DMFF Award Winners 2023

During the Awards Show at the 13th Dutch Mountain Film Festival on 5 November 2023, the winners of the seven DMFF Awards were announced:

  • Winner of the Crossborder DMFF Award 2023 is Utama by Alejandro Loayza Grisi.
  • The Parkstad Limburg Jury Award for 2023 goes to No dogs or Italians allowed by Alain Ughetto.
  • The Royal Best Newcomer Award 2023 has been won by Carne et Ossa by Roberto Zazzara.
  • The DAV Climate Award 2023 likewise goes to Utama by Alejandro Loayza Grisi.
  • The Best Mountaineering Film Award 2023 is Egoland by Ignasi López Fàbregas.
  • A special commendation goes to Reinhard Karl – Die Kunst, einen Berg zu besteigen by Tom Dauer.
  • The Filmhub Zuid (youth ) Award once again goes to Utama by Alejandro Loayza Grisi.

Crossborder DMFF Award 2023 – Grand Prize

Utama – Alejandro Loayza Grisi

The film Utama definitely deserves any prize. Quiet, slow and thoughtful storytelling with wonderful visuals and sound arrangement tells us about a simple life of an aging couple living with a herd of llamas in a desert landscape of a Bolivian highlands.

In many respects the jury considers this film to be the very essence of a “mountain film”. The external severity of the environment and characters as such is opposed by unconditional internal tenderness and love for the surrounding space and way of life.

The three main characters, without falling into clichés, create their own worldview, imperceptibly combining/intertwining sagas and preambles, tradition and modernity, and ways of adapting to climatic conditions.

This movie by Alejandro Loayza Grisi is simply beautiful to watch and to follow the thoughtful action.

The DMFF Crossborder Award is sponsored by Gemeente Heerlen and Stadt Aachen.


Parkstad Limburg Jury Award 2023

No dogs or Italians allowed – Alain Ughetto

Now the name of the festival makes it pretty clear; it’s the “Dutch Mountain Film Festival” and not the “Dutch Mountaineering Film Festival”, so the audience and the jury get to enjoy anything that is related to “mountains” in the broadest sense of the word.

Throughout history peoples have been displaced, sometimes to seek out better circumstances and living conditions for themselves and / or their families, and sometimes out of sheer necessity. The mountainous regions occupy a special place in these histories since they are both natural barriers and hiding places. Mountains stand as a symbol of both solidarity and isolation.

In the opinion of the jury “No dogs or Italians allowed” is also a typical mountain film because of the humans that live with, in and next to the mountains. The filmmaker is a descendent of people whose lives were shaped by mountains and hardship and has found a unique way to use his creativity to honour their legacy. The jury was taken by the film’s playful use of the epochal genre. It made them recall a series of films of the genre – classics like “Gone with the Wind”, “War and Peace”, “A River Runs Through It”, “1900”…

“No dogs or Italians allowed” follows this tradition of monumental drama. But of all things, it does it with the help of the puppet theatre. It does not even hide all the details and methods of technical sophistication, but consciously keeps them in sight of the audience. The length of this entry must surely mean that it has taken years to complete this work of art, and for all these reasons we think, as such, it’s highly recommended.

The Parkstad Limburg Jury Award 2023 is sponsored by Stadsregio Parkstad Limburg

Royal Best Newcomer Award 2023

Carne et Ossa – Roberto Zazzara

As a viewer, be prepared to see and to feel the crazy story behind a mountain village tradition mixing madness and courage, tradition and belief, cruelty and religion, egoism and heroism. Miraculously, the brutal scenes of painful barefoot downhill running, filmed partially in slow black and white, are beautiful to watch. Feet sorting through leaves, bushes, stones, small river crossing… The sound you hear is just breathing and footsteps… As the world froze in anticipation of the race finale in front of the Madonna di Loreto altar… With a bell this frenetic race starts, rushing like a rolling stone from Pietra Spaccata rock down the mountain path to the village where the “blade runners” fall in front of the altar returning back to the world of pain… The first to enter the church wins the Race of the Gypsies.

