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The best in mountain cinema will be on show at the TrentoFilmfestival 2011

 

A RANGE OF 128 MOUNTAIN FILMS


This year, the world's oldest mountain film festival features highly anticipated debuts from across Europe and Italy. Werner Herzog is involved in two films, directing "Cave of Forgotten Dreams" and writing "Happy People, a Year in the Taiga". The latter will be competing for the honours with "180° South" by director Chris Mallory and "Alpi" by photographer Armin Linke. The screening of the 128 participants will be set underway with director Arnold Fanck's silent masterpiece "Der Grosse Sprung" (The Great Leap), which will be accompanied by a live soundtrack.

The best in mountain cinema will be on show at the TrentoFilmfestival 2011. This year features a host of newly released international films, starting with Cave of Forgotten Dreams, the first 3D documentary by German director Werner Herzog; after its world premiere at the Toronto Film Festival and its European premiere in Berlin, the film will be screened for the first time in Italy on Saturday 30 April.

The film was mainly shot in the Chauvet cave in France, which is off limits to all but a few experts. In his first extraordinary 3D film, Herzog unveils the world's oldest drawings, which are believed to be more than 30,000 years old. These sophisticated, modern-looking works of cave art still amaze experts even today, and Herzog's words and music transform them into yet another groundbreaking piece of filmmaking.

 

Sergio Fant, the new supervisor for the TrentoFilmfestival schedule, says "The Italian premiere of Cave of Forgotten Dreams is the best way not only to climb, as it were, into the 59th TrentoFilmFestival, but also to look towards the future of both the Festival and cinema. We are in the company of a master filmmaker, whose work, which often captures the wonders of nature and the mountains, has made him a landmark for the TrentoFilmfestival on the eve of its 60th birthday."


The Festival will open on Friday 29 April in the Santa Chiara Auditorium with the screening of German director Arnold Fanck's classic 1927 silent film Der Grosse Sprung (The Great Leap). The film will be set to a soundtrack of original music written by Giovanni Bonato, performed by Mario Brunello on the cello and Saverio Tasca on percussion. The film will also be accompanied by the voices of the Trentino Mountaineering Association Choir conducted by Mauro Pedrotti in a co-production between the TrentoFilmfestival and I Suoni delle Dolomiti, in association with the Historical Film and Video Library at the National Mountain Museum and with experimental workshop Antiruggine). Saturday 30 April sees the premiere of Cave of Forgotten Dreams, a special event that opens a busy week of screenings at the Cinema Modena; its three screens will be showing the 128 films on the Festival's schedule until Sunday 8 May, including both the documentaries and shorts in the International Competition (27 films) and in the Festival's parallel categories. In addition to the traditional ones such as Alp&Ism (27 films), Terre alte (16 films), Eurorama (12 films) and a selection of feature-length works (15 films), this year's Festival includes new categories such Destinazione..., which showcases a country, region or culture (this year sees 11 films from Finland), and Orizzonti vicini, which features 14 films made in Trentino Alto Adige by directors who were born or work here.

In the hunt for the Gold Gentian

Werner Herzog has also made more than passing contribution to another film making its Italian premiere in this year's Competition. Happy People, a Year in the Taiga is a documentary on the hard life in Siberia; it is directed by Dmitri Vasyukov, but it is presented produced, written and narrated by Herzog.

Into Eternity is a multi-award winning film by Danish director Michael Madsen that is making its Italian premiere in this year's Competition. Madsen has always been interested in the environment and sustainable development, and his latest film looks at the highly topical issue of nuclear safety. The director documents the latest-generation deposit for nuclear waste, which is being built in the north of Finland. The deposit is designed

 

to last at least 100,000 years, more than any other man-made construction that has ever existed. Extraordinary footage of this major engineering feat is intertwined with the voices of experts and scientists who talk about the pros and cons of nuclear power, as well as its remaining mysteries; they are also asked about its future and about that of the human race.

The TrentoFilmfestival is also the stage for the European premiere of 180° South by director Chris Mallory, which stars two legends in mountaineering and outdoor culture: Yvon Chouinard and Doug Tompkins. Both are famous not only as sportsmen and adventurers, but also as the founders of the brands Patagonia and The North Face respectively. Forty years on, American Jeff Johnson retraces their journey from California to Patagonia, during which they surfed monster waves and scaled virgin mountains. In Patagonia Jeff comes across his two heroes, who have returned to the world's end in an attempt to save the local area and its natural surroundings from pollution.

Mountains are seen from a radically different angle in Alpi by photographer and artist Armin Linke, who looks at them in terms of contemporary art. The film will receive its first Italian screening fresh from its international premiere at the Nyon International Documentary Film Festival; it is presented in association with Trento's Fondazione Galleria Civica - Centro di Ricerca sulla Contemporaneità. The film affords an insight into the Alpine landscape and the changes in environment, culture and work that are taking place there. Its mountains were also the inspiration behind the world's biggest indoor ski slope in Dubai and the backdrop for the latest Bollywood productions.

