The glamour of the Award of the Nobel Peace prize may have been absent, but there was no compromise in the sincerity by which Norwegian Film Makers presented Chris Menges BSC ASC with the inaugural Nordic Docs ICON Award for his lifetime services for the visual honesty of his imagery throughout his life. The unexpected ceremony took place in the charming 16th Century port city of Fredrikstad at the end of the Annual Awards Ceremony at this popular Documentary Festival.
The words of the jury were read by Runar Jarle Wiik who explained that the ICON Award has been established to honour people who inspire. Filmmakers in Norway and Scandinavia have film heroes they admire and who they regard as Icons. Chris Menges has astonished for decades in his visual artistry and sincerity in his cinematography in documentary and features. It was fitting he should be the first recipient.
Fellow cinematographer, Nils Petter Lothrington FNF, who had himself earlier received a Lifetime Achievement Award, spoke of his honour to be standing with Chris Menges who had been his inspiration since starting as a young cinematographer. In a moving tribute, jury member Runar Jarle Wiike spoke of attending a ten day on master class with Chris. “These few days were more inspirational and valuable to me as a cinematographer than the whole of the remainder of my period in Film School”
Chris Menges had earlier in the day, under the moderation of Rolf Haan FNF, discussed his life and illustrated the importance of documentary shooting in his career.
The Festival is run under its Director and founder Paul-Rene Roestad FNF, the President of Imago. The increase in audience participation by 30% over 2017 illustrates the rising popularity and importance of Documentary making for all film crafts. This enthusiastic Festival in Norway is an important window of opportunity to young film makers. Any young film maker setting out on a career will ignore the value of Documentary film making at their peril.
The jury had unanimously decided Chris Menges was the person who they regard as an Icon and whose visual artistry had astonished them for decades.