Event Review: EnergaCAMERIMAGE 2022 Film Festival



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Event Review: EnergaCAMERIMAGE 2022 Film Festival

By HELEN PARKINSON & TOM WILLIAMS

MOVIES AND SHAKERS

Over two-and-a-half years since the industry downed cameras with the arrival of the COVID pandemic, EnergaCAMERIMAGE 2022 marked a triumphant return to filmmaking form. Find out which films and innovations got attendees talking as the festival celebrated its 30th anniversary.  

It’s the opening night of the 2022 EnergaCAMERIMAGE Film Festival and the packed auditorium at Toruń’s CKK Jordanki cultural centre is fizzing with excitement. For the hundreds of film professionals and fans lucky enough to secure a coveted ticket, this special night marks the culmination of decades of hard work from Camerimage founder Marek Żydowicz and his team.  

“I’m happy to say we are back home where we belong, in the city of Toruń,” says Żydowicz, when he takes to the stage later in the evening to rapturous applause. It’s in this medieval city in northern Poland that Camerimage came to be 30 years ago and after forays to Łódź (2000-9) and Bydgoszcz (2010-18), once again takes residence.  

Closing gala celebrations (Credit: Krzysztof Wesołowski/Camerimage)

Not only had Camerimage physically returned home but in 2022, the event resumed normal service as one of the world’s biggest in-person celebrations of cinematography. Over 81,000 people attended film screenings, seminars and workshops; 226 films were presented across 10 competitions; and there were 122 seminars, workshops and interviews at the event, held from 12-19 November. Naturally, the stars of the show were well represented, with 800 cinematographers from 51 countries making the most of the week’s learning and networking (not to mention partying!) opportunities.  

The Main Competition jury was headed up by Lech Majewski, ably aided by Fred Berger, Markus Förderer ASC BVK, Arthur Reinhart and Jan Roelfs. Other Jury Presidents included Autumn Durald Arkapaw ASC (TV Series), Anna MacDonald (Documentary Features), Crystal Moselle (Documentary Shorts), Monika Brodka (Music Videos), Mandy Walker ASC ACS (Film and Art School Etudes), Jean-Marie Dreujou AFC (Cinematographers’ Debuts) and Rodrigo García (Polish Films).  

As ever, the festival was headlined by a top-class line-up of Main Competition film screenings, many accompanied by fascinating Q&As. Among the choices for festivalgoers were All Quiet on the Western Front; The Angel in the Wall; Bardo, False Chronicles of a Handful of Truths; Blonde; Elvis; Empire of Light; Living; The Perfect Number; TÁR; Top Gun: Maverick; War Sailor; and White Noise.  

Film and theatre director Lech Majewski at the closing gala (Credit: Krzysztof Wesołowski/Camerimage) 

For those who’d had their fill of films, there was plenty to explore in the Exhibitor Zone, where visitors could get their hands on the newest cameras and lighting equipment. For a peek at what was on show, head to: bit.ly/BC-Camerimage-exhibitors 

It was a joy for Team British Cinematographer to meet so many readers at Camerimage. Thanks so much for stopping by our stand, whether you were picking up a free copy of our publications, sharing your news and views, or simply wanted to add our snazzy tote bag to your collection.  

We launched our first successful Celebration of Cinematography drinks event at Camerimage, held in partnership with the BSC, ASC, American Cinematographer and Netflix. Held in Toruń’s stunning Old Town, the gathering aimed to unite filmmakers and industry professionals, shine a light on the incredible talent and creativity within the community, and network with friends old and new.  

 Don’t worry if you weren’t able to get an in-demand seat on a flight to Poland – you can relive the festival from your sofa with our round-up of some of the week’s highlights. 

A bevy of Camerimage award winners! (Credit: Paweł Skraba/Camerimage) 

Celebration and sadness 

The opening ceremony reflected on the past 30 years of Camerimage and its sparkling future in the form of the European Film Centre CAMERIMAGE. This development, spearheaded by festival stalwart Kazik Suwała, will cement Toruń’s status as a leading film destination in Central Europe.  

