Holger Schwaerzel, Kodak European Product Manager
The 19th annual edition of Plus Camerimage is behind us. The International Festival of the Art of Cinematography, as it is officially known, is a wonderful and warm gathering of filmmakers, supporters and aficionados of the art and craft of visual storytelling. This year’s confab was held in Bydgoszcz, Poland, the second year this charming city has hosted the event. Hundreds of screenings, seminars, press conferences and parties were on the agenda, but perhaps the most important aspect of the fest is the human interactions that happen naturally along the way. Kodak has been a proud sponsor of the festival since its inception.
The highlight of the week was Kodak Day, which featured our presentation in the main theater at the Opera Nova. We used this important platform to announce our new KODAK VISION3 50D Color Negative Film 5203. This new stock brings the latest breakthroughs in emulsion science – along with extended latitude – to a low speed, fine-grained and sharpest daylight stock. We are committed to providing filmmakers with the widest possible array of options. With approximately 75% of the movies in the main competition originated on film, it’s clear that filmmakers still demand the highest-resolution image capture medium as a creative tool. And film’s archival superiority means that their creations will live on.
Our presentation also included a screening of the films from Straight 8, a contest that invites anyone anywhere to make a short film on one cartridge of Kodak Super 8 film—without editing. The filmmakers see the outcome of their creative endeavor for the first time at a special screening at the Cannes Film Festival. The results are humorous, touching and human films. Straight 8 helps fledgling filmmakers get their creativity seen in the wider filmmaking community.
The Kodak Day ended with the annual Cinematographers Dinner, held in a grand Philharmonic Hall. Later, the Kodak Student Party in the Avangarda Club was packed and rocking. All in all, it was a fun day with lots of good news for filmmakers.
At the awards ceremony, I had the honor of presenting the Golden Frog, the top prize at the fest, to Jolanta Dylewska. The jury praised her work on In Darkness. The Polish-German-Canadian coproduction retells the true story of petty thief who becomes a hero among the fugitives living in the sewers of wartime Lviv in order to hide from the Nazis. Dylewska is an instructor at the Polish National Film School in Lodz, and many of her former and current students were in the audience. The Silver Frog went to Mahmoud Kalari for his cinematography of Nader and Simin, A Separation, an Iranian film shot on 35 mm film and directed by Asghar Farhadi. The Bronze Frog went to British cinematographer Robbie Ryan for his 35 mm cinematography of Wuthering Heights, a re-imagining of the Emily Bronte classic with a Heathcliff of African descent.
Aside from the high-profile films, the student competition featured 25 films from 22 different film schools, making it a truly international competition. The Golden Tadpole went to a student from the Hungarian National Film School, Balazs Revesz, for his work on Finale. In addition to the festival’s recognition, Kodak will send Balazs to the 2012 Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival, where he will participate in several days of Kodak-sponsored activities and participate in a showcase, screening his film.
There were also competitions for documentaries, music videos, debuts and other categories, as well as numerous retrospectives and out-of-competition screenings.
The festival honored countless master cinematographers who have enriched our lives with their filmic creations, many of which were screened at various retrospectives. A few examples: Haskell Wexler, ASC, Vilmos Zsigmond, ASC, Witold Sobocinski, PSC, Walter Lassally, BSC, Ed Lachman, ASC, Albert Maysles, Dante Spinotti, ASC, AIC, and Camerimage Lifetime Achievement laureate John Seale, ASC, ACS, who graciously thanked Kodak in his warm acceptance speech.
Each year, Plus Camerimage brings together the international moviemaking community, and 2011 was another smashing success. We look forward to next year, and hope you’ll be able to join us!