Dutch Mountain Film Festival #13 – news digest

Read about all the highlights from this year’s festival here

Sunday 5 November

Awards Evening

The Awards Evening in Heerlen on Sunday rounded off what has been a scintillating six days of film and fun. “You guys are crazy!” commented Roberto Zazzara one of the award winners on the night adding, “you should organise the Oscars!” He probably wasn’t far wrong. The stage was decked out in mountain-hut paraphernalia and compere for the evening was the-one-and-only Jeroen Daemen, ably assisted by wannabe host Jesse van Luxzenburg.
Zazzara won the 2023 Best Newcomer Award for his film ‘Carne et Ossa’

Check out all the winners below!

Book presentation

For those preferring indoor adventure, there was plenty to be had in the Royal on Sunday afternoon. The film Everest by those who were there was followed by some more Himalayan tales. Maarten Faas was guest of the DMFF and came to talk with Max Hermans about his forthcoming biography about Philips Christiaan Visser one of the Netherlands’ foremost explorers who travelled widely in the Karakoram in the early 20th century. Afterwards books could be pre-ordered at the DMFF bookstore in the foyer.

Summit 2 Summit ride

It has to be said, we’ve had better weather conditions for our annual Summit 2 Summit ride (but, then again, we’ve also had worse). So the feats accomplished by Sunday’s cyclists on their 140-kilometre spin from the Royal Theater to Mont Rigi (694 m) and back can be considered truly intrepid. “It was wet and cold,” said one of the organisers along the route. After a seven-hour epic, the first cyclists  arrived back at base camp in Heerlen around 4 pm.

Awards Walk

Those who made the 25-kilometre cross-border trek from the Apollo to the Royal set off bright and early in Aachen. Like their cycling counterparts on the S2S ride, they too had to brave the elements. At 3 o’clock sharp, the group crossed the municipal boundary proclaiming. “We’re almost there!”

Awards Trail Run

Around the halfway mark, the Awards Walkers were overtaken by the trailrunners , who departed later from Aachen and arrived in Heerlen some time before the hikers. Despite being exposed to the harsh weather conditions for less time, they too put in a hardy performance.

Kudos to all sports enthusiasts!

Saturday 4 November

Summit Saturday in the Royal

Although there were plenty of side events taking place elsewhere during the day, the film programme in the Royal on Summit Saturday took centre stage. Many of the films screened over the course of the day were followed up by an on-stage Q&A session with the filmmaker, such as director Ignasi López Fàbregas (photo, centre) who came to talk about his film Egoland.

Zuid-Limburg Safari

Safaris usually conjure up images of warmer climes, but in Zuid-Limburg on a chilly Saturday morning in November? Yes, it’s possible! A group of hardy hikers joined the walk organised by the DMFF and Land van Kalk to find out more about the unique landscape of Zuid-Limburg under the expert guidance of a ranger. The 8-kilometre walk ended with local wine and vlaai at the Kunradesteengroeve (the only stone quarry still working in these whereabouts), where participants were treated to a screening of Mergel, an ode in black and white to the magical beauty of a marlstone quarry.


In the hunt for the mysterious Yeddi, younger cinema-goers were treated to the film Everest, the young Yeti in the cosy surroundings of the Bergzicht 2.0 auditorium. The film tells of an epic adventure by three teenagers and a young yeti who travel to the the roof of the world.

Friday 3 November

The Friday Night Horror Show

Friday night was horror night in the Royal with the much-awaited Horror & Freak Friday. There was a genteel start to the film programme with Canadian Caveman Bill in the limelight, followed by the jaw-dropping Carne et Ossa, a tale of mountain folk who put themselves through is a very special kind of pain: could you run down a mountainside of jagged rocks in barefeet?

With Mad Heidi, during the second half of the evening there were no holds barred with plenty of blood and guts and murder by melting cheese! 

Friday in Aachen

Friday evening at the Apollo in Aachen started with the inspiring film, Life is Climbing. As part of the mountain literature programme (Bergen&Boeken), poet Christoph Wenzel then gave a literary presentation with a reading of his poems Nodes from the festival anthology Overal op deze wilde wereld.

Unfortunately, due to technical problems, it was not possible to screen No Dogs or Italians Allowed and this was replaced on the programme by Carne et Ossa (available only in Italian with no subtitles). We would like to apologise again for this. Anyone inconvenienced by this change in programming should send an email to festival@dmff.eu.

