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

 Contact:         Intern. Bergfilm-Festival Tegernsee
                        Rathausplatz 1
                        83684 Tegernsee
                        E-mail: – 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.


Mountain Film Festival Tegernsee 2020 – Cancellation

Press Release Cancellation                                                   02/2020-05-06

Mountain Film Tegernsee, 18th International Festival from 14 – 18 October 2020

 No Mountain Film Festival in Tegernsee

 The 18th International Mountain Film Festival planned for mid-October in Tegernsee will not take place. Its hosts consider the risks related to the COVID-19 pandemic too great to be able to safeguard the health of the 7,000 expected visitors.

 Just like in previous years, preparations for the 18th Tegernsee Mountain Film Festival had begun as early as January. Four weeks prior to the submission deadline, more than 50 films had already been sent into the festival office for competition. At the same time, the team of organisers around Mayor Johannes Hagn and Festival Director Michael Pause kept a concerned eye on the pandemic’s development. “A high carat programme and a great festival atmosphere are every bit as important to us as the safety and health of our visitors. And that is why, with a heavy heart, we have decided to cancel this year’s festival,” stated Hagn.

Although the restrictions put in place by political and administrative authorities in Germany helped to prevent a worst-case scenario, many experts caution against a premature return to “pre-corona normality”. They furthermore estimate that the coronavirus will keep impacting our everyday lives and lifestyle fundamentally for some time to come. Against this backdrop, the festival confirms its cancellation at this point in time.

“Properly or not at all!” was Prime Minister Markus Söder’s motto when two weeks ago, he cancelled Oktoberfest, Munich’s famous beer festival. The Tegernsee organisers take the same stance, even though the Mountain Film Festival operates on a much smaller scale. The Tegernsee Valley commands grander mountain views than the Oktoberfest fair grounds, yet one as much as the other grants a way of life and the kind of festive joy which people will unfortunately have to forsake this year.

International Mountain Film Festival Tegernsee
Rathausplatz 1, D-83684 Tegernsee, Germany

2020 – 18th International Mountain Film Festival Tegernsee 14-18 October – PR 01 – Call for Entries

NL/Press Release Call for Entries                                                01/2020-02-19

18th Tegernsee International Mountain Film Festival Tegernsee, 14 – 18 October 2020

Solid as a Rock

Mountain film must get real. Whether its cinematic narratives are based on mountain sports, alpinism, landscape and environment or mountain culture: during Germany’s sole mountain film competition, authentic images and strong stories succeed best at captivating audiences and jury.
Until 31st of May film makers from around the world can submit their latest productions.

 “Authentic productions will continue to convince. That much transpires every year afresh,” Michael Pause, the Tegernsee Mountain Film Festival Director states. “In the age of fake news and fake films both mountain film and its festivals represent the proverbial solid rock amid scripted and staged fake realities.”

Gerhard Baur once described in an interview just how much time and patience are required to produce credible images: “You can’t plan it, you have to work it out yourself in nature, on the mountain.” The great German cinematographer remains a role model of the mountain film scene – as a quiet, factual observer who takes a very close look, gets every detail right and leaves it to viewers to form an opinion.

Michael Pause shares these sentiments: “Faster-higher-further actually never sufficed to create a good mountain film.” Fascinating footage of nature, fantastic athletic achievements, suspense and dramatisation will once again “spice up” many films. “What lingers on, however, are new perspectives and surprising messages from the mountain world. The more commonplace the story might seem at first glance, the more moving its overall message can be.” Mayor Johannes Hagn equally values quality over quantity: “We will remain a festival for all mountain fans and will not expand. Our goal is to retain our high standards and to keep showing first-rate films.”

Submit new productions now!
Until 31st of May film makers may submit their latest mountain films to three categories. The category Mountain Experience puts alpinism and sportive encounters with the mountains centre stage. Landscape portraits and inquiries into environmental issues are the focus of the category Mountain Nature. Films in the Mountain Life category take stock of ethnological and cultural aspects in the encounter between people and mountains. The best film across all categories will be awarded the Great Prize of the City of Tegernsee (worth 3,000 euros). Furthermore, the most outstanding junior film maker will receive the Otto Guggenbichler Prize, named after the Mountain Film Festival’s founder.

Please find further prizes, cash awards and the call for submissions here:

2018 – Tegernsee Mountain Film Festival 20 Oct. 2018 – Press Kit – Contents

16th International Mountain Film Festival Tegernsee

                          17 to 21-10-2018

                  Press Kit 20 October 2018


PT01         Vultures, Rock Stars and the Preciousness of the Mountains
PT02         Preserving what is Precious
PT03         Surprising Insights and A Great Old Dame
PT04         Insights Behind the Curtain
PT05         List of Winning Films 2018
PT06         Jury Statement

Tegernsee International Mountain Film Festival
Phone +49(0)8022/1801-37

2018 – Tegernsee Mountain Film Festival – Press Kit 20 Oct. 2018 – PT01 – General

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.


2018 – Tegernsee Mountain Film Festival – Press Kit 20 Oct. 2018 – PT02 – Precious

PT_02_Precious                                                              20/10/2018

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

Preserving what is Precious

Films which stage the mountain world as a mere backdrop don’t even make it into the Mountain Film Festival’s programme. Here, mountains always play a crucial role. Often, current developments are identified and critically questioned — be it within the programme of screened films or quite prominently during the Fireside Talks at Stieler-Haus.

