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Apples and pears

Documentary, 78min, AT 2017

Apples and pears

"Man who harvests apples and pears feels the future"

Ever since she can remember, Traude, a farming woman and inn-keeper in Pinzgau, Salzburg, has been making the traditional Vogelbeerschnapps in her 400 year-old mountain hut. She’s hoping the younger generation will follow in her footsteps.

A neighboring farm with towering apple and pear trees is where the old-farmer, Franz, is making his well-known Obstlerschnapps. Although he and his wife, Franzi, handed the farm down to their son, Hannes, both are still struggling to let go.

On the other side of the lake `Zeller See’, mountain farmer, Andreas, has also handed down the farm to his son, Johannes, long ago. Nevertheless, he is still the one making all the schnapps, because Johannes doesn’t have time. Since Johannes can’t live on a farming income alone, he also needs to work as a plumber.

“Apples and Pears“ is a documentary about the archaic art of schnapps-making. Based on three farms, high up in the Austrian Alps, Richard Rossmann tells of the transitions within the daily lives of his hard-working characters, which focus solely around the preservation of their land.

„The meadows you can see from here, all the way down to the neighbor, belong to us. The farm is owned by the family since 1750. And over this mountain we have another farm.“, tells Hannes Hofer. He is junior farmer on Hub Farm. A mountain farm on the south side of Schüttdorf. From there you can look far into the valley of the Salzach river, all the way up to Kitzsteinhorn and down to Saalfelden with it’s Stoney Sea Mountain.
Behind the barn on quite a steep slope grow apple trees. They were planted by his grandfather. At Bruchgütl, their other farm, mountain pear trees tower high into the air. In late autumn the whole family helps harvesting their fruits. Schnapps out of them used to be made in the old days in one of the barns. Today they are distilling in the cow milking parlour. „Sure, it’d be great to have a separate Schnapps making hut but we just don’t have enough space up here on the mountain.“, says senior farmer Andreas who is still taking care of all the Schnapps making.

Oberhaus Farm nestles in solitude along the little forest track that leads from Gerling to Maishofen. Submontane Schwalbenwand. Since 7 generation it is owned by Franzi’s family. The last 3 generations women took over from the elderly. So did Franzi. Her husband Franz grew up in the valley of Glemm, not that from Oberhaus. He always wanted to work on a farm. That’s why he applied in 1967 for the free position as a farm hand on Oberhaus Farm. He got the job. Not much later, Franzi and Franz fell in love with each other and got married. Schnapps is made on Oberhaus Farm every year. Mostly in January when there is less work on the farm Franz is heating up the old distilling machinery. And all the family members give a helping hand. Also junior farmer Hannes, “We make Schnapps from all the fruits growing around the farm. Apples, pears, plums and rowan berries. And next year when the new barn will be ready, we’ll finally have a modern distilling hut.”, he says.

Schloss Kammer
Schloss Kammer was built in 1588. In the following centuries there were several different owners. In 1812 it was bought by family Neumayer. Today, already in their 8th generation, they are running farm and inn as a family business. Since the seventies all the Schnapps making has been taken care of by farming lady and inn keeper Traude. She came to Schloss Kammer in 1969 when she married Alois Neumayer. Each winter she distilles the fruits that grow in their orchards. Her favorite Schnapps is the rowan berry Schnapps from their own trees that grow in their alley. “Even though the rowan berry Schnapps is the most work of them all cause the berries shrivel up so much. But then again“, she says, “all the family members and our stuff have to help anyways.“

Director, Cinematographer & Editor:  Richard Rossmann
Production: Richard Rossmann Filmproduktion
Dramatic Advisor: Mona El Mansouri
Postproduction: Thomas Zipf
Music: Mario Dancso
Franz Egger
Score: Quartet Altimira

Bergfilmfestival Salzburg
Heimatfilmfestival Freistadt
Filmfestival Radstadt
Int. Bergfilmfestival Tegernsee
Bauernfilmfestival Neukirchen
Walser Herbst
Kino im Lohninghof
Programmkino Wels
Kultur Film Schloss Goldegg
Cinema Paradiso St. Pölten
Kino Saalbach
Kino Schloss Kammer
Kinowandertage Mühlviertel
Moviemento Linz
Öpfelschnitz Kultur Bludenz
Patschenkino Kufstein