Press Releases Archive
2021 – Mountain Film Festival – Press Kit 16 Oct. 2021 – Contents
18th International Mountain Film Festival Tegernsee
13 to 17 Oct 2021
PT03 Stunning Mountain Films
PT04 Special Story
PT05 Jury Statements
PT06 List of Winning Films
Internationales Bergfilm-Festival Tegernsee
All textual and image material also available online at:
2021 – Mountain Film Festival – Press Kit 16 Oct. 2021 – PT02 – Jury
Press Release/Jury 02/2021
Tegernsee Mountain Film, 18th International Festival from 13 – 17 October 2021
Jury Members 2021:
Stefan König (Germany, i.a. author, expert on mountain film history)
Sebastian Marseiler (South Tyrol, i.a. culture and nature film maker)
Julia Brunner (Austria, i.a. camera operator, cutter, film maker)
Thijs Horbach (Netherlands, i.a. Director of the Dutch Mountain Film Festival)
Titus Arnu (Switzerland/Austria, i.a. journalist, author)
Mountain Film’s New Responsibility
This year, the festival jury did not conduct its work as usual, united in Tegernsee, but in advance and alone, each member in their own office. Instead of animated discussions, it involved focused watching in one’s own privacy. How did the jury handle this unusual situation?
“Sitting together, drinking coffee, discussing – I honestly prefer it that way,” Stefan König admits and probably expresses the entire jury’s heartfelt opinion. Sebastian Marseiler also considers this “hermit work” less than optimal: “I miss the discussions, the other perspectives.” However: “Under the given circumstances it was a good and practical solution,” concludes Stefan König.
And so, five jury members immersed themselves into the world of mountain film in very different locations over the past couple of days. They were impressed by “Cows Dancing on the Roof”, this sober and sobering look at a reality that is often glorified in the heimatfilm genre. “It captivated me and lingered in my mind,” states Julia Brunner. The film received an honourable mention.
One production that didn’t win a prize moved Sebastian Marseiler deeply – he can empathise with the situation of Ladakhi school children very well: “The documentary ‘Chaddr – Beneath us the River’ really touched me, because it reminded me of my own biography: being torn from my familiar environment in order to visit a school, balancing two worlds and returning home with the certainty of having to leave again.” The category “Mountain Life” however received a strikingly high number of strong submissions, “pretty much all of which deserved an award.” A similar film did indeed receive the main prize.
Stefan König will particularly remember the film “What Will This Do to Us?” by Caroline Fink. This very short art film deals with loneliness during the times of Covid. „It seems to me that a lot of film makers have become more thoughtful,” Stefan König reflects. “This may also have something to do with the fact that clips sponsored by the outdoor industry or disguised power lemonade advertisements never made it into the program.” Julia Brunner believes that there were already signs of change before the pandemic: “Where extreme adventure used to rule supreme, there can be much more today: people, cultures, animals – films that only “slightly” brush the subject of mountains. It doesn’t always take hardcore action, drama, death, fast-paced music, adrenaline. A slower tempo has its own merits. “I think people now choose their mountain adventures and mountain stories with more respect for nature and the fragility of life.”
Stefan König wishes to clarify that the current “mountain craze” puts certain demands on the mountain film scene: “In some areas, the mountains are literally overrun. How much of this mass onslaught can be sustained by natural environments and how much by those dwelling in valley towns? This results in mountain film’s new responsibility.” The mountain film scene has already picked up on that, according to Thijs Horbach: “Film makers show that you can experience adventure, nature and mountains close to your home. And that it is possible to make good films without having to travel around the world.”
But how did the jury finally agree on the awarding of the prizes? A three-hour video conference soon revealed that independently of one another, all five jury members had made very similar preliminary decisions. “We ended up having a lively discussion of merit based on mutual respect,” Sebastian Marseiler sums up. Had it been a live event in one location, “we would probably have just discussed more,” says Julia Brunner. “It does however make a difference when you view the same film at the same time and debate it immediately afterwards,” counters Stefan König. “But in this particular case I believe the awards would have gone pretty much to the same recipients no matter what.”
