"The Silent Mountain" by Ernst Gossner

Trentino Film Commision + BLS Südtirol-Alto Aldige + Filmfonds-Wien

The Silent Mountain is a movie about love and war set in the territory of the former Austrian-Hungarian Empire. With a story set in the Dolomite Mountains between Austria and Italy it was a natural co-production opportunity. Therefore, the three regions of Trentino, Alto Adige and Tyrol joined their logistical and financial forces to tell a story set in a period when there where no borders between them. Among several other financially involved organisations three Cine-Regio member funds were involved in the production.

The film’s story opens in 1915, in the early stages of World War I. A young Tyrolean, Andreas, and Francesca, a 17-year-old Italian girl from the neighboring Dolomites have fallen in love. However, their growing love affair is suddenly interrupted when Italy declares war on Austria and Andreas is drafted into the army. The Alpine border region soon becomes the backdrop for a tragedy that divides families, makes enemies out of neighbors, and separates lovers.

The story is a work of fiction, but it is rooted in authentic stories from the dolomites during the war. A war that tore the regions apart and left many problems, rivalry and hate in its wake. Luca Ferrario, head of the Trentino Film Commission, also says that because of this history “it is particularly wonderful and significant that these three regions have recovered, and can work together and cooperate on a movie like this.”

Part of the movie was filmed in the area of Passo della Mendola, which lies at the border between Trentino and Alto Aldige. Some of the war scenes were filmed at a war museum between Bolzano and Belluno where reconstructed trenches and tunnels could be used. The more violent action scenes were shot in a canyon during seven days in the Austrian Tyrol.

In such a cross-regional production the hiring of crew posed a challenge. The production needed people who spoke both German and English, and had previous experience on international productions. The different regions and commissions involved required a certain number of people to be hired from specific regions. However, the diversity of the crew only connected the regions even more. The crew were trained and gained experience in international co-productions by learning from each other and their colleagues from the other regions. Christiana Wertz, head of the BLS Film Fund and Commission was also very satisfied with the use of local crew. But she also emphasizes that these types of requests regarding hiring of local crew by film commissions and funds can create challenges and slow things down. As the number of regions offering support to movies increase, these request will also only increase. Luca Ferrario, head of the Trentino Film Commission points out that you should look at the story: “For a movie like this where the story requires the production to be shared, it makes sense to coordinate with others from the very beginning.”

Both Luca Ferrario and Christiana Wertz stresses healthy collaboration rather than competition for projects like this. Knowing that other organizations, like your own, have invested in a project reinforces your own conviction that it is going to be a success. By joining forces a project can become stronger.  

The production budget of The Silent Mountain was 4.5 million Euros. Cine-Regio member Filmfonds-Wien is one of several Austrian investors who have contributed with €3.0 million in total. The other two Cine-Regio member funds are BLS Südtirol-Alto Adige that have invested €550.000 and Trentino Film Commission that have invested €160.000.

The release of the movie is expected to be summer or fall of 2013.


Cine-Regio December 2012