Press Release Special Story                                                      04/2021

Tegernsee Mountain Film, 18th International Festival from 13 – 17 October 2021

 The Gift

 In addition to the endowed main prizes, the Tegernsee jury may award films with an “Honourable Mention”. Often, touching stories stand behind these special productions that have not (yet) made the leap to the top. As is the case with “Weightless – Life is to Whistle” by Daniel Anker and Thomas Senf.

20 years ago, Daniel Anker, one of the quiet heroes of Swiss alpinism, scaled the Eiger North Face together with extreme climber Stefan Siegrist – and opened a new chapter in the history of alpine climbing with the route “La Vida es silbar” (Life is whistling). For Daniel Anker, it is a gift to be able to repeat the tour for his 60th birthday. His dream: to freeclimb it while shooting a film which mixes feelings from the present and the past. The Cuban film “La Vida es silbar”, after which the route is named, is also supposed to play a role.

The first part of the dream does not quite come true. “Only” a “normal” ascent of the difficult route seems possible, no free ascent without grabbing a rope. But what does that even matter? Don’t give a hoot, most would probably say. More satisfying is the way in which the “mental script”, which Daniel Anker has been developing for a long time, is turning into a touching film. He receives support from Swiss filmmaker Thomas Senf.

“I was rather naive,” recalls Daniel Anker. He simply called the production company Trigon-Film responsible for “La vida es silbar”, promptly got lucky and connected with a mountain-loving manager who instantly gave him permission to use excerpts from the film. And so, Thomas Senf and Daniel Anker are able to hit the wall and let two completely contrary worlds merge: the Eiger North Face and Cuba. Dancing and climbing. “They interweave climbing footage with excerpts from the art house film, combining reflections on gravity and the meaning of extreme climbing with the movie score. A pleasantly calm film with dizzying views from up high as well as serious depth,” the jury stated.

The film can not only be seen in Tegernsee, but by now is included as a bonus track with “La vida es silbar” ( No separate marketing for the film exists as yet. It seems that none of the organisations Daniel Anker approached have “bothered” to take a closer look at the film. That could change quickly with the honourable mention in Tegernsee, as it did for some others who collected their first laurels here. But the best of all gifts probably is to see how the images affect their audience. How everybody catches their breath when looking deep down from the Eiger North Face – and how the applause at the German Alpine Club Night in Tegernsee almost doesn’t stop.