2021 – Mountain Film Festival – Press Kit 16. Oct. 2021 – PT03 – Stunning Mountain Films
Press Release Mountain Film Festival 2021 03/2021
Tegernsee Mountain Film, 18th International Festival from 13 – 17 October 2021
Stunning Mountain Films and Ample Space in Screening Venues
The films “Children of the Snow Land” (Grand Prize of the City of Tegernsee) and “Balandrau – Frozen Hell” (Prize by the German Alpine Club for the Best Alpine Film) impressed not only the Tegernsee jury, but also the festival’s audience, who enjoyed plenty of legroom this year. They emerge as an unusual festival’s glorious winners.
“Takes getting used to”, said some. Although, who wants to get used to looking at sold-out but half-empty movie theatres? Let’s rather listen to the sigh of relief that seemed to travel through Tegernsee over the last few days: “The Mountain Film Festival is back!”
94 Films thrilled the audience in Tegernsee
“It was lovely and I enjoyed the legroom,” said a happy spectator from around Stuttgart, laughing. There are advantages to everything. Thanks to 252 submissions, the programme curators led by festival director Michael Pause were able to pick from a bumper harvest this year, which they did with gusto. After a yearlong festival hiatus, 94 films made it into the programme, more than ever. In most of the 44 screenings, the live hosts were able to welcome interesting guests from all over the world: for example paraclimbing world cup bronze medalist Jacqueline Fritz during the Bayern2 Night, three members of the 1970 Nanga Parbat expedition at its retrospective, and Ganesh Panday from Nepal during the Nepal Night. When the people of Tegernsee celebrated their “home game” at the Medius screening venue and a group of local snowboarders presented their cherished mountain hut on screen, thunderous applause followed. A great success, even if the boarders didn’t make it onto the list of winners – or might they still score the audience award?
A quietly intelligent film
Top recognition goes to a film of quiet intelligence, grandiose landscapes, unvarnished humanity and hope, as the jury put it. This year, it awards the touching documentary “Children of the Snow Land” by Zara Balfour and Marcus Stephenson (Great Britain/Nepal) with the Grand Prize of the City of Tegernsee. For the first time after twelve years of schooling in Kathmandu, three teenagers hike on lonely paths back to their remote home villages, a journey of several days. They speak of separation pain, homesickness, curiosity, fear and amazement. They cautiously return to their past, soon to embark on a hopefully better future.
Devastating, because it can happen to anyone
This film will rattle anyone who has ever been to the mountains: The Spanish documentary “Balandrau – Frozen Hell” by Guille Cascante is dramatic, disturbing, heart-wrenching. It reconstructs a mountain tragedy in the Pyrenees that cost ten people their lives. “What stands out is not only the extraordinary camera work, but above all the shocking triviality of this incident: The mountains seem doable, nobody could have foreseen this catastrophe,” comments the jury, having awarded “Balandrau” with the Prize by the German Alpine Club for the Best Alpine Film.
Utter stealth …
… in the icy upper regions of the Himalayas is not the snow leopard’s sole domain.
Those who want to see it up close must also move with utmost caution. French photographer and filmmaker Stéphane Jacques and his brother masterfully demonstrate as much in the film “On the Track of Snow Leopards”. They defy ice and loneliness in order to perhaps savour the joy of getting intimately close to these extraordinary animals. For this achievement, they receive the Prize for the Best Film in the Category “Mountain Nature”.
Spectacular balancing act in the Dolomites
Valentin Rapp is the proud recipient of the Otto Guggenbichler Young Talent Award. With his camera he follows professional slackliner Lukas Irmler in search of the perfect highline between the Schlern und Langkofel massifs. “The film is exactly like highlining in the Alps: spectacular, comparatively low budget and breathtakingly beautiful,” the jury concluded.
