earth right now – and act accordingly.” He managed not to miss a winter in 50 years – in either the northern or the southern hemisphere. “Endless Winter” is a film that narrates his exciting life history and which he watched himself for the first time during Wednesday’s world premiere. In truth, he can hardly believe that he is the hero up there on the silver screen in the sold-out Barocksaal venue, the recipient of all this applause.

Another protagonist who impresses not only on screen but also on the festival stage is Tyrolean Babsi Zangerl, one of the world’s best female climbers. It’s easy to believe that she does not care about making the headlines. What matters much more to her is being able to travel the world of steep walls together with her rope and life partner Jacobo Larcher – somebody she can fully rely on in any situation. After all, the value of such a partnership, of the freedom to simply take off, is irreplaceable. Least of all by profitable sponsoring contracts.

Audience members enjoy a fresh experience in Olag Obsommer’s latest whitewater adventure. They are en route across Iceland; surrounded by icicles they plunge down gushing waterfalls in their kayaks and land sorely on ice floes; their frozen, blue fingers can barely hold on to the paddle. But they rejoice like small children in being part of that fascinating landscape for even a moment. Their hot passion for whitewater not only transpires on camera, but also during a conversation with Festival Director Michael Pause.

Will one of the three opening night movies at the Barocksaal venue attract an award? That’s what the international jury is currently wrecking their brains over. They have already viewed all films, but it is a difficult decision, which requires careful reflection. “Many films, not a lot of prizes,” is their current motto. According to the jury, all of this year’s entries are of a very high standard. This however means that hardly any film truly stands out, is the jury verdict. Another close look is required to single out fine differences. In the process, some productions start looking better and more valuable.

The jury commended in particular the fact that many younger film makers are turning their back on the “age of faster-higher-further” and are approaching the mountain theme with entirely new ideas. The protagonists’ personal achievement no longer provides the central focus, but is questioned on many levels. This results in intriguing psychograms and surprising twists. Rarely does a film still treat the mountain as a piece of “sports equipment”, rather it is presented as a highly sensitive natural environment that is worthy of protection. “Everybody can do something, so please finally get started. It concerns the future of us all.” This is the poignant appeal by an 85-year-old man who managed to spend his life living his dream.