In his opening speech, Marek Żydowicz remembered how cinematographic luminaries Vittorio Storaro ASC AIC and the late Sven Nykvist ASC FSF helped get the festival on its feet in the early 1990s. Later that evening, he and Suwała would be rewarded for their efforts for the filmmaking good with the Medal of the President of Toruń, presented the city’s mayor, Michal Zaleski.  

Documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney received the Award for Outstanding Achievement in Documentary Filmmaking, while Ulrike Ottinger was presented with the Award for Avant Garde Achievements in Film. Camera operator and Nyqvist collaborator Lukasz Bielan was also honoured as a ‘friend of the festival’ by the hosts. 

Lukasz Bielan was honoured as a ‘friend of the festival’ during the opening gala (Credit: Paweł Skraba/Camerimage) 

Despite the celebratory atmosphere, Poland’s neighbour Ukraine was at the forefront of festivalgoers’ minds and a key talking point. “The invasion of Ukraine has changed everyone’s lives – it’s definitely stopped any kind of film work in the country – but we stand for Ukraine,” said the festival’s hosts in a sentiment that was echoed by the Camerimage community.  

Collecting his award, Gibney commented: “It was particularly important for me to be here this year in Poland when we’re so close to Ukraine, where people are fighting for liberty and light for us all. There was a famous thing that Dostoyevsky once said: ‘The darker the night, the brighter the stars.’ The stars represent the light and that is so important about Camerimage: the notion that cinematographers and filmmakers are doing their best to try and bring light to the world.”  

The Special Krzysztof Kieslowski Award for Director went to director Sir Sam Mendes, who introduced his latest project, Empire of Light, as the opening film. He paid homage to his key cinematographic partnerships with Conrad Hall ASC and Sir Roger Deakins CBE BSC ASC: “Conrad was my guide, and ever since Conrad, cinematographers always have been my guide,” he added. 

Sam Mendes (right) receives the Golden Frog for his directorial career from Marek Żydowicz (Credit: Paweł Skraba/Camerimage) 

The colour of magic 

“What colourists do is magic,” said Ben Davis BSC, president of the FilmLight Colour Awards jury, as he opened the awards ceremony, which celebrates the art of grading. Joining Davis on the jury for the awards, now in their second year, included Stephen Lighthill ASC and Chris Ross BSC. Winner of the Theatrical Feature category went to Picture Shop’s Michael Hatzer for his work on West Side Story, while Company 3’s Tom Poole was honoured in the TV Series/Episodic category for Euphoria S2. The Commercial winner was alter ego’s Wade Odlum for his work on IMMORTAL, a six-minute underwater film for the Royal Ontario Museum. Ana Escorse at Studio Feather triumphed in the Music Video category for Rachel Reis’ ‘Lovezinho’, and Aljoscha Hoffmann won for his work on Dear Mr. Führer in the Spotlight category, aimed at lower-budget features. Odlum, Escorse and Company 3’s Jake White, representing Poole, were able to collect their awards in person and join a short Q&A.  

“The roles of both cinematographers and colourists are changing virtually every day, so it’s great to have FilmLight step up and help colourists who work in the shadows most of the time to have their moment in the sun,” commented ASC president and jury member Stephen Lighthill.  

ARRI ran a number of seminars and workshops over the week. The final of its four Camerimage workshops focused on the manufacturer’s star launch of 2022, the Alexa 35, and how it records more accurate colours thanks to its new Super 35 format 4.6K sensor and REVEAL Colour Science. At the helm were Florian Rettich, senior trainer and consultant, digital workflow solutions at ARRI, and ARRI camera lens specialist Art Adams. They shared side-by-side examples of the Alexa 35’s colours compared to the Alexa LF and audience members were astonished by the difference.   

The ARRI Academy Masterclass with veteran gaffer and DP Cory Geryak explored lighting daytime and night-time scenes (Credit: Anna Symańska/Camerimage)  

The ARRI Signature Prime lenses are favoured by DPs all over the world due to their timeless and unique nature. There was no better place to see the full potential of the lenses than at the CKK Jordanki’s theatre for the ARRI Big Screen Experience where a packed crowd witnessed the technical abilities of the lenses on Super 35 and Large Format. Art Adams was once again host for the experience, offering great insight into the soft bokeh and delicate flares that have become synonymous with the lenses.  