Director Roberto Zazzara picks up his centuries-old practice of the Abruzzian village Pacentro as material for his documentary, which indeed turned out to be multilayered construction. Why do people do this? Because of tradition? Because of the trophy? The desire to be the first? To overcome their fears and weaknesses? To challenge oneself? To challenge nature? In search of a sense of identity and belonging? To be carried by the crowd on their shoulders? This kind of movie is not about what happens on the run, but what participants experience in their heads. Probably in some way they want to break out of routine, driven by desire for something extraordinary. Maybe the answer can be found in that one shot in which the camera changes its focus from the running humans to a colony of crawling ants on an old piece of wood.

DAV Climate Award 2023

Utama – Alejandro Loayza Grisi

A good film works on more than one layer. The first layer is obvious, it’s what we see and hear. The second is what we feel. But below those are the many layers of the story that emerge like Matryoshka dolls after you have seen the film. UTAMA has exactly that quality.

For example: there is the story of generational conflict, but also one about the tension between traditions and modernity. But cleverly woven in the tapestry of this story is our shared human fate in times of climate change. A story so big and loud that it’s not easy to find the right tone and approach. The jury was struck by the ways the filmmakers have been able to crack that code. They made a film that felt so timeless but at the same time was so incredibly topical and had a great sense of urgency because of the way it addresses the issue of climate change.

The world needs more films like this.

The DAV Climate Award is sponsored by Sparda Bank.

Best Mountaineering Film Award 2023

Egoland – Ignasi López Fàbregas

Finally, a stop-motion which wins the DMFF Best Mountaineering Film Award!

In all those years of the Dutch Mountain Film Festival, productions with impressive mountain scenes, precipitous ice and rock walls or extremely hard climbing traverse passages have been to the fore. And now with dizzying drone shots too.

As a stop-motion film, Egoland proves that it is not about the cinematic spectacle, but how a story is told and the way that content is shown to the audience. Egoland shows that this can be done by simple means. And it doesn’t even require spoken text.

Despite all its simplicity, this film is also extremely well structured in terms of climbing techniques and with a healthy dose of humour. Three cheers for this gem.

The Best Mountaineering Film Award is sponsored and selected by


Special commendation

Reinhard Karl – Die Kunst, einen Berg zu besteigen – Tom Dauer

Reinhard Karl was one of those bright stars who achieved an iconic status in the rich history of mountaineering.  Whereas the general public will remember him for being the first German national to climb Everest in 1978, in reality that is just a minor detail in the significance of his heritage.

Reinhard was active in a wide variety of climbing styles; 8000ers, alpine style, free climbing and big wall climbing.  Most importantly, however, he was convinced that “the summit” was only of secondary or even tertiary importance.  Where he pushed the limits – first UIAA-grade VII free ascent of the “Pumprisse” on the Fleischbank comes to mind – he also looked for a way to express his fascination for climbing in word and photography. Both of these helped cement his legendary status amongst climbers. His book “Erlebnis Berg: Zeit zum Atmen” is a highly sought after and contains images and texts that will leave you breathless.

Reinhard’s life was tragically cut short by an avalanche on Cho Oyu at the tender age of just 35 years. Tom Dauer’s work is a splendid little jewel that combines both of Reinhard’s arts; the photography and quotes are sheer poetry.  That is why the members of the jury of the 13th DMFF have decided that this beautiful tribute is absolutely deserving of a special mention.

The Filmhub Zuid (youth) Award:

Utama – Alejandro Loayza Grisi

The film we chose is a film that feels timeless. There’s a theme to find for everyone, but without telling a single one. The slow pace and photo-like images reflect the story and atmosphere perfectly, and the silence makes the emptiness in the middle of the surrounding mountains feel even bigger.
The unique setting makes this story the most relevant to be told.