Director - Bernhard Braunstein

“Passion for Achievement” is the motto of the Stams ski boarding school in the Tyrolean Alps. The goal of this elite training ground housed in a modern glass-and-concrete building on the side of a mountain is: the Olympics. “All people are equal in dignity, but not in talent,” says the priest at the school church service. These fearless and hard-working young people are expected to give their all. Bernhard Braunstein observes this young skiing elite with total focus over the course of one school year, following their strict daily training regimen in which their bodies are meticulously measured, documented and optimised with the aid of machines. Students swish through school and across the slopes in outfits sponsored by pasta manufacturers, insurance companies and mobile phone providers. The pressure is full-on and injuries are a daily occurrence. EU institutions, cruciate ligament operations, doping and Kierkegaard are all covered in the classroom. In between: teenage life. Laughing fits in the showers, improving one’s DJ skills and gossiping with roommates. As they strain away in the leg press, endure trainers’ bullying or engage in conspiratorial conversations with friends, the faces of the protagonists reveal complex emotions.