Amongst the case studies was a rousing short from Oscar winner Erik Messerschmidt ASC titled The Swing. The film utilised the emotive capabilities of the ALEXA 35 and Signature Primes with a naturalistic and warm photography style.  

The star-studded lineup for Any Questions?: Autumn Durald Arkapaw ASC, John de Borman BSC AFC, Alana Gonzalez, Pascale Marin, Oliver Stapleton BSC, Charlotte Bruus Christensen DFF ASC, Natalie Kingston, Jean-Marie Dreujou AFC, and Ed Lachman ASC (Credit: Anna Rusiłko/Camerimage) 

Messerschmidt was quoted on his experience using the technology prior to the presentation of the short: “I could not get the camera to clip; the dynamic range is so wide and impressive. This is a completely new generation.”  

A jam-packed seminar room for Sony’s ‘Scene-setting for intimacy – a discussion on female perspective – was unsurprising as the role of intimacy coordinators has become a hot topic in the last couple of years. In response to the need for healthier and safer environments on set, an incredibly insightful panel discussed the need for better practices around intimate scenes without compromising the artistic freedom of expression. 

An attentive audience seemed to come away from the discussion with a much deeper knowledge and respect for the need for a more measured approach to intimate scene-setting, particularly from the female perspective. 

Leading Astera’s fascinating Eye Lighting – Window to the Soul seminar was DP Markus Förderer ASC BVK, who used examples from his past films, including Red Notice, Bliss and most notably I Origins, to illustrate his techniques. Förderer also examined how painters such as Da Vinci and Vermeer use catch lights (or not, in the Mona Lisa’s case). Then, with the help of a blue-eyed model and various Astera products, he demonstrated how he positions lights to reflect different moods in actors’ irises.  

The BVK’s insightful seminar – ‘Who supports the DoP in the camera department?’ – prompted audience members to divulge their own experiences climbing the camera career ladder (Credit: Szymon Milner/Camerimage) 

Issues in focus  

The results of the Australian Cinematographers Society’s A Wider Lens: Australian Camera Workforce Development and Diversity were shared by two of the report’s authors, Dr. Amanda Coles of Deakin University and Dr. Vejune Zemaityte of Baltic Film, Media and Arts School, alongside the ACS president Erika Addis. This world-first report highlighted the gender disparity in top-level filmmaking as well as poor working conditions and shocking examples of sexism, homophobia, racism and ableism in the industry. Real-life testimonies from those in the camera department were read out to the room to highlight the severity of the issues faced. 

“We’ve worked for two and a half years to get this report and what needs to happen now is that people see the report, hear the report, understand what’s in it, and go, ‘I’m going to take action’,” said Addis. She also noted that although the study was focused on Australia, it’s a situation that is reflected in other camera departments around the world. 

In the wake of the shocking news of DP Halyna Hutchins’ death, the seminar room for ‘How to improve safety and working conditions on a film set’ at EnergaCAMERIMAGE was a more than suitable environment to listen to experts on how to hopefully prevent such an incident from occurring in the future.  

Mandy Walker AM ASC ACS and Baz Luhrmann kept the auditorium spellbound with their tales from set (Credit: Krzysztof Wesołowski/Camerimage) 

Amongst the panellists were cinematographers from societies across Sweden, Poland, Australia and Japan, including Erika Addis ACS and Piotr Niemyjski PSC JSC, to discuss the different approaches to safety around the world. The varying perspectives and regulations revealed the dissonance in safety rules from set to set, and how far there is to go to ensure every film set prioritises the safety of the crew.  

A contemplative Q&A rounded off the session with a particular resonance being provided by Andra Milsome, of the Mark Milsome Foundation, who spoke passionately about the ineffectiveness of the majority of policies and how desperately the industry craves change. 

A German, Polish and Spanish panel of DPs, colourists and educators, moderated by the BVK’s Dr. Michael Neubauer, explored how more ACs, colourists, gaffers and other members of the camera department should be encouraged to join – and, crucially, stay – in the industry. Audience participation was strongly encouraged, and it was fascinating to hear of the situation in other countries and the often-tricky routes of entry to the camera department. More positive to hear was of the schemes being introduced to help broaden participation.     

