(2016) Camerimage Closing thoughts

The closing ceremony of Camerimage traditionally belongs to the faithful, the hopeful nominees most doomed to disappointment, plus the multitude members of the ten juries who overload the Festival. Unlike the unforgettable emotional charged closing ceremony of 2015 when Ed Lachman, Chris Menges and Marek Zydowicz brought the house down in appreciation and affection, the closing ceremony this year paid its special tribute to the volunteers.

Each year the three hundred young men and women are the Festival core of Marek’s “family” of Camerimage. Each one deserved every decibel of the ovation they received as they were ushered on stage by Marek Zydowicz, himself the inspiration behind the Festival. There is truly nothing to compare with Camerimage anywhere in the World. Marek and his faithful “family” team of 15 in Torun will are already working on the important 25th Anniversary. There are only 3000 more films to look through!P1040436

Since arriving in Bydgoszcz the Festival has widened the horizons of the young people of his city. In a powerful closing address Mayor Rafal Bruski pledged a welcome for Camerimage in 2017 when it returns for its 25th Anniversary. The audience were left in no doubt that after Torun and Lodz the Festival has truly established a new home in Bydgoszcz. A knowledge of Polish is not necessary to appreciate the formidable passion of Mayor Bruski and his appreciation of the value of film and the Festival.

As suggested on this web site after the opening days of the Festival the benchmark film in Main Competition was Lion. The jury under Sir Alan Parker agreed and the Golden Frog went to the Australian, Greig Fraser ACS ASC. Unfortunately, he was unable to be present but sent a video link of surprising quality from location expressing his gratitude and admiration for the Festival.
The Silver Frog went to Bradley Young ASC. for the late favourite, Arrival. In a measured but passionate acceptance address he mentioned how the world has moved on since the degradation as humans of his ancestors through slavery. He expressed his appreciation of community support in encouraging his career in film.

Elen Lotman ESC

The Bronze was given to Anthony Dod Mantle BSC DFF for his work on Snowden. He ended his message to the audience, after expressing his admiration for Ed Snowden, by entreating the audience to, “keep on asking the questions!”
The high quality of the Polish Film competition had resulted in a difficult choice for the Jury. The Golden Frog was taken by Kaeper Fertacz PSC for The Last Family. Polish cinematography shone though the competition. Blindness was unlucky.

Michael Chapman ASC received the Lifetime Achievement Award. His gracious acceptance included a tribute to the passing of the legend cinematographer of French cinema Raoul Coutard AFC. To some amusement he referred to an earlier tribute as having been delivered by Pope Dick.

An encouraging omen for the future of women in cinematography highlighted the Award ceremony. The charge was led by a young lady from Singapore, Rachel Liew, a pupil at the Nanyang Technological University who won the student Etudes Competition. The warmth of the audience welcome set the tone of support for the fight for greater female diversity in the profession. A special mention in the high standard of the Documentary shorts Competition was made for the cinematography of Nina Badoux for The Sniper of Kobani. The Cinematographers Debut Competition went to the young Belgian Juliette Van Dormael for My Angel. The previous day she had more than held her own in a verbal spar with the inimitable, eccentric genius, Chris Doyle.

Imago in co-operation with Camerimage organised for the first time a day of events dedicated to female cinematographers. The Main inspiration for this successful venture was Nina Kellgren BSC, Imago Vice-President and Elen Lotman from Estonia which, she claims as Imago’s smallest Society. (This is disputed by Iceland!) The Panel discussion “What Works” was moderated skilfully with humour and passion by Elen Lotman. It was in itself an object lesson as to how to present a panel discussion unlike the previous, shambolic, rudderless Panel, disrupted by Doyle. She was acclaimed as the real star of the event, proudly a few months from giving birth. Those speaking included Nina Kellgren BSC, Roberto Schaefer AIC ASC, Maria Secco AMC, Ed Lachman ASC, Velindra Wardell ACS, Julia Swain GBCT, Nancy Schreiber ASC, Bradford Young ASC, cinematographer Julliette van Dormael, representing Illuminatrix were Catherine Goldschmidt, and Vanessa Whyte and WPA Agent Kirsten Tolle Billings.P1040445

Earlier the day had kicked off with a screening of The Neon Demon. The cinematographer Natasha Braier ADF had arrived from Thailand with the assistance of Arri whose Chief Marketing executive, Stefan Schenk introduced her. The Q and A was moderated by Claire Pijman NSC.
An impressive workshop, a case study on possible solutions for VR as a film medium, was given by cinematographer and stereographer, the Norwegian Jannicke Mikkelsen. It featured her work on Queen shot in Barcelona It was introduced by Nina Kellgren BSC It was Nina who first suggested this inaugural venture of the new Imago Diversity Panel. It would have been poorer without the support of Arri and Vantage.
As my direct flight approached Stansted I read the concluding words by Margaret Atwood in an afterword from Imperium, by the Polish travel writer Ryszard Kapuscinski:
“We stand in darkness, surrounded by light.”
They seems a prophetic end to an unforgettable week.

Nigel Walters BSC Vice –President.

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