Other films in this year's Competition include Der Bergfürst by German director Philip Vogt. The film was shot in Albania and looks at the tradition of the tribal chiefs who govern by the Kanun, the ancient laws that are still used in rural mountain areas. The Competition will take its audience to other mountainous lands throughout the world, including South America, which is the setting for Jason Burlage's Mi Chacra, Tibet for Lynn True's Summer Pasture, Lapland for Salla - Selling the Silence by Finalnd's Markku Tuurna and Portugal for Pare, Escute, Ohle by Jorge Pelicano.

 

The adventure continues

Documentaries on mountaineering and adventure have written the history of the TrentoFilmfestival. This year is no different as the Festival offers the best of the latest international films, as well as Italian and world premieres featuring some of the greatest names in mountaineering. In addition to 180° South, the Competition includes three feature and two short films on mountaineering, alongside the other 27 films that are taking part in the Alp&Ism category.

The Asgard Project directed by Alastair Lee sees UK mountaineer Leo Houlding and the US's Stanley Leary tackling the first free-climbing ascent of the North Tower of Mount Asgard on Baffin Island at the heart of the Arctic Circle. Houlding will be one of the Festival's special guests and will be sharing his extreme climbs with the audience at the Santa Chiara Auditorium on 5 May.

The Swiss Ueli Steck and his big-wall speed climbs star in US director Peter Mortimer's The Swiss Machine. Ruedy Beglinger, a Swiss mountain guide who moved to the virgin mountains of British Columbia, features in A Life Ascending; his world is shattered by a tragic avalanche that costs seven members of his expedition their lives. In Declaration of Immortality, the extraordinary vision of Polish director Martin Koszalka recounts the refusal of his countryman Piotr "Mad" Korczak, one of the world's greatest climbers, to give into time and the inevitable decline it brings. To prove that this genre is full of surprises, we will see how an expedition into the extreme areas of the world can also be the backdrop for a love story, as happens in What Happened on Pam Island, starring mountaineers Eliza Kubarska and David Kaszlikowski.

The 27 films in the Competition will be judged by an International Jury, which comprises US director, photographer and mountaineer David Breashears, French ethnologist and documentary-maker Marianne Chaud (winner of last year's Festival with Himalaya, le chemin du ciel), Finnish documentary-maker Leena Pasanen, Italian videoreporter Giorgio Fornoni and Alto Adige director Andreas Pichler.

 

Destinazione...Finlandia

With its new category Destinazione...,  the TrentoFilmfestival invites its audience to discover a country or a region whose cinema looks at the themes covered by the Festival.

Finland, a country caught between tradition and modernity, nature and technology, produces some of Europe's finest films, especially documentaries, as the success of Finnish films at international festivals has shown.

This journey across Finland is sponsored by the Finnish Embassy in Italy and by VisitFinland, the country's national tourist board, and in association with the Finnish Film Foundation.

All of the 11 films in this category are recent releases and have won prizes at international festivals; many of them are also receiving their Italian premiere. Some of the ones to watch are Freetime Machos by director Mika Ronkainen, a humorous look at the misadventures of the world's most northerly rugby team; Steam of Life, a journey through the saunas of Finland where men cleanse their bodies and minds, and swap stories about life, love, death, childhood and friendship; and box-office comedy smash Lapland Odyssey about the adventures of three layabouts in the endless Lapland landscape.

Italian films

In addition to films from major international festivals, the TrentoFilmfestival is also a showcase for homegrown talent, which this year is strongly represented in the Competition and in the other categories.

Armin Linke's Alpi will be competing alongside Yuri Ancarani's Il capo, Italy's current biggest international success, which is filmed in the marble quarries of the Apuan Alps. Isabella Sandri and Giuseppe Gaudino's Per questi stretti morire featured in the Orizzonti category in last year's Venice Film Festival and portrays the life of celebrated missionary and explorer Father Alberto Maria de Agostini. Directors Andrea Fenoglio and Diego Mometti, who were discovered by the Festival, make a welcome return with Il popolo che manca, a documentary on the depopulation of the Cuneo mountains. Others to watch out for include Cielo senza terra by Giovanni Maderna and Sara Pozzoli, and the surprising short Non si può nulla contro il vento by Milan-Berlin artist collective Flatform.

 

The Magic of 3D

Herzog's Cave of Forgotten Dreams is not be the only 3D film to be screened at the TrentoFilmfestival 2011: Nanga Parbat by director Joseph Vilsmaier retells the tragic story of Reinhold Messner, who lost his brother Gunther in a 1970 expedition. This 3D version adds an extra touch of excitement to the film's landscape and scenes. Messner won the SNGGI ‘Luciano Emmer' and Audience prizes at last year's Festival.

 

 

The schedule for the 59th TrentoFilmfestival will be available at www.trentofestival.it from mid-April.

For information on shows and events, call 0039 0461 986120.

For information on film screenings at Cinema Modena, call 0039 0461 260399.

For information on booking hotels and TrentoFilmfestival weekend and short breaks, call APT Trento Monte Bondone Valle dei laghi on 0039 0461 2160, or write to informazioni@apt.trento.it.  

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Chatelin Bruno
(Filmfestivals.com)

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