“A big step towards normality”
Despite restrictions, considerable additional effort and total cancellation of the entire fringe program, the festival organisers can offer a convincing summary. “We definitely had a very strong programme of films this year,” confirms Michael Pause. “I was particularly pleased with the many wonderful encounters that finally became possible again.” It seemed to him that the mountain film scene was literally ready to pounce on this kind of opportunity, and for that reason alone the effort was worth it. Tegernsee Mayor Johannes Hagn sees the situation similarly: “Last year we were able to transmit a sign of life, but this year we have taken a big step towards normality. And in 2022, everything should be back to the way we and our visitors remember it. We look forward to that!”
2021 – Mountain Film Festival – Press Kit 16 Oct. 2021 – PT04 -Special Story
Press Release Special Story 04/2021
Tegernsee Mountain Film, 18th International Festival from 13 – 17 October 2021
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” (www.firmingo.ch). 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.
2021 – Mountain Film Festival – Press Kit – 16 Oct 2021 – PT05-Jury Statements
Winning Films 2021 – Jury Statements – 16 October 2021
Grand Prize of the City of Tegernsee
“Children of the Snow Land”
Zara Balfour, Marcus Stephenson, Great Britain/Nepal
The film makes for a touching documentary about separation and a sensitive narrative regarding difficult re-discoveries, suggestively mixing professional footage with the personal feelings of three young people. Two boys and a girl from extremely remote Himalayan valleys spend several days ascending on arduous paths to their hometowns. At the ages of five and six they had to leave their parents’ home to go to school in the capital. They haven’t seen their relatives for twelve years. Into their phone’s camera, they talk about the pain of separation, homesickness, curiosity, fear and amazement. Keenly, they observe the difficult living conditions back home and carefully approach their relatives and their archaic way of life. These images will travel back with them to the big city school that prepares them for a better life. This experience will seed their obligation. “I would like to earn a lot of money one day so that my mother can live like a queen!” says 16-year-old Tsering with youthful exuberance. Ultimately, it is a soft-spoken film that presents grandiose landscapes, unvarnished humanity and hope.
Best Film in the Category Mountain Experience
“Balandrau – Infern Glaçat” (Balandrau – Frozen Hell)
Guille Cascante, Spain
In dramatic, disturbing, heart-wrenching fashion the film reconstructs a mountain tragedy that cost ten lives. What stands out is not only the extraordinary camera work, but above all the shocking triviality of this incident: The mountains seem doable, the various groups’ tours are easy and not too long, nobody could have foreseen this catastrophe. Particularly touching is the fact that the victims are average consumers of alpinism – it could have happened to anyone, nobody would have been invincible. A film that gets under your skin and makes you question your own actions in a fresh light.
Best Film in the Category Mountain Nature
“Sur les traces de la panthère des neiges” (On the Track of Snow Leopards)
Stéphane Jacques, France
It often takes a long journey to discover the treasures of nature. This film draws us into the impossible expedition to the snow leopard. Combining breath-taking Himalayan landscapes with the daily worries of two photographer brothers, Stéphane Jacques allows us to intimately join this special quest. We experience the simplicity of mountain life in high Himalayan valleys and the joy of an exceptional encounter with nature – quite as if it were our very own adventure.
Best Film in the Category Mountain Life
“Nomades d’Iran, l’instituteur des monts Zagros” (Nomads of Iran – The Shepherd Children’s Teacher)
Louis Meunier, France
With calm images, the film narrates the transformation of a Middle Eastern farming culture. For the last time, the families set out on the long journey of their traditional transhumance, moving their livestock nomadically with the season. They are accompanied by the village school teacher: he uses every opportunity to teach the children, who walk and work alongside their parents. The next generation needs education in order to succeed in a new world. Told at the steady pace of the journey, the film has a lingering effect – and makes you think.
Otto Guggenbichler Prize for a Junior Film Maker
Valentin Rapp, Germany
Do you have to go to Patagonia or the Himalayas to experience spectacular mountain adventures? No, you don’t, and the pandemic might make it impossible anyways. For an extraordinary alpinist venture, professional slackliner Lukas Irmler only needs a highline, jagged peaks like those in the Dolomites and a few like-minded people. In “Alpine Highlines” he and his friends go looking for the perfect highline between the Schlern and Langkofel massifs. The experience of this film actually compares to high alpine highlining: spectacular, relatively low budget and breathtakingly beautiful.
