Winner Films

Guillaume Broust
This humour-filled narrative that spans multiple categories, from nature and Alpinism to culture, is a crossover of safari and road movie with plenty of humour. Never seeming contrived, the film is poetic and philosophical in the very best sense. While following the protagonists’ adventures, the audience gains deep insights into the multi-layered culture of the inhabitants of Kyrgyzstan’s mountain regions. The adventure already begins before the riders reach their destination. Living their lives in the here and now and regarding themselves as equals with the locals, they succeed in establishing reference to history despite all the lightness. In terms of the film’s cinematics, the exceptionally well incorporated music and the perfect sound design with its captivating rhythm are worthy of a special mention. The stunning cinematography gives an impression of the vastness of this area, of which film footage is rare. Epic landscapes alternate with spectacular action shots, which grab the viewer’s attention with its skilfully placed cuts. You simply can’t stop marvelling and smiling! — Jury justification
Christina Zurbrügg & Michael Hudecek
This film combines incredible archive work with literary village comedy to stunning effect. It is an original, idiosyncratically told story about an Alpine village that spans a bridge from past to present. This is achieved by skilful narrative composition that draws on retro nostalgia without wallowing in it. A brilliantly formulated text, based on real people, humorously embraces village life, commentating amusing scenes and witty word creations. With an affectionate wink, the narrator, by now a well-travelled urbanite, looks back on life in her home village. Playing to our longing for childhood idyll, this “Heimatfilm” excels in its overall composition that makes use of archive material, language and music, accompanied by a soundtrack that can be likened in its freshness to a cinematic poetry slam. — Jury justification
Ignasi López Fàbregas
Every aspect of this elaborately made stop-motion film is well conceived and perfectly staged. The animated alpinists communicate non-verbally, the clever use of sound making the emotions and clichés easy to follow in this reduced narrative style. It is a playful, self-critical look – in effect a caricature – at the alpinist scene. The portrayal of feigned camaraderie and relentless competition in conquering the highest peaks is highly topical. It holds up a mirror to the current alpinist scene, in which heroism and hypocrisy are sometimes rife. — Jury justification
Bertrand Delapierre
Young, humorous, light-footed, fast-paced, dynamic, breathtaking in the truest sense of the word! A crazy group of lads takes a paraglider up to aviation altitude and enchants the audience with their playful use of the natural element of wind. The backdrop is the same as for high-altitude alpinism, but the approach is novel. Two “anchors” form the arc of suspense in this off-the-wall story: the incredible lightness of flying and the impressive sporting performance, with the protagonists prepared to take risks, but without undue doggedness. We experience extreme sports up close in an extreme landscape. — Jury justification
Yann Sochaczewski
With his brave decision to spotlight a single plant in a single location and make it the main character of an entire film, the director has taken on an extraordinary challenge. With its grandiose animal shots and the film music as an extended commentary, this production is a lesson in how to extract a parable-like story spanning about 200 years of life from a desert cactus. The biotope around the cactus, portrayed as a grand hotel for a wide variety of guests, is both backdrop and protagonist in a cycle of life and transience. In this western-style tale, the audience learns all about this surprising main character and its world in a playful, almost comically humorous way. This nature documentary’s edits are as masterfully done as its camera work. — Jury justification
Juha Suonpää
This magnificently archaic art film shines a spotlight on the connection between humans and nature. A dreary, desolate Finnish landscape takes on a new dimension – an XL format. The soundtrack and the exceptional visual language, which uses projections and wildlife cameras among its stylistic devices, creates a mystical, mysterious setting. The film’s protagonist has nature in his blood. Living within it and knowing nothing else, he leads the life of a hermit, bizarre in the depths of his to us unaccustomed way of life. An activist, he campaigns for the protection of the lynx, presenting the observer with existential questions about our modern lives. The lynx is a metaphor for all of nature, a friend in the process of disappearing. Despite all the Finnish romanticism, the question of whether we can stop the extinction of species remains. — Jury justification
Christina Zurbrügg & Michael Hudecek
The audience of Mountainfilm Graz voted "Wundersames Kiental" their favorite film. — Jury justification
Line van den Berg
With courage and poetry, the protagonist scrutinises the male-dominated alpine scene from a female perspective. Her search for identity and self reflects what many – not just women – seek in a society by which they do not feel accepted. With this award, the jury of Mountainfilm Graz 2023 honours an outstanding mountaineer who had a social agenda and who did not ask these questions merely for her own benefit. — Jury justification
Examining a subject from several angles gives it depth, and that is exactly where this film’s director has succeeded. Opulent images of nature show archaic animals, with modern science providing the background to their lives. Covering a wide variety of settings, the journey takes us from cave paintings to genetic engineering, from nature films to science. — Jury justification
This docudrama skilfully employs the stylistic device of re-enactment while at the same time interweaving the events on different levels. The captivating retelling of this tragic story makes the audience reflect on such topics as fate, survival and non-survival, and human failure. — Jury justification
Peter Mortimer
This professionally made, entertaining documentary impressively showcases an already extraordinary sporting achievement. The camera takes us right into the middle of the action on a rock face at 6000 metres, giving us visual perspectives that few have ever witnessed. The likeable pair of protagonists are the icing on the cake of this film. — Jury justification
Henry M. Mix
It takes the true professionalism of an experienced nature filmmaker to fully immerse an audience in the visual opulence of a world – with its diverse landscapes and changing seasons – without ever losing sight of the observed creatures. This is the ultimate film about bears. Ranging from the amusing “oops” moments in the animal nursery to dramatic hunting scenes, it shows us life and death in nature while also taking a critical look at how highly vulnerable this wild world is to climatic influences. — Jury justification
Can culture be experienced through landscape? The director of this formatted landscape documentary proves that it can. As the landscape’s translators, the portrayed characters convey life on the island complete with its history, not least through its music. Although clearly sympathetic towards the region, the film is not void of critical reflection on its own culture. — Jury justification
Marcin Tomaszewski
A poetic look at a hostile habitat, a mystical explanation – poetry. The inhabitants of this harsh landscape hold on to their stories and traditions. Their purchase on the road ahead stems not from modern life but rather from their own culture, which, as the film’s director shows us, is in peril. How long will it be able to survive? — Jury justification