The Dutch Mountain Film Festival is an international event which takes place every year in the most densely populated part of North-west Europe in a country known for its overwhelming flatness. However, this mountain film festival is organised in a region of the Netherlands where the mountains begin. South Limburg lies at the northern extremity of an extensive upland are, sometimes referred to as the Rhenish Massif. This massif stretches across parts of German, Belgium and Luxembourg, but also takes in the south-eastern corner of the Netherlands (Limburg). It’s here that the DMFF will be presenting a complete programme of films whose genres include classic mountain films, documentaries and feature films.
Some will be introduced by the lead actors, the film directors and experts in the field of (mountain) film. There will be a week-long presentation of films, lectures and performances and workshops for students and professionals. At the DMFF, the artistic meaning of landscape in film and visual art, the technical aspects associated with filming under extreme conditions, the planning of film projects and scriptwriting, and writing travelogues take centre stage. The highlight of the week-long festival is the weekend when Museumplein Limburg hosts the DMFF and the DMFF Award(s) are presented. The three museums which occupy the Museumplein Limburg will be home to the DMFF photography exhibition and interactive mountain films.
THE MOUNTAIN FILM
One of the biggest dilemmas that art has grappled with since the age of Romanticism has been the tension that exists between man and nature. To what extent are our representations of nature actually ‘natural’? Can people ever eliminate the traces of their own presence? In fact, is there even such a thing as objective nature photography or film, when someone always has to be there to create it? As a human being, you can never escape humanity, not even when you’re alone. Move a few steps away from the frame showing the purity of nature, and there’s a whole film crew doing their job… The mountain film, as a genre, has faced this tension since the emergence of cinema itself, with people in direct confrontation with wild, untamed nature. That tension reveals itself in different ways in all the outputs within the genre. Using mountainous worlds to represent the heights of purity, the genre explores every sort of landscape, including imaginary or alien ones.
Landscape occupies a central place for the DMFF. The tension that exists between man and nature has provided an inexhaustible source of inspiration for artists over many centuries. It’s about the appeal of the wild, the indomitable and the unknown for mankind. Film-makers have been trying to capture the wildness of nature since the emergence of cinema, often under the most extreme circumstances. Stories situated on bleak mountainous terrain are given extra depth by the sweeping backdrops and the constantly lurking threats. The city dweller of today yearns for that kind of untouched nature, preferably not too far from home. For film-makers, the hills of Limburg, the Eifel mountain range and the Ardennes provide a rich source of storytelling. As we become increasingly dependent on technology and find ourselves permanently digitally connected, the allure of disconnection and solitude in the natural world, well away from the trodden path is greater than ever. We long for stories of rugged adventures, super-human achievement and a conquering of the unknown, far beyond the safe boundaries of our everyday lives.
So it’s no wonder that DMFF is reaching far beyond its Limburg home. An international outlook and an acceptance of open borders is in its DNA. If you live on the border, knowing your neighbours and their culture is second nature. So instead of presenting obstacles, borders throw up opportunities, for working and creating things together without any bounds. This is what Limburgers do and so too the DMFF.
Initiative: Thijs Horbach, Toon Hezemans
Organisation: Stichting Moving Mountains and Filmhuis de Spiegel
In cooperation with:VVV Zuid Limburg, DAV-Aachen, Op Pad, Scouting Don Bosco, 1000 jaar Vijlen Heerlen, Respect the Mountains, Cinesud, Schunck, NKBV, IBA-Parkstad, Museumplein Limburg, Limburgs Museum, Apollo-Kino en Connect Limburg.
Advice and selection of photos: Paul Lahaye Photography
Website: The Web Project
Technical support and DMFF trailer: Jeroen Daemen, Upendi
English translations: Andrew Davies, Chapter & Verse
The DMFF is affiliated to the International Alliance for Mountain Film..
Here you can find a summary of the mountain films shown at the DMFF and the > DMFF Awards from previous festivals.
The highest art cinema in the Netherlands helped launch the DMFF and has been our partner its earliest beginnings.
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