The oldest world Festival devoted to the craft of cinematography is that of the Manaki Brothers held annually in Bitola, Macedonia. This year it hosted again the Imago Balkan Conference of Cinematographers. Represented were the Societies of Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Greece, Macedonia along with film experts from their countries. The delegate from Croatia, Goran Mecava HFS was unable to travel due to last minute illness. Imago is again indebted to the Manaki Bros Festival under their Director Labina Mitevska and the Macedonian Society under their President Tomi Salkovsi MFPA, without whom this successful conference would not have been possible.
The Conference was moderated by Imago President Nigel Walters BSC who also guided well attended Master Classes with Agnes Godard AFC and Jose Luis Alcaine AEC who had earlier both received Golden Awards from this charming Festival.
At the Mons IAGA earlier this year the Board’s recommendation to appoint “deputy” Board members was ratified. This doubled the Societies involved in communication within the Federation creating transparency without any additional cost. The Balkan Conference showed the working of this strategy with the deputy, Pedrag Bambic SAS playing a vital role in helping Imago Vice-President Ivan Tonev BAC arrange the Conference. Among the decisions made was to publish a Balkan Directory of Cinematographers, to include a classified section.
The Imago “Inspiration” Master Classes in Vienna were also attended by a record number of cinematographers. Some 150 from twenty nationalities (including Equador!) were entertained and informed by the resumption of this Danish inspired series which moved from its Copenhagen home to Austria. Rumours are that Amsterdam may be a future venue! Imago is indebted to Astrid Heudbrandtner, President of the AAC and Jan Weincke, President of the DFF and members of the Master Class Committee for this fine example of International co-operation. The presence of antipodes, John Toon NZCS ACS and the other half of his director/cinematographer partnership, Christine Jeffs together with Russell Boyd ACS and Peter Weir resulted from the enthusiasm of Ron Johanson, President of the ACS who is also a member of the Master Class Committee. Michael Seresin BSC (also a New Zealander) and the distinguished British directorSir Alan Parker brought their own brand of humour to entertain the audience. This Imago Master Classes came to a close with an intriguing example of effective lighting and compositional simplicity from Luca Bigazzi who charmed the audience with his modest Italian manner.
The Romanian Master class moved into its fifth year in Bucharest with a Master Class from Fred Goodich ASC and support from two of Imago’s most faithful sponsors, Marc Galerne from K5600 and Jacques Delacoux from Transvideo who has supported this venture since its inception. The presence of the ASC was fulfilment of a promise on behalf of the American Society made at Camerimage last year by Stephen Lighthill ASC,then President, to support future Imago educational events. Imago has appointed it youngest Board member Elen Lotman ESC as a Liaison Officer with the ASC.
The Ostrava Oko Festival in the Czech Republic has taken place with little news prior or since the event. The authorities have promised to improve their communication with Imago in future years. It is the third Festival devoted to the craft of Cinematography.
The Imago Technical Committee, under the Chairmanship of the inimitable Kommer Kleijn SBC, received further International recognition for their work recently when the SMPTE announced their acceptance of the Imago proposals that the new frame rates include 96,100 and 120 rates to enable 3D projection at 48, 50 and 60 frames per eye.
The Greek GSC were struggling to survive until recently. What they lack in finance they make up in courage. The Imago Board meeting in Vienna decided to accept the generous and bold offer of the GSC ,under their President Yiannis Daskalothanasis and organiser Panos Stamboglis, for the next Iaga to be held in Delphi, Greece between April 24th and 27th 2014.
The new Imago Statutes will be finally ratified at this important IAGA, probably the last to be held in the spring. The financial year is changing in order to accommodate further meetings at more convenient and economically viable locations such as the Festivals devoted to cinematography which all occur later in the year. The Statutes have already been distributed and modified as applicable. The final version has been sent to all Societies. Only the Danes and Austrians suggested any corrections to the original draft. In future any Associate Society (there are 17) outside Europe will be able to elect to become full members upon payment of the annual dues. Many have displayed considerable patience in the time taken to become full partners under the umbrella of Imago. The Imago Board wishes to express its appreciation for this in the belief that together we can move forward to build an even stronger Federation.
A discussion and the expected ratification of the New Statutes will open the IAGA in Delphi, Greece on the afternoon of Friday April 25th 2014. It formalises the move from Paris to Brussels the success of which much is owed to the dedication of General Secretary, Louis-Philippe Capelle SBC.
The future is soon upon us. At Camerimage, in conjunction with the Societies of the BvK of Germany and the PSC of Poland, Imago will be hosting on Wednesday, November 20th, a day Forum to examine Working Conditions, Collecting Societies and Authors Rights. European cinema is under threat. Attendances are increasing but fewer are watching European films. This dichotomy has to be addressed if we are to retain our individual cultural identity, the strength of our Continent, and prosper as cinematographers.
Nigel Walters BSC