Ed Lachman ASC featured at a number of events during the week (Credit: Krzysztof Wesołowski/Camerimage) 

Exchange of ideas 

People arrived in their swathes to witness ‘Any Questions?’, a wonderfully curated panel from host Oliver Stapleton BSC. The guests included Charlotte Bruus Christensen ASC, Ed Lachman ASC, Natalie Kingston, John de Borman BSC, Pascale Marin AFC, Jean-Marie Dreujou AFC, Alana Gonzalez and Autumn Durald Arkapaw ASC. 

As the format was entirely based on questions asked by the audience, it was an incredible opportunity for DPs to connect with a panel that boasted diversity of gender and backgrounds, all at varying stages of their careers. Topics were discussed engagingly across the whole spectrum of cinematography, whether it was stylistic trends, practical equipment, or how to switch off and be creative away from the job.  

The legendary Ed Lachman ASC provided a unique perspective unparalleled by most in the industry, uttering the resonant words: “Beauty is not necessarily a criterion for good photography.” 

TÁR DP Florian Hoffmeister BSC won the Golden Frog for his work (Credit: Krzysztof Wesołowski/Camerimage) 

A vibrant crowd huddled in away from the Toruń snow to witness a legend of the music video world, Joseph Kahn, digress his career up until now and reflect on receiving the Award for Achievements in the Field of Music Videos. 

Kahn didn’t hold back when answering audience questions, providing an honest and unwavering look into the industry, and specifically how the audience of music videos has changed since his explosion onto the scene in the ‘90s. The director and cinematographer also discussed his feature filmmaking career, divulging into the perils of having too much budget and, on the flipside, the perils of having to self-fund projects.  

Having worked with the likes of Taylor Swift, Eminem and Britney Spears, it was unsurprising that Kahn was joined by the iconic Texas Chainsaw Massacre DP, and frequent collaborator, Daniel Pearl ASC in the audience of the talk. 

Stephen H. Burum, winner of the festival’s Lifetime Achievement Award (Credit: Anna Szymańska/Camerimage) 

Frogs and Fabelmans 

Camerimage 2022 was rounded out with more worthy award winners being honoured: Vance Burberry ACS for Special Achievement in Music Videos, Sarah Greenwood for Special Achievement for a Production Designer, Joseph Kahn for Special Achievement in Music Videos for a Director, and Andrzej Seweryn for Special Achievement in the art of acting. Danny DeVito praised the work of the Lifetime Achievement Award winner, his collaborator Stephen H. Burum ASC, in an amusing video message: “Thanks to him, I’m a famous director!” 

The much-anticipated Main Competition prizes were awarded as the evening drew to a close. Gold went to Florian Hoffmeister BSC for TÁR, Silver to Darius Khondji AFC ASC for Bardo, and Bronze to Jamie D. Ramsay SASC for Living.  

The festival closed with possibly Stephen Spielberg’s most personal project yet: The Fabelmans, lensed by long-time collaborator Janusz Kamiński.  

As Camerimage’s vast team of hard-working staff and volunteers gathered on stage to toast another successful year, it cemented Camerimage’s return to a full-scale festival that attendees will be fondly reminiscing about for years to come. Enormous congratulations to everyone who won or was nominated and we’ll see you in Toruń in 2023!  

A Q&A accompanying Map of Latin American Dreams, shown as part of OKO Film Festival (Credit: Anna Rusiłko/Camerimage)  

UKRAINE IN THE SPOTLIGHT 

Midway through a week of film festivities and frolics, a missile struck Polish territory. The explosion happened in the village of Przewodów, near the Ukraine border and almost 300 miles from the festival’s home in Toruń, but shockwaves were felt there too. It was a stark reminder of the sombre backdrop to this year’s festival. 

To show their support to their eastern neighbours, Camerimage’s organisers welcomed two Ukrainian film festivals into the fold: OKO International Ethnographic Film Festival and KINOKO, Ukraine’s first film festival dedicated to cinematography. 

KINOKO was given space at Camerimage to present one feature and one documentary film that had triumphed at previous KINOKOs: Nariman Aliev’s Homeward (Додому) and Simon Mozgovyi’s Salt from Bonneville (Сіль з Бонневілю). KINOKO also ran a special ‘Cinematographers at War’ seminar, where Ukrainian DPs shared their own experiences of filming during the conflict. 

