A quick report of Plus Camerimage

by Jean-Noel Ferragut, AFC and Eric Guichard, AFC
The 17th Plus Camerimage Festival was held between November 28 and December 5, 2009 in Łódź, Poland. This year’s international jury, composed of chief designer Alan Starski and directors of photography Dean Cundey, ASC, CSC, Edward Lachman, ASC, Igor Luther, Phil Meheux, BSC, and Anastas Michos, ASC, had to decide between 17 feature films.
Golden Frogs and Tadpoles waiting patiently to be awarded

The Golden Frog was awarded to Giora Bejach, the director of photography for Lebanon by Samuel Maoz, the Silver Frog to Krzysztof Ptak, for Zly Dom (The Black House) by Wojtek Smarzowski, and the Bronze Frog to Marcin Koszałka for Rewers (Reverse).

Bruno Delbonnel, AFC, ASC, was part of the Polish film jury, along with directors of photography Amy Vincent, ASC, Tony Pierce-Roberts, BSC, Roberto Schaefer, ASC, Frederic Elmes, ASC and the cinema critic Umberto Rossi. They awarded the Camerimage statuette for best film to Wojna Polsko-Ruska (Snow White and Russian Red) by Xawery Żuławski, photographed by Marian Prokop.

The Laszlo Kovacs Student prizes were awarded as follows :
- Golden Tadpole : Dirty Words by Marcin Maziarzewski, photographed by Weronika Bilski
- Silver Tadpole : Through Glass by Igor Chojna, photographed by Jakub Czerwiński
- Bronze Tadpole : Sunstroke by Lili Horvath, photographed by Róbert Maly.

The Panavision prize was awarded to United We Stand, by Alajandro Pedregal, photographed by Arsen Sarkisiants. Special mention was given to Miss Mushroom, by Pawel Tarasiewicz, who shot the images.

The festival also featured competitions for long and short documentaries and music videos. The complete listing of festival awards can be found on the Plus Camerimage website.

The European Panorama section featured the screening of 23 films including Wild Grass by Alain Resnais, photographed by Eric Gautier, AFC, Coco Chanel, and Igor Stravinsky by Jan Kounen, photographed by David Ungaro. There was also a special screening of Taking Woodstock by Ang Lee, photographed by Eric Gautier. Note that Eric spoke about the filming of Wild Grass and Taking Woodstock in a meeting with students.

Eric Gautier, AFC
During the meeting with students

Many workshops and technical seminars were held throughout the festival. Benjamin B, a consultant member of the AFC, moderated two Workshops and a Panavision Master Class, during which Vilmos Zsigmond, ASC retraced his career as a cinematographer.

During an Imago meeting Richard Andry, representing the AFC, and Cristina Busch, a legal counsel, gave an update on current developments on the recognition of the copyright of directors of photography in Europe. Another point of discussion was the degradation of working conditions. Finally there was a call for a motion to support the BVK (Germany) in a battle against the signing of an agreement for a 13-hour work day minimum for the German audio-visual industry.

Finally, representatives of our associate members K5600 Lighting (Mark Galerne who hosted a booth), Kodak (Thierry Perronnet, and Jean-Pierre Beauviala of Aaton, presenting together) and Panavision Alga Techno (Alain Coiffier, Christian Julien, Patrick Leplat and Frederic Lombardo) were present for all, or part of the festival. A thank you to them for letting us share together moments of conviviality during the four days we spent in Łódź.

In the K5600 Lighting booth
From left to right : Eric Guichard, AFC, Bruno Delbonnel, AFC, ASC, Eric Gautier, AFC, Marc Galerne and Julien Bernard (K5600 Lighting)

P.S. It should be remembered that Łódź is a city that hosts a famous film school whose students include, to name but a few, renowned Polish directors Krzysztof Kieslowski, Andrzej Munk, Roman Polanski, Jerzy Skolimowski, Andrzej Wajda and Krzysztof Zanussi, as well as directors of photography Slawomir Idziak and Edward Klosinski.

We should also add that the students form the great majority of the audience at the screenings, and the least we can say is that they are overjoyed to have the opportunity to see the films and to meet the many cinematographers present, and that they do not hesitate to express their joy ...

That said, to our amazement we did not notice any students from our "dear" Gallic film schools present. Nowhere else would they have the opportunity to rub shoulders with such a density of cinematographers per square meter, willing to share their experiences with students. As busy as they are, this winter week should figure prominently in their schedules, should it not ? We are allowed to dream it so... Or is the game not worth playing ?

Fortunately there is always an exception that confirms the rule, and we were happy to meet an alumna of the ENS Louis-Lumière school, class of 2009... Souki Belghiti, who provided us with her account of her experiences in Łódź.

Translated from French by Benjamin B

All stills, except one, by Jean-Noël Ferragut, AFC