Cameraman - Actor - Photographer


The Castle of Runkelstein. Photo by Helma Türk

For Riefenstahls "The Blue Light", as already mentioned, Walter Riml was the photographer and, in addition to cameraman Hans Schneeberger, also working as second cameraman.


 Leni Riefenstahl dreamed of shooting her "Blue Light" for a long time. It finally was realised in 1931 and took place in the Dolomites, in Swiss Tessin, the South-Tyrolean Sarntal and at Runkelstein castle near Bozen. As it is written in her memoirs, she worked with a low budget and a small film team consisting of close friends of her. 

 Walter Riml and Leni Riefenstahl first met in winter 1926/27 on the set of films "Gita - The Goat Girl” of the famous director of mountain films Dr. Arnold Fanck.

 Soon a friendship between Walter Riml and Leni Riefenstahl began. And she knew Walter as an already well-educated cameraman. Also because of his ability of having a very good eye for situations and portraits she asked him to work with her on her very first film " The Blue Light".


Harry Sokal, Franz Maldacea and Béla Balázs

Walter Traut was the production manager, Karl Buchholz the accounting clerk. Ski legend Rudi Matt was appointed as a grip and 19 years old Heinz von Jaworsky was quickly selected as a camera assistant.  Besides his friend Hans Schneeberger, who was also member of the "Freiburger Kameraschule", the legendary team of Arnold Fanck´s cameramen, Walter Riml worked as the second cameramen and still photographer in this film.

 Béla Balázs, Carl Meyer and Leni Riefenstahl wrote the screenplay. But Balázs also was on the set in Swiss Tessin and in the Dolomites working as a director. Today it´s nearly forgotten that he had a leading position for the success of the „Blue Light“! The movie was produced by Harry Sokal.


The world premiere of  "The Blue Light“ took place in Berlin on the 22nd of march 1932.


 The world famous portraits of Leni Riefenstahl as "Junta" and also reams of “Making of” - photographs were taken by Walter Riml.


 As a good photographer he was able to put his self in the position of the mystic character and took out the beauty and special personality of Leni´s Junta in his photographs.


 Leni Riefenstahl must have had an emotional connection with these perceptive and expressive photos of Walter Riml all her life. As far as we know, her favourite one, his portrait of “Junta”, was in her house until she died.


 In our archive we have around 700 negatives of the shooting, most of them unpublished.

If you need photos, maybe for a film project or a publication, please get in contact for licensing with us.



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Impressum Texte © Helma Türk - Fotos Walter Riml © Dr.Christian Riml