Mass tourism or mountaineering village — to whom belongs the future? This question was posed by Dr. Georg Bayerle from Bavarian Broadcasting (BR), by the Mayor of Kreuth Josef Bierschneider and by Christof Schett, who grew up in Villagratental Valley in East Tyrol, a model mountaineering village, and who advocates for gentle tourism. After all, here at Lake Tegernsee, more specifically in the village of Kreuth, two opposed worlds collide: The German Alpine Club (DAV) selected 13 of Kreuth’s 17 districts to become part of the elusive community of mountaineering villages. However, the four lakeside districts were explicitly excluded.

Many opinions were presented. The strongest message remains bound up in an image from the documentary which won this year’s Great Prize: eagles and vultures in a landscape almost completely spared by humans; undisturbed nature in harmony with itself. Only at the film’s very end, at the very margin, a tiny human figure appears in the snowy landscape …


2018 – Tegernsee Mountain Film Festival – Press Kit 20 Oct. 2018 – PT03 – Guests

PT_03_Guests                                                                20/10/2018

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

Surprising Insights and A Great Old Dame
Apart from the films, it’s special guests from the alpine film scene who turn the Tegernsee Mountain Film Festival into a unique experience.

For Mayor Johannes Hagn it was one of the festival’s highlights: In authentic and honest fashion, Thomas Huber won over the opening night’s audience during the world premiere of his latest film. “He doesn’t just pose as cool and strong. He also admits to his weaknesses and problems. That impressed me a lot,” explains the mayor. “He addresses them publicly and sets and example for others.”

Heinz Zak was greeted by viewers at the Sporthalle venue like an old pal. With his accustomed portion of irony, a lot of humour and ingenious images of the still and moving sort he managed to hit the spot in Tegernsee. Even while star climber Adam Ondra was in the middle of describing how much he suffered while climbing the Dawn Wall, Heinz Zak was “fully present” with his comments. Precisely these “live comments” made the evening exceptional.

She is 99 years old and in great form: a grand old dame like those in picture books. With great charm and spirit Maria Sernetz-Dyhrenfurth described during the Dyhrenfurth retrospective what it was like to live at the side of a great mountaineer and famous mountain film maker and to get to know the real Hollywood behind the silver screen.

2018 – Tegernsee Mountain Film Festival – Press Kit 20 Oct 2018 – PT04 – Jury Work

PT_04_Jury Work                                                                     20/10/2018

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

 Insights Behind the Curtain

The bright sunshine, glittering lake and alluring peaks of the enchanting Tegernsee mountain world disappear behind thick blinds and darkness spreads. The jury is in session over the next four days. By now, the prizes have been awarded and their work is completed. We hand over to the jury to sum up its impressions.

“It was great to once again dive deeply into the world of films without any distractions until our eyes started to blur,” raves Christine Kopp, when the curtain finally lifts again. The Swiss author and editor was already part of the Tegernsee jury 15 years ago. “On one hand much has remained the same,” she says. The same patterns, strengths, weaknesses. On the other hand, she was able to discover novel, creative aspects in this year’s films. “And drones, drones, drones. They’re quite the hype right now, but I am sure that will change in a few year’s time.”

A Privilege
Carla Braun-Elwert, who previously won Tegernsee’s Audience Prize, also enjoyed her work for the jury. “It is a real privilege to be part of this jury and to profit personally from this deep analytical work.” The question arises what really matters, what makes a mountain film outstanding. “This also entails questioning my own work as a film maker. It’s something I will take home and hopefully it will help improve my films.”

Camerawoman Susan Gluth also appreciates this fantastic opportunity to check up on her convictions, prejudices and values. “This intimate exchange with the audience in a small place, all these encounters — that’s rarely possible and very exciting!

Eye-to-Eye Discussions
We learn how jury decisions were made from Sebastian Marseiler, a documentary film maker from South Tyrol: “These were eye-to-eye discussions during which we kept examining new perspectives. This wasn’t about persuasion tactics and votes, but about truly listening to one another and creating unanimity.”

Another jury member who loves this kind of creative interaction is the initiator of the Salzburg Mountain Film Festival, Michael Bilic: “This is where I discover whether my opinion is solid. Am I on the right track or did the film seduce me?” In Tegernsee he was particularly impressed by the way “the whole town turns into a mountain film festival.”

Space for Courage
The jury was particularly impressed by the sheer range of films in Tegernsee: “In Salzburg we select the best films and show what our audience wants to see,” explains Bilic. Here in Tegernsee, the competitive component — Germany’s only mountain film competition — adds not only suspense but also diversity: “It creates space for courageous films, extraordinary production methods and alternative approaches.”
This applies especially to young film makers, even if their work is still rough around the edges: This year, the Otto Guggenbichler Prize for the Best Junior Film goes to Alexej Funke, an award which is not solely meant as a distinction but also as encouragement to further develop what’s already there. “Dare, ye young ones, to shoot films straight from the heart,” Sebastian Marseiler declaims and adds with a smirk: “for what is more amusing than beautiful and ingenious balderdash?”

Highlights and Insider Tips

PT_06_Highlights_Tips                                                                           10/2018

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

Highlights and Insider Tips