Industry Day

The Royal histed CineSud Industry Day on Friday, an all-day event where professional and up-and-coming filmmakers come together to take part in talks, masterclasses, panel discussions and the Limburg Film Pitch. Director of the film Carne and Ossa, Roberto Zazzara was on hand to provide some additional inspiration for those present.

Thursday 2 November

On Thursday night, it was Heerlen’s turn for its first screening of the festival. The Royal cinema formed the backdrop for Le Otto Montagne, or The Eight Mountains, a moving story about friendship in the mountains. The film is adapted from the book of the same name by Italian author, Paolo Cognetti. Prior to the screening, there was a Q&A session with Yond Boeke, the Dutch translator of the book. The interview was part of the DMFF’s mountain literature programme, Boeken&Bergen.

The Apollo in Aachen hosted a second evening of films on Thursday night, with an exhilarating mix of films on the bill for the first half. Egoland, Packrafting the Alps, Reinhard Karl and Contraire provided a fusion of adrenaline and a healthy dose of laughter. Contraire director Holger Wimmer and sound man Johannes Wimmer shared their stories of making the film with an enthusiastic audience. For the second half of the evening, Mad Heidi added to the Halloween atmosphere. All in all a varied and entertaining evening.

Thursday 2 November

Safari supper and opening of exhibition: A quest for silence within colours

With visual artist Emeline Galhac acting as chef for the evening, a group of inquisitive foodies were treated to a safari supper of special Japanese dishes. This year’s theme of Risk was particularly appropriate during the epicurean peregrinations as visitors had to be particularly on guard for falling trees on what was a ferociously windy afternoon!

Eventually, everyone reached Villa Eikhold safe and sound for the opening of the Quest for Silence within Colours exhibition by Femke Habets. Her series of meditative drawings inspired by Japanese Suiseki can be seen in the Villa until 12 November.

Wednesday 1 November

Opening night in Aachen

The Aachen film programme kicked off in the Apollo cinema on Wednesday evening. The first half of the evening dealt with the DMMF’s theme for this year’s festival: Risk. Check your Risk and To the hills & back are two films which show how devastating avalanches can be. In a Q&A session which followed, mountaineering instructor Werner Winkhold from the German Alpine Club (DAV) recalled a moment in the mountains when his own life had been put on the line. In the second half of the evening viewers were treated to two thought-provoking films about the uncertain futures that face Alpine dwellers: The Last Skiers and Alpenland.

Tuesday 31 October

Opening night at Hub.Kerkrade

Tuesday night was Opening Night in HuB.Kerkrade! Heinrich Brötz, council executive for culture in Aachen delivered an opening address and proceedings got underway with Kerkrade’s mayor, Petra Dassen, ringing the traditional cowbell, heralding in five days of festival fun.

Slovenian artists Lea Vučko and Damir Grbanovič were in attendence to view their stunning short animation film, The Legend of Goldorn, based on a old Slovenian folk tale. The ambassador of Slovenia to the Netherlands, was also on hand to open the artists’ interactive exhibition of the same name in HuB.Kerkrade’s library after the main show.

White Out

There was no doubt who stole the show on opening night: White Out is a spectacular dance show performed and choreographed by Piergiorgio Milano, together with fellow dance performers, Luca Torrenzieri and Linus Jansner. The threesome pull off some amazing stunts and ‘dance’ sequences as they reel and whirl across the ‘frozen’ stage in a seemingly hopeless battle against the unrelenting whiteness of the mountains.

Monday 30 October

There was another prelude to the festival on Monday, when the film, Life is Climbing was screened at Adelante, a rehabilitation centre in Hoensbroek. Patients had been invited to come and watch this documentary film about the blind world paraclimbing champion. Afterwards there was a discussion with experts in the field of disability sports. All together an inspirational evening!

The film Life is climbing will be shown again on Saturday 4 November 4 at 5 pm in the Royal.

Sunday 29 October

Two days before the official opening on Tuesday 31 October, the DMFF quietly got off to a start on Sunday afternoon in the atmospheric surroundings of Aachen’s Karlsgarten when the exhibition ‘Steine zum Staunen’ with sculptures by Leo Horbach was declared open. As if by magic, the rain clouds dissipated just in time for Leo to give visitors a personal tour of his amazing sculptures. Come and see it for yourself!