Prize for the Most Outstanding Camera Work
K2 – The Impossible Descent
Camera: Bartek Bargiel, Poland
A Polish ski mountaineer makes alpine history when he successfully descends from K2’s summit all the way to its base entirely on skis. The drone used to film the ski run ensures that the film does justice to this exceptional sporting performance. Together with the camera, it shapes part of the story itself – it geolocates, delivers life-saving medication and captures sensational images. Sometimes we come to wonder who the film’s actual hero is – the skier or the drone with its pilot. Anyone who dislikes flying objects that buzz like outsized mutant bumble bees must still concede their potential to perform great deeds. Drones will play an important role in the future of mountaineering. In this adventure documentary, a drone and its pilot/cameraman have achieved something outstanding.
Prize for the Special Film
“El gran hito” (The Great Milestone)
Ignasi López Fàbregas, Spain
Ignasi López Fàbregas tells a high alpine tale by unusual means – as an animated film that toys with all the clichés of mountain adventure. There is the summit collector who wants to climb the supposedly impossible summit, his wife who admires him from the valley and the annoyed, grumbling mountain guide. But nothing goes according to plan – and the mountaineering lady becomes the surprise heroine of this lovingly made short work of art. “El gran hito” is great fun and presents to its audience a very unique and witty take on alpinism.
Honourable Mention by the Jury
“Anche Stanotte Le Mucche Danzeranno Sul Tetto” (Tonight also the Cows will Dance on the Roof)
Aldo Gugolz, Switzerland
The idyllic setting is deceptive. When a corpse is found not far from a Ticino alpine pasture, a young mountain-dwelling family’s peaceful, if also chaotic, alternative life starts to show cracks; social reality also increasingly catches up with them. The film only slowly reveals how one story connects with the other. The film makers have succeeded in creating a poetic documentary located between the utopia of simple mountain life and the melancholy of its inevitable end. A sober and sobering look at a reality that is often glorified in the alpine heimatfilm genre.
Honourable Mention by the Jury
“Schwerelos – Das Leben ist Pfeifen” (Weightless – Life is to Whistle)
Thomas Senf, Daniel Anker, Switzerland
The film “Schwerelos” by Thomas Senf and Daniel Anker combines two strongly contrastive worlds: the Eiger North Face and Cuba. In 1999, Daniel Anker and Stefan Siegrist set a milestone in alpine climbing with the route “La vida es silbar” (Life is to Whistle), which is named after a Cuban feature film. Senf and Anker 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.
Honourable Mention by the Jury
“Was sie wohl tun wird mit uns?” (What Will This Do to Us?)
Caroline Fink, Switzerland
The short film impresses with its carefully arranged aesthetics and presents itself as a complete miniature work of art, where images and spoken words complement each other to great effect. The protagonist’s brief statements have an existentialist touch and, together with the sequence of images, create a lyrical testimony to the pandemic experience.
