Camerimage At 30: Cinematographers “Should Be Treated As Artists”

Camerimage At 30: Cinematographers “Should Be Treated As Artists”

Marek Zydowicz, director of

Festival, discusses the importance and construction of a $1. 29 million home for the annual event.

Camerimage International Film Festival

Camerimage International Film Festival

Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto/Getty Images

As the 30th edition of Poland’s international cinematography film festival gets underway, creator and director Marek Zydowicz asserts that promoting cinematographers’ artistic contributions in the hopes of expanding authorship rights to their work remains a priority. He also shares an update on the planned European Film Center Camerimage, a cultural center that will be built in host city Torun.

Planning for the center began in 2019, when Zydowicz signed an agreement with the Polish state and Torun government. Construction — representing an investment of PLN 600 million (roughly $128.9 million) — is slated to begin next year and expected to be completed by the end of 2025.

Zydowicz says the center will include a main screening room with seating for roughly 1,500, as well as three 200-300 seat screening rooms. “There will be areas for exhibitions, there will be areas for education,” he adds, nothing that the project also would include a 500-square meter soundstage for production (including an LED wall for virtual production) and postproduction facilities.

Zydowicz was a young man when he first came up with the idea for the festival. He reached out to Vittorio Storaro, an influential cinematographer, and the late Sven Nykvist to get their support. He recalls that at the time, people were still connecting by faxes and so he sent faxes both to them. “And it was funny that both replies came in by facsimile in the same minute .”

At the debut Camerimage, Nykvist received the Lifetime Achievement Award, and Storaro served as jury chair, awarding the first Golden Frog to Stuart Dryburgh for his lensing of Jane Campion’s The Piano.

Zydowicz claims that he promised in the fax messages to “create an area that concerns images and the creators thereof — the cinematographers — [who are] not always being treated as artists.” Our goal is to change [the perception] of the cinematographer so that people understand that the work they do .”

is art.

He claims that authorship rights for cinematographers in Poland are treated more or less as they would for directors or composers. This means that “you can’t alter the image without their permission” and the cinematographer is eligible to collect residuals. He says that this is not the case in all countries. “We believe they should treat them as artists.” Particularly now, when images can be altered in any way via digital postproduction.

The festival’s scope has increased over the years. Zydowicz describes filmmaking as “teamwork” and says that “we’ve always tried to invite [other disciplines] including directors, production designers set designers, editors”. Sarah Greenwood receives the Special Award for a Production Design Award.

Camerimage opens this evening with Roger Deakins-lensed Empire of Light, directed by Sam Mendes, who will be on hand to introduce the film and accept the Special Krzysztof Kieslowski Award for a director. Empire of Light is among the film’s in the festival’s main competition. A complete list of the competition films can be found here.

The Festival is also supporting Ukraine by hosting guests from the KINOKO cinematography film Festival in Ukraine. Zydowicz reports that they are visiting the Festival to talk about their festival and share films. They will also be giving a seminar on cinematographers in war.

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