The Dutch Mountain Film Festival is an international film festival intended for a wide audience themed around ‚mountains‘. The theme encompasses everything from people literally in the mountains to figuratively moving them. The theme accommodates a diverse programme that presents myriad topics: mountain dwelling cultures, a variety of mountain sports, nature, lifestyle, ecology, history and drama. One of the major dilemmas that art has grappled with since Romanticism is the tension 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.
CROSSBORDER MOUNTAIN FILM FESTIVAL
In the most densely populated part of north-western Europe and the flattest country we are hosting a mountain film festival where the mountains start at the edge of a unique and cross-border nature reserve: the Rhenish Massif. This low mountain range encompasses Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and a small part of the Netherlands (Limburg). Here the DMFF will present an extensive, cross-border film programme that includes historical mountain films, documentaries and feature films. The films will be introduced by leading actors, film-makers and experts on mountain-related and other films. It will be a full week of films, presentations, lectures and workshops aimed at students and professionals. These events will focus on the art-historical relevance of landscape in film and visual arts, the technical aspects of filming in difficult conditions, preparing film projects and scripts and creating travelogues. The highlight of the festival will be the weekend during which the DMFF will be hosted by the Museumplein Limburg for the presentation of the CROSSBORDER DMFF Awards. Museumplein Limburg’s three museums (Columbus, Cube and Continium) will also be showing the DMFF photo exhibition and interactive mountain films. The Cube Design Museum will draw parallels between mountain films and mountain sports.
Landscape plays a central role at the DMFF. The tension between man and nature has been an inexhaustible source of inspiration for artists over the 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 plenty of stories worth telling. 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.
It’s fitting that the DMFF uses Limburg as a base for crossing boundaries. Internationally-minded thinking and trading, and playing with borders is part of Limburg’s DNA. When you live on the border in Limburg, it’s second nature. To know your neighbours‘ ways is to know their culture. Border mean opportunities, not obstacles. Opportunities to create something. To work together across borders. This is what Limburgers do, and what the DMFF does, too.
Initiative: Thijs Horbach, Toon Hezemans
Organisation: Stichting Moving Mountains and Filmhuis de Spiegel
In cooperation with:VVV Zuid Limburg, DAV-Aachen, Nightscapes Productions, 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 photo selection: Paul Lahaye Photography
Website: The Web Project
Technical support and DMFF trailer: Jeroen Daemen, Upendi
English translations: Andrew Davies, Chapter & Verse
The DMFF is a member of the International Alliance for Mountain Film..
An overview of all films screened at the DMFF and the > DMFF Awards of previous editions.
The arthouse cinema in the foothills of the Reinish Massive and cofounder and partner of DMFF.
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