A film by Robert Cibis and Lilian Franck
AT/DE, 2009, 90 min

is an enticing but flawed character study of a Viennese piano tuner and technician.

"The tone isn't breathing." - complains pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard, distraught. This is a typical sentence in Steinway & Sons' chief technician and Master Tuner Stefan Knüpfer's normal work day. Each piano has its own personality, each piece demands its own timbre, and every interpretation has a particular temperament.

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.


Awards and nominations:

German Film Award: Best Sound Design 2011
San Francisco Int'l Film Festival: Golden Gate Award
International Filmweekend Würzburg: Audience Award
Diagonale 09 Graz: Best Editing
Highly Recommended rating in Germany
Filmfestival Lünen: Lüdia Zuschauerpreis
Nominated for the European Film Award, category European Film Academy Documentary 2009 – Prix Arte
Winner of the Prix SRG SSR idée suisse/Semaine de la Critique at the 62nd Film Festival Locarno

Locarno International Film Festival
Semaine de la Critique

The Jury, composed of André Ceuterick/Belgium, Marisa Marzelli/Switzerland and Markus Wille/Liechtenstein presents the SRG SSR idée suisse/Critic’s Prize, to the value of 8.000 chf to:


"Unanimously, the jury decided to award PIANOMANIA. Robert Cibis and Lilian Franck were able to present an exciting and passionate film, even though the subject does not seem very cinematographic at first sight. A refreshing insight into the secrets of the mysterious work of a piano-technician is provided. The relationship between artist and technician is visualised in a humorous and energetic way, their love for music above all. The film also represents a tribute to classical music. We hope that this film will find a large audience in cinemas!"

Association Suisse des Journalistes cinematographiques ASJC
Stefan Knüpfer
Lang Lang
Julius Drake
Christoph Classen
Till Fellner
Pierre-Laurent Aimard
Alfred Brendel
Geiger & Pianist
Tobias Lehmann
Director: Lilian Franck, Robert Cibis
Director of Photography: Jerzy Palacz
Editing:Michelle Barbin
Recording Engineer Dialogue: Sabine Panossian
Recording Engineer Music: Benedikt David, Ina Nikolow
Sounddesign: Niklas Kammertöns
Mixdown: Ansgar Frerich
Score: Mathhias Petsche
Production: WILDart FILM, Oval Filmemacher GBR
Producers: Ebba Sinzinger, Vincent Lucassen, Robert Cibis, Lilian Franck
supported by:
ORF Film / Fernsehabkommen, Filmfonds Wien, Kultur Steiermark - Cinestyria Filmkunst