Paul Cibis had known Stefan Knüpfer for a few years and told his brother, film maker Robert Cibis, numerous times how interesting his work as a piano technician is and how enthusiastically and captivatingly he can talk about it …
The idea to produce a film about Knüpfer’s life and his work with the different pianist personalities eventually resulted into the international awards winning documentary PIANOMANIA. As the co-initiator of the film Paul Cibis also worked as its music superviser during its filming and post production period.
PIANOMANIA takes the viewer along on a humorous journey into the secret world of sounds, and accompanies Stefan Knüpfer at his unusual job with world famous pianists like Lang Lang, Alfred Brendel, Rudolf Buchbinder and Pierre-Laurent Aimand, among others. To find the right instrument with the necessary qualities, compatible with the vision of the virtuoso, to tune it to perfection and finally to get it on the stage, needs nerves of steel, boundless passion, and the extraordinary competence in translating words into sounds.
This unusual film by Lilian Franck and Robert Cibis tells – with love and humor – of moments of absolute love of attention to detail and perfection. Pianomania observes, from unique angles, the suspenseful search for the perfect tone.
In May 2010 PIANOMANIA received the Golden Gate Award as best documentary at the 53rd San Francisco International Film Festival. In January 2010 PIANOMANIA received the audience award for the best documentary at the 36th International Filmweekend Würzburg. At the end of November 2009 PIANOMANIA received ‘the Lüdia’, first prize at the 20th Cinema Festival in Lünen, Germany. PIANOMANIA also received the award for “Best Editing” at the Diagonale Graz, Austria, was also nominated by the European Film Academy for its 22nd European Film Prize, and was chosen as the ‘Semaine de la critique’ in its section at the Locarno Film Festival in Switzerland. Most recently PIANOMANIA won the “Lola” prize of the German Film Academy 2011 for “Best Sound Design”.
(background picture © Oval Film)