2021- Mountain Film Festival – Press Kit – 16 Oct 2021 – PT06 List of Winning Films
18th International Mountain Film Festival Tegernsee – Winning Films 2021
Great Prize by the City of Tegernsee (€ 3,000)
“Children of the Snow Land” by Zara Balfour, Marcus Stephenson (Großbritannien/Nepal)
Prize by the German Alpine Club for the Best Alpine Film in the Category of “Mountain Experience” (€ 1,000)
“Balandrau – Infern Glaçat (Balandrau – Frozen Hell)” by Guille Cascante (Spain)
Prize for the Best Film in the Category “Mountain Nature” (€ 1,000)
“Sur les traces da la panthère des neiges (On the Track of the Snow Leopards)” by Stéphan Jacques (France)
Best Film in the Category “Mountain Life” (€ 1,000) awarded by the Tegernseer Erdgas-Versorgungsges. (€ 1.000)
“Nomades d’Iran, l’institeur des monts Zagros (Nomads of Iran – The Shepherd childern’s Teacher) by Louis Meunier (France)
Otto Guggenbichler Prize for a Junior Filmmaker (€ 1,000)
“Alpine Highlines” by Valentin Rapp (Germany)
Best Camera Work (sponsored by Rotary Club Tegernsee)
“K2 – The Impossible Descent”, Camera: Bartek Bargiel (Poland)
Prize for the Special Film (sponsored by Rotary Club Tegernsee)
“El gran hito” (The Great Milestone) by Ignasi López Fàbregas (Spain)
Honourable Mentions by the Jury (non-cash prizes)
“Anche Stanotte Le Mucche Danzeranno Sul Tetto (Tonight also the Cows will Dance on the Roof)“ by Aldo Gugolz (Switzerland)
“Schwerelos – Das Leben ist Pfeifen (Weightless – Life ist o Whistle)“ by Thomas Senf, Daniel Anker (Switzerland)
„Was sie wohl tun wird mit uns? (What Will This do to Us?)“ by Caroline Fink (Switzerland)
Bayern 2 – Audience Prize (€ 1.000,-)
„Das Riesending – 20000 Meter unter der Erde (Mega Cave – Six Thousand Feet Below Ground)“ by Freddie Röckenhaus (Germany)
„Hütt’n“ (Hut)“ by Philipp Marquardt (Germany)
Tegernsee Mountain Film Festival 2021 – Opening
Press Release/Opening 01/2021-10-14
Tegernsee Mountain Film, 18th International Festival from 13 – 17 October 2021
Riveting Films from the Mountain World
Every autumn, when the mountain film scene meets in Tegernsee, suspense is the name of the game – from the very first second. The thrill is shared: by audiences when protagonists clamber across icy ridges at dizzying heights, and by film makers when the jury puts their heads together.
As always: It’s all about the mountains – and only about the mountains. Despite such consistency, nothing is repetition. New perspectives and unfamiliar thoughts, courageous authors and surprising stories gripped the audience as early as the opening night.
After a year’s hiatus, the desire for new experiences is great, which is evident during the festival opening. The baroque hall is sold out, but seats must remain free. “Due to the current high incidence, we can only operate the festival on a smaller scale,” explained Mayor Johannes Hagn at the opening. “But the Mountain Film Festival is an important element of our cultural life, which is why we have done everything we can to ensure that it can take place this year.” Even if the effort is greater and the number of visitors is lower.
The programme is packed with 94 films screened across six venues until Sunday. This time, the best films from a two-year period make it onto the screen, and one can expect a lot accordingly. Film makers, producers or protagonists are often on site; on stage they authentically portray what might remain obscure to the audience. Such encounters are as much a part of the festival as the films themselves and added their special charm to the opening: for example, when ex-ski racer Michael Veith described what it’s like to be at the start of the Streif in Kitzbühel. And how he thinks he has an inkling of how Polish mountaineer Andrzej Bargiel felt when he buckled on his skis on K2 and tackled the “impossible descent”. Next, incredible drone images literally pulled the baroque hall audience into the eight-thousander’s icy gullies.
Suspense also surrounds the international jury: it has to decide who will receive an award at Germany’s only mountain film festival linked to a competition. This year, the jury does not watch the films together on site, but does so separately “in a quiet space” (aka: the home office). The exchange of ideas takes place via video conference, which at the moment is certainly the best solution. “But it is definitely nicer and more interesting to do so together in one place,” was the jury’s verdict on the matter. The winners will be announced at the award ceremony on Saturday evening in the baroque hall, to be broadcast on the BR livestream (on Bergauf-Bergab, on Mediathek and on BR Kulturbühne).
Mountain Film Festival Tegernsee 2021 – Silver Screen Returns to Tegernsee in Autumn
Press Release 2021-07-12
18th Tegernsee International Mountain Film Festival, 13 – 17 October 2021
Silver Screen Returns to Tegernsee in Autumn
Due to restrictions, cultural life largely stopped during the Covid-19 pandemic spikes; by now, activities are slowly resuming. The mountain film genre seems to have survived the enforced hiatus quite well, at least according to organisers of the Tegernsee Mountain Film Festival: 240 productions from a stunning total of 38 countries were registered this spring. The pre-selection jury and the team of organisers currently face the challenge of forging an attractive festival programme from the most watchable cinematic peaks.
