A curtain, a shadow, one dancing hand, and then another: Tischa Thomas stages her performance. She pushes herself into the frame bit by bit, with flowing movements, to the rhythm of the music. Right before our eyes, “The Tigress” emerges from the individual body parts. She’s a performer of the first order, full of ambition, who challenges herself every day, whose dream is to have a number 1 spot as a bodybuilder. Philipp Fussenegger and co-director and DoP Dino Osmanović accompany 47-year-old Tischa to bodybuilding competitions in the USA and Romania and show her training sessions: “Look at you. Look what you’ve done. Look what you’ve created. Do you like that? And I will say to myself in the mirror: Yeah, I do like this. […] I like what I have created.”

“The Tigress” however does not exist in a vacuum, but rather in many different contexts. She tells the story of her transformation from a severely overweight mother of three into a goddess. “Girls have muscles,” she declares to her grandchildren, and paints the nails of one of them with glitter nail polish so that they look like Grandma’s. She also has an intimate relationship with Ed, her loyal buddy, who accompanies her everywhere. Tischa earns her living as a model and a dominatrix, where a “muscle worship session” brings in a few hundred dollars. On the street she is often exposed to verbal attacks, which she fends off with an equal amount of vehemence. Tischa’s appearance challenges the concept of femininity that the cisgender normative environment still considers normal. (“It’s going to change the way women look at themselves … forever”, Gloria Steinem had promised in 1985 on the occasion of “Pumping Iron II: The Women”.)

I AM THE TIGRESS fights for and with Tischa for acceptance and freedom. And when she tears her wig off her head, when she sings “The Eye of the Tigress (!)” in a karaoke bar, and towards the end, when she floats in the sea, carried along by the blue of the water, her head held high, relaxed, those are the times when, for a fleeting moment, she is truly free.

(Text: Sylvia Szely, Translation: John Wojtowicz)


Philipp Fussenegger

Fussenegger is an Austrian screenwriter, director and producer. In 2010, he successfully finished his Bachelor of Arts in Directing in Salzburg. He went on to study at the Cologne Academy of Media Arts where he shot his highly acclaimed diploma film “Henry”. He received the First Steps Award 2016 and was nominated for the Austrian Film Award 2017.
In 2016, he wrote the comedy TV series “Die Schilehrer” and directed the pilot “Geld spielt keine Rolex” which can both be seen on Amazon Prime.
He has also directed numerous short films.
Fussenegger achieved his first success as a producer with the medium-length diploma feature “Main Man”. “Main Man” was most recently awarded the Max-Ophül-Prize 2018 for Best Medium Length Film and was also nominated for the Austrian Film Prize 2019. Philipp Fussenegger is a member of the German Film Academy.


Dino Osmanovic

Osmanovic was born in Doboj, Bosnia, but moved to Austria at the age of 7. He completed his studies in Multi Media Art at the University of Applied Sciences in Salzburg, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree. During his studies, he spent an Erasmus semester at the Film Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. He went on to study cinematography at the Munich Academy of Television and Film in 2010 where he completed his diploma. In recent years, he has worked on numerous films as a cinematographer including “Jenny”, which was nominated for the German Short Film Award, and “Kreatura”, which was nominated for the Golden Frog Award for Feature Length Documentary at Camerimage 2017. He also worked as cinematographer on the insider documentary “Germania” which went on to be distributed in German cinemas. His latest work “Saudade” won the IDFA Award (Student Section) in Amsterdam.

His past work with Funfairfilms as cinematographer include“Henry” which was awarded the First Steps Award and nominated for the Austrian Film Prize and “Main Man” which won the Max-Ophüls-Preis 2018 and was nominated for the Austrian Film Prize. “I Am The Tigress” is his directing debut. Since May 2019, Osmanovic has been working as an artistic and scientific assistant at the University of Television and Film Munich in the Institute for Cinematography.


Michael Steinwand

During his master studies at the University of Cologne in Theatre, Film and Television Science, Ethnology and Sinology, he completed two semesters abroad at the Film Academy Beijing / China. In 2013, he completed his studies in subject areas of the Hong Kong cinema of Wong Karwais, the history of stereoscopic 3D film and transcultural documentary film. In 2015, he completed the Master Class in Non-Fiction at the International Film School in Cologne.

Since 2011, he has worked as a producer and production manager for various film productions. In 2017, he joined Funfairfilms as executive producer for “Main Man”. He is the producer for the documentary film project “I Am The Tigress”.



Landkammer received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Multi Media Art at Salzburg in 2010. From 2011 to 2014, she worked for Peter R. Adam as an assistant editor. She has been a freelance film and video editor since 2014. Judy Landkammer’s first feature film “The Misandrists” celebrated its world premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2017. Her film project “Main Man” premiered at the 2018 Max Ophüls Film Festival where it won the jury prize for Best Mid Length Film and was nominated for the Austrian Film Award 2019. She co-founded COVEN BERLIN in 2013, a queer feminist artists collective and online platform, that has exhibited in institutions like neue Gesellschaft der bildenden Kunst (Berlin), Schwules Museum (Berlin), and Municipal Gallery Arsenal (Poznań). Over the past years, she has worked multiple times with directors and artists such as Bruce LaBruce, Matt Lambert and Philipp Fussenegger (currently “I Am The Tigress”).


THE TIGRESSTischa Thomas
EddEdward Zahler
Steve Steve Scibelli
FAMILYJasmine Acevedo
Pharaoh Acevedo
Lucciano Acevedo
Indigo Acevedo


DIRECTORPhilipp Fussenegger
CO- DIRECTORDino Osmanovic
CAMERADino Osmanovic
EDITORJudy Landkammer
PRODUCERPhilipp Fussenegger
Michael Steinwand
MUSICMario Batkovic
SOUND DESIGNMoritz Kerschbaumer
TITEL DESIGNLinus Baumschlager
COLOR GRADINGDaniel Hollerweger
Lukas Hablitzel
GUITARDominik Baumgartner
VIOLADavid Schnee


Kunst und Kulturförderung der Vorarlberger Landesregierung
Die Film- und Medienstiftung NRW
Hessenfilm und Medien
German Film DistributionFOUR GUYS Film Distribution
International Film Distributionsixpackfilm


*NOMINATION*Filmfestival Max Ophüls Preis (Saarbrücken, Deutschland)JANUARY 17. -24. 2021
*NOMINATION*DIAGONALE – FESTIVAL OF AUSTRIAN FILM (Documentary Film Competition, Graz, Austria)JUNI 8. – 13. 2021
*WINNER: BEST DOCUMENTARY FILM 2021*PFF Vienna - PORN FILM FESTIVAL VIENNA (Documentary Film Competition, Wien, Austria)OCTOBER 6. - 10. 2021


FUNFAIRFILMS office@funfairfilms.com
FOUR GUYS Film Distribution FOUR GUYS Film Distribution
D.Utz, M.Schwimmer, M.Rößler, E.Lluca GbR
Stresemannallee 63
D - 60596 Frankfurt am Main
sixpackfilm sixpackfilm
Neubaugasse 45/13
A - 1070 Vienna

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