From the Austrian countryside, where ancient folk tales are still told, comes the story of Krampus – Christmas demon of yore.
Krampus, a henchmen of Saint Nicholas, stalks from house to house on the night of December 5, known as Krampus Night, bringing swift justice and punishment to the naughty, sinful children of the land; beating them with birch whips, stuffing them in sacks, and dragging them down to the pits of hell.
Gigantic goat horns atop a harsh, gnarled face, long snake-like tongue, matted fur, twisted claws and cloven hooves; he towers at seven feet tall. Black, iron chains and cattle bells drag behind him lashed to his waist; creating an awful racket in the street that sends small children scampering for refuge, to pray Krampus will pass them by.
Each November, small towns and villages in Austria hold “krampuslaufs” or Krampus runs – remarkable parades of young men from surrounding villages donning elaborate Krampus costumes made of goat skins and horns, complete with intricately hand-carved, wooden masks. Backed by fire and elaborate pyrotechnics, they rampage through the streets with birch whips and cow bells, striking fear and delight into the hearts of small children, who then swear to be good ‘til Christmas.
Krampus: An Austrian Folk Tale, is a feature-length documentary that takes the viewer deep into the heart of Austrian and German folklore, to explore the mystery and origins of this ancient custom. From the beginning of the legend itself, to the creation of the costumes and riotous parades, Krampus will be discovered in all his fearsome glory.
Hannah grew up in the world of film and photography, working alongside her father Donald Jakubowski, in his camera store in New York City. Over the years, she has worked in the studios of photographers Lois Greenfield and Matt Karas, and is currently working in the film studios of Highline Stages, in Chelsea.
Coming from a Polish, Hungarian background, her love for Slavic culture and art grew while working in the photo department at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC. Hannah is passionate about exploring and uncovering the roots of Slavic/Eastern European culture and folk traditions through film.
D.B. Lloyd is a graduate of Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in Savannah, GA, where he received a B.F.A. in Film and Television Production, with a focus on directing and screenwriting. His first taste of film making came during his senior year of high school in 2001 as a stand-in on the set of We Were Soldiers starring Mel Gibson and he fell in love with the process; eventually leading to a short stint as an actor.
Over the last 10 years, Ben’s passion for filmmaking has come into full fruition as he made the transition from being in front of the camera to behind it. His list of credits include Writing, Directing, and Producing short-films (documentary and narrative) and music videos.
Expert mask carver. Born in 1980 and came, by chance, to mask carving at the age of 12. Now 35 years old, he is a self-employed, full-time mask maker who’s wares can be found throughout Austria, Germany, Switzerl and and Italy.
One of the most famous fairy tale and legend researchers in Germany. Born in 1935 in Ludwigsburg and studied German and folklore in Tübingen and Zurich. Today, at 80 years of age, she continues to hold seminarsand lectures on fairy tales and legends, participate in various radio programs, and is a storyteller at various institutes, universities, libraries and educational institutions.
Owners and operators of the largest Krampus store in Austria, the Karntner Shop. Stocking the largest supply of hand made pelts, bells whips and costumes in Austria. The couple met and fell in love at a Krampuslauf, shortly after they started a family and together founded the Karntner shop. In 2005, Melanie became one of the very first female Krampus with a mask carved by Miguel Walch.
Gaichtpass Krampus, is a more traditional Krampus troupe hailing from Weissenbach am Lech, a village in Reutte Tyrol. Lead by Obmann Rene Weirather the troupe consists of over 40 members and was founded by Rene in 2005. Each year Gaichtpass puts on a brilliant display with masterfully carved masks by Miguel Walch, animal hide costumes, stilt walkers and fire, as they travel from village to village to participating in various Krampus Laufen through out Austria.
Krampus group from Serfaus Austria. Arga Tuifl is one of the premier Krampus groups in Austria today. They formed in 2010 and currently have over 60 members, including a Hexe who they are known for. Each year, Arga Tuifl hosts a spectacular Krampus lauf in their town of Serfaus, attended by visitors from many other villages and drawing troupes from all across Austria who come to participate.