Have you ever watched a mountain film from Kazakhstan? Or from Taiwan? How might a film team from Egypt approach the mountain theme? 240 films present 240 different vantage points, stories, approaches. The mountain genre clearly fascinates film makers from around the globe.
“Don’t be fooled by this impressive figure. We had to filter quite strongly, because in a surprisingly large number of films the mountains did not play a leading part,” Tegernsee Festival Director Michael Pause regrets to say. “Still, we are able to assemble an exciting and diverse programme. We will present great and even some outstanding films in all categories!”
The selection will cover the entire modern mountain film spectrum: Gripping documentaries about alpine peak performances and exciting reportages will equally entice audiences as moving portraits by and about mountain people.
Naturally, the subject of the pandemic will also play a role on the Tegernsee silver screen. “In my opinion, a film festival should always create a stage for extraordinary films which introduce viewers to new perspectives and broaden their horizons,” Michael Pause points out.
This in turn makes the current year a particularly interesting one for witnessing the unusual routes film makers from all over the world chose during the lockdown. Michael Pause refuses to reveal too much: “I can only tell you this: You may expect surprises, you may expect suspense and veritable big screen thrills!”
Please note: The festival programme will be available from September onward in online and print format. For now, it seems that the festival can take place as “in-person” event, as a physical meet-up for passionate mountain (film) fans with protagonists and film makers. For up-to-date news on the finalised October format, please refer to www.bergfilm-tegernsee.de
Contact: Intern. Bergfilm-Festival Tegernsee
E-mail: email@example.com – Phone: +49 (0) 8022-1801-37 or -53
Mountain Film Festival Tegernsee 2021 – Relaunch after the Pandemic
Press Release – Relaunch after the Pandemic – 01/2021-05-10
Mountain Film Tegernsee – International Festival from 13 – 17 October 2021
Mountain Film Festival after the Pandemic
Relaunch with Open Questions and Great Confidence
While Munich cancels Oktoberfest for the second time due to the pandemic – as was to be expected –the most long-standing mountain film festival does take place in Trento, if in somewhat changed format from its previous 68 instalments. At the same time, the Tegernsee Mountain Film Festival team wonders how their local event in October might turn out. The one thing they are adamant about is that “happen it will”.
For mountain film producers, the Trento spring festival has always been a fixed date. Naturally, the event hosted in the charming city of Trento on the Adige River has changed across the decades, just like alpinism itself and like the movie industry. Still, this is where the community meets. In past times, the international heroes of the climbing and expedition world congregated to get to know each other and exchange ideas; today, global stars fly in for a fleeting appearance. After all, films about breath-taking achievements and records are part of the professional mountaineering industry – expected by sponsors and craved by its audience.
When the Tegernsee Mountain Film Festival premiered in 2003, its initiator Otto Guggenbichler had been a regular in Trento for many years. Festival Director Michael Pause similarly remembers his first visit to the Trento Festival in 1980: “Back then, the Trento Film Festival already had a solid structure and was a massive operation. During the Tegernsee inauguration, our Italian friends supported us with help and advice, and we are very grateful for that.” The annual journey to Trento always renders plenty new contacts in the scene and the opportunity to catch up with trends and news within the mountain film genre. One or two great Trento film hits can usually be attracted to Tegernsee before its end of May submission deadline.
In May 2021, the COVID-19 vaccination campaign conjures a silver lining into the sky for autumn events in the cultural realm, yet nothing can be taken for granted when it comes to planning. The team surrounding Tegernsee Mayor Johannes Hagn and Michael Pause is conscious of the fact that the festival relaunch (13 – 17 October 2021) will not take place at the same outstanding level which characterised the Tegernsee event before the coronavirus. “Yet I am confident that every participating individual in Tegernsee this autumn will feel like a winner – most of all our organising team,” states Hagn.
