EnergaCAMERIMAGE, the biggest and best cinematography festival in the world begins Saturday here in Torun. This post offers a glimpse of some of the films, seminars, workshops and other events during the festival.
Back to Torun
This year the festival is returning to the historic city of Torun, its 1993 birthplace. Camerimage (as it's known for short) spent the first 6 years in Torun, then moved to Lodz for a decade, then to Bydgoszcz for 9 years. During last year's closing ceremony, festival founder Marek Zydowicz took everyone by surprise when he announced that Camerimage was seeking a new home, because the local Bydgoszcz government reportedly reneged on an important partnership commitment.
It's been wonderful to see Camerimage grow over the years, and also to see it manage its growth, with a formidable organization headed by Kazik Suwala. Camerimage has strived to stay true to its spirit of egalitarian openness, while also attracting Hollywood celebrities -- this year they include Richard Gere, Edward Norton, Danny De Vito and Quentin Tarantino. Still the festival has maintained its mix of seminars and workshops open to every student and nightly invitation-only parties. Camerimage is still a festival where a student can go up to a world-famous cinematographer and ask a question about lighting.
The Main Competition
There are 13 features competing for the Gold, Silver and Bronze Frogs awarded for best cinematography. This year's selection includes 5 ASC cinematographers: Caleb Deschanel, Phedon Papamichael, Rodrigo Prieto, Lawrence Sher and recently admited member Xiaoding Zhao.
There are 6 American films, and one each from France, China, Czech Republic, Germany, Norway, Poland and the UK (looking at the key country involved in production). Put another way, that's 6 from the US, 6 from Europe and 1 from Asia. Latin America is represented by filmmakers Fernando Meirelles and César Charlone, ABC, working on an English-language film with British actors.
I look forward to seeing as many of these films as I can. I have seen Never Look Away, a German film loosely based on the artist Gerhard Richter. It's a great film about art and love, wonderfully lit by Caleb Deschanel, whose work on this project was also nominated for an Oscar.
There are 3 features I would have liked to have seen in the Main Competition. Two are screened in other categories: A Hidden Life by Terrence Malick with stunning images by Jorg Widmer (in Contemporary World Cinema) and Sunset by László Nemes with superb 35mm cinematography by Mátyás Erdély, HSC (but listed in Director's Debut?). The third film, Portrait of a Lady on Fire by the brilliant Céline Sciamma, with sophisticated cinematography by Claire Mathon, AFC, is absent from the festival, although there is another film shot by Claire: Atlantics (Director's Debut).
John Bailey, ASC, Lifetime Achievement Awardee
This year's Camerimage Lifetime Achievement Award goes to my friend John Bailey. I offer my congratulations to him for this award honoring his wide-ranging vibrant body of work including American Gigolo, Cat People, Mishima, Ordinary People, The Big Chill, Silverado and Groundhog Day.
John will give a Cinematic Retrospective in conversation with my friend David Heuring on Tuesday at 3PM in Cinema City 10. The event is sponsored by Panavision.
Camerimage is truly an embarassement of riches. There will be screenings in the CKK Jorkdanki Festival Center, as well as on 5 screens in the nearby Cinema City multiplex, while documentaries will show in Horzyca Theatre. All the screenings are listed in the pdf Festival Schedule. For those in Torun, I encourage you to download the Camerimage app for Apple or Android smartphones and tablets ( see link below). These screenings caught my eye:
Beanpole - Sunday
by Kantemir Balagov, with cinematography by Kseniya Sereda
Chernobyl - Monday
Netflix mini series directed by Johan Renck, with cinematography by Jakob Ihre, FSF.
Border - Tuesday
by Ali Abbasi, cinematography by Nadim Carlsen
The Lighthouse - Wednesday
by Robert Eggers, cinematography by Jarin Blaschke
Les Misérables - Wednesday
by Ladj Ly, cinematography by Julien Poupard, AFC
When They See Us - Thursday -
Netflix series by Ava DuVernay, cinematography by Bradford Young, ASC
Uncut Gems - Thursday -
by Josh and Benny Safdie, cinematography by Darius Khondji, ASC, AFC
Corpus Christi - Friday
by Jan Komasa, with cinematography by Piotr Sobociński, PSC
And the festival will end with a bang when Robert Richardson, ASC and Quentin Tarrantino receive the Director/Cinematographer Duo Award honoring the 5 films they've done together, followed by a screening of their latest collaboration: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
AFC and ASC Seminars
I will be moderating 2 seminars, one for the AFC and one for the American Cinematographer:
AFC Master Class (Wednesday 11:15 at Cinema City)
With cinematographers Julie Grünebaum, Eric Guichard and Julien Poupard. Julie will showcase 2 low budget films Brother and Winter Song, contrasting working with a first-time director versus a veteran filmmaker. Eric will discuss his amazing work shooting animals in the forest and birds in the air in Seasons and Give Me Wings. Julien will show excerpts of two powerful films set in the French ghettos: Divines and the upcoming Les Misérables (which also screens that evening); both films won awards at the Cannes festival.
100 Years of ASC Cinematography (Thursday at 3PM in Cinema City).
To mark the 100th year of the ASC, American Cinematographer Editor-in-Chief and Publisher Stephen Pizzello and I have been selecting scenes that illustrate the evolution of the art of cinematography, ranging from Sunrise in 1927 to Tree of Life in 2013. On Thursday, we invite a panel of distinguished cinematographers (names forthcoming) to view and discuss some twenty clips from the past century of ASC filmmaking.
More Seminars and Workshops
Camerimage's horn of plenty offers many, many more seminars, panels and workshops, including:
Sunday -- Vittorio Storaro, ASC, AIC, will give a Master Class entitled "The Muses of the Light"
Monday -- Rodrigo Prieto, ASC, AMC, will lead a Zeiss Screening event featuring a short film he directed
Monday -- Larry Sher, ASC, Seminar
Thursday -- Julio Macat, ASC, will lead an Arri Academy Master Class
Thursday -- Meeting with Chris Doyle, HKSC, and Ed Lachman, ASC, titled "Ma Solitude"
Friday -- Meeting with Alik Sakharov, ASC
Friday - Meeting with Chris Doyle entitled "Reality Leave a Lot to the Imagination"
I will keep this post updated during the festival
camerimage pdf Schedule
camerimage.pl: mobile app for apple and android
camerimage.pl: John Bailey
wikipedia: Never Look Away
wikipedia: Gerhard Richter
wikipedia: A Hidden Life
wikipedia: Portrait of a Lady on Fire
ascmag.com: John Bailey interview
ascmag.com: Making Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
thefilmbook: Christopher Doyle Interview: The Artistic Process
Images courtesy of Camerimage web site