OKO, meanwhile, screened eight feature and 16 short ethnographic documentaries from around the world as part of the festival. Outside of the main competition, OKO also spotlighted Ukrainian films in a series of special screenings.  

In an impassioned display at the opening gala that touched the entire auditorium, OKO’s founder Tetiana Stanieva and programme director Elena Rubashevska introduced a reel of Ukrainian filmmakers who have had to swap their cameras for weapons in the fight for their homeland. 

Speaking after the festival, Rubashevska shared more about OKO’s history and mission in a special Q&A with British Cinematographer.

Read the full interview here.

Filmmaker Wilmarc Val, whose film Brave screened as part of OKO Film Festival, with festival founder Tetiana Stanieva (Credit: Katarzyna Chojnacka/Camerimage) 

OKO FESTIVAL WINNERS 

Short film winner – Nomad Girl (dir. Rouhollah Akbari, Iran) 

Special mention – Wormwood Star (dir. Adeline Borets, Ukraine) 

Special mention – Brave (dir. Wilmarc Val, France) 

Feature film winner – I am Chance (dir. Marc-Henri Weinberg, Belgium) 

EnergaCAMERIMAGE 2022 WINNERS 

MAIN COMPETITION 

Golden Frog: TÁR 

Cin. Florian Hoffmeister BSC 

dir. Todd Field 

Silver Frog: Bardo: False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths 

Cin. Darius Khondji AFC ASC 

Dir. Alejandro G. Iñárritu 

Bronze Frog: Living 

Cin. Jamie D. Ramsay SASC 

Dir. Oliver Hermanus 

FIPRESCI AWARD 

The International Federation of Film Critics Award for Best Film: Bardo: False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths 

Cin. Darius Khondji AFC ASC 

Dir. Alejandro G. Iñárritu 

FESTIVAL DIRECTOR’S AWARD 

Elvis 

Cin. Mandy Walker ASC ACS 

Dir. Baz Luhrmann 

Top Gun: Maverick 

Cin. Claudio Miranda ASC ACC 

Dir. Joseph Kosinski 

POLISH FILMS COMPETITION 

Best Polish Film: Woman on the Roof 

Cin. Ita Zbroniec-Zajt 

Dir. Anna Jadowska 

FILM AND ART SCHOOL ETUDES COMPETITION 

Laszlo Kovacs Student Award – Golden Tadpole: Magdalena 

Cin. Enrico Silva 

Dir. Michael Lazovsky 

School: American Film Institute Conservatory (AFI) 

Silver Tadpole: The Creature 

Cin. Ignacy Ciszewski 

Dir. Damian Kosowski 

School: Łódź Film School 

Bronze Tadpole: Entreterrestres 

Cin. Dani Benejam 

Dir. Lucas Parra 

School: Cinema and Audiovisual School of Catalonia (ESCAC) 

DOCUMENTARY FEATURES COMPETITION 

Golden Frog – Best Feature Documentary: Kash Kash 

Cin. Jonas Schneider 

Dir. Lea Najjar 

DOCUMENTARY SHORTS COMPETITION 

Golden Frog – Best Short Documentary: A Mouthful of Petrol 

Cin. Adric Watson 

Dir. Jess Kohl 

DIRECTORS’ DEBUTS COMPETITION 

Under the patronage of the Polish Filmmakers Association (SFP) 

Best Director’s Debut: Love According to Dalva 

Cin. Caroline Guimbal 

Dir. Emmanuelle Nicot 

CINEMATOGRAPHERS’ DEBUTS COMPETITION 

under the patronage of the Polish Filmmakers Association (SFP) 

Best Cinematographer’s Debut: Love According to Dalva 

Cin. Caroline Guimbal 

Dir. Emmanuelle Nicot 

MUSIC VIDEOS COMPETITION 

Best Music Video: Emmit Fenn – “Light That Shines Through” 

Cin. David Okolo 

Dir. Conner Bell 

TV SERIES COMPETITION 

Best Episode: Landscapers 

Cin. Erik Wilson 

Dir. Will Sharpe 

AUDIENCE AWARD 

Elvis 

Cin. Mandy Walker 

Dir. Baz Luhrmann 

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