“With the arrival of submissions, the thrill of anticipation and suspense intensifies, which one feels and needs ahead of a mountain tour the same way we do as mountain film festival hosts,” Pause adds.
2019 – Mountain Film Festival – Press Kit 19 Oct. 2019 – PT02 – Winners
PT02 Winners 10/2019
Bergfilm Tegernsee, 17th International Festival from 16 – 20 October 2019
The Drama of Success
Winners only ever emerge from comparison. When all submissions are as qualitative as at this year’s Mountain Film Festival in Tegernsee, the jury has to plunge that bit deeper for its verdict. The process brings compelling results to the surface.
“Not everything has to be perfect, but it’s got to hang together.” This makes for an apt description of the quest for the best films undertaken by Linda Cottino (Italy), Lisa Röösli (Switzerland), Dagmar Steigenberger (Germany), Lisa Stolze (Austria) and Alexander Donev (Bulgaria). When a film works, it presents exciting images which linger and might reveal their full potency only after a while. This is not usually the case when people only talk about themselves and their achievement. Something truly interesting only happens when a film maker manages to “also recognise the drama inherent to success”, the jury explains.
Award for “The Pathan-Project” – “Free Solo” impresses outside of competition
A perfect example for this criterium is the Oscar-winning climbing film “Free Solo”, which was screened in Tegernsee outside of the competition. Star climber Alex Honnold is sublime on the wall. But how does he manage everyday life? That’s where the “dimension of failure” mentioned by the jury applies and makes the movie gripping. This potential failure also infuses “The Pathan Project” (Guillaume Broust, Belgium, German Alpine Club Prize in the Category Mountain Experience). This expedition film is strikingly different. Accidents and set-backs are dramatic, the achievement on the rock outstanding, but that is also the case in other films. Truly unique is the self-mocking perspective of all protagonists, which is very helpful in this situation – and the balance between all these components.
Magic and strong women
“This Mountain Life” enchants with arresting, carefully composed images. The focus is on two women, mother and daughter, who trek from Vancouver to Alaska together on skis. Film maker Grant Baldwin (Canada) receives the “Great Prize of the City of Tegernsee” foremostly because he manages to widen the film’s focus to the question what people seek in the mountain world and sometimes do – at least to some extent – find there.
Strong women are also central to the Australian documentary “Spirit” (Jane Dyson and Ross Harrison, Prize in the Category Mountain Life): A world breaks apart, high up in a mountain village in the Himalaya. Too high up to have fully arrived in modern times, yet too low down to still be truly close to the gods, as this film conveys with impressive footage.
The excitement mounts when a film completely steps out of line, as does Iceberg Nations (Fernando Martín Borlán, Bergzeit Prize in the Category Mountain Nature): Icebergs turn into metaphors for human constructs such as nations and boundaries. Icebergs melt and the constructs reveal their irrelevance in the face of worldwide problems such as climate change.
Probably the festival’s most unusual film didn’t quite make it into the four main prize categories. But the documentary “Riafn” (Calling) by Hannes Lang is actually much more suited for the “Special Film” category. “It’s a veritable challenge for viewers,” the jury claims. But anyone who opens up to the kind of communication between humans, animals and nature that functions without major misunderstandings and across all boundaries, gets to enjoy a masterpiece, a “cinematic mediation against an alpine backdrop.”
While others brag about extreme physical deeds, experiences at their limit and meaningless conquests, two likeable students from Rosenheim, Bavaria, dedicate themselves to something completely different. With joy and nonchalance they restore old mountain huts. “This is a quiet, special story, which makes do without classic mountain heroes, but with its beautiful images tells us that we can make a difference after all,” is the jury verdict on Höhenmeter (Altitude) by Dominik and Julian Weigand (Germany), which receives the Otto-Guggenbichler-Award for a Junior Film Maker. In this case, success is certainly no drama.
2019 – Mountain Film Festival – Press Kit 19 Oct. 2019 – PT06 Jury Statement
PT06 -Jury Statements, 17 October 2019 2019-10-19
Great Prize of the City of Tegernsee
“This Mountain Life”
Grant Baldwin and Jenny Rustemeyer, Canada
Father-son-narratives set against a mountain backdrop are not exactly rare. What we found novel about this film is that it tells the great mountain adventure of a mother and her daughter. We encounter two strong, charismatic women, who together master 1,430 miles on skis from Vancouver to Alaska. The film maker not only captures this great journey with impressive, carefully composed images, but he also succeeds at widening the focus to the question what people seek in the mountain world and sometimes to some extent find.
Category Mountain Nature
Fernando Martín Borlán, Spain
This film poetically and artfully debunks the idea of land ownership and nation states. It questions the power of these concepts in the context of global warming. With humour and creativity, the disappearing iceberg is made into a metaphor for human constructs which are inadequate for meeting the climate challenge. All of this is delivered in just four minutes.
Category Mountain Experience
“The Pathan Project”
Guillaume Broust, Belgium
Why do we travel to dangerous and unexplored mountains in Pakistan, if we could just as well get our fill of adventure at home? This unusual expedition film offers the following answer: We like to have fun. Despite accidents and setbacks, the film succeeds at demonstrating outstanding achievements on the rock, yet never loses its tongue-in-cheek, self-mocking perspective. We were equally convinced by the humorous narrative with its fictional flashback and parodies of famous films.
Category Mountain Life
Jane Dyson, Ross Harrison, Australia
We find ourselves in some remote village in the Indian Garhwal Himalayas. The spirits have retreated ever higher into the mountains, according to one of the local women which the film makers have become very intimate with. The film shows a breakable world threatened by the centrifugal powers of modernity. However, it also displays rituals in connection with spirit worship which bring people back together.
Fortunately, audience members do not become possessed by these spirits. Still, they will find it difficult to resist the magnetism of such unique images and this successful montage.
Award for a Junior Film Maker
Dominik and Julian Weigand, Germany
The two protagonists of this story are unusual for the mountain film genre, which loves to deal in extreme physical achievements, experiences at the outer limit and meaningless conquests. Two likeable students from Rosenheim, Bavaria, have discovered something they can give back to their homeland mountains. With joy and nonchalance, they approach the execution of their plans. This is a quiet, special story, which makes do without classic mountain heroes but with its beautiful images tells us that we can make a difference after all.
Outstanding Camera Work
“Bayandalai – Lord of the Taiga”
Aner Etxebarria Moral, Pablo Vidal Santos, Spain
An old reindeer shepherd tells us about his life, embedded in the rough natural environment of the Taiga and the fateful ministry of gods. The camera completes his narrative with a variation of detail-rich close-ups and distance shots from high above (from the perspective of the gods, so to speak). Simple objects – the reflective contents of a tea cup, gnarly fingers on fur – become poetic images for the great cycle of becoming and passing away.
The Special Film
Hannes Lang, Germany
This film renders an extraordinary portrait of human individuals who live on a remote mountain farm. It is a surprising experience to delve into the world of time-honoured communication between human, nature and animal. Acoustic richness and expressive images result in a cinematic meditation against an alpine backdrop.
Marcher pour Genna (A Christmas Pilgrimage)
Frédéric Furnelle, Olivier Bourguet, Belgium
The film makers spend several weeks hiking on a pilgrimage route across Ethiopia, where they meet faithful pilgrims on their way to the country’s biggest Christmas celebration. The film succeeds at documenting the hardships of the long journey, authentically captures the heartfelt, respectful encounters and conveys to viewers a country and a culture barely known elsewhere (but which we shall hear more about in future thanks to the Peace Prize awarded to its president).
Ani, le monache di Yaqen gar (The Nuns of Yaqen Gar)
Eloïse Barbieri, Italy
Together with Buddhist nuns, film maker Eloïse Barbieri lives for several weeks under the most basic conditions in a Tibetan monastic community. The film’s special achievements include the film maker’s capacity to actually reach this place, where free practice of religion is not a right, but might at best be granted by Chinese authorities. With a watchful camera and reflections about her own situation, Barbieri creates a snapshot of a place under pressure, which might by now have vanished altogether.