Impressions from the International Ostrava Kamera Oko Festival

By Willy Kurant, AFC, SBC, ASC, member of the jury

par Willy Kurant La Lettre AFC n°225

[English] [français]

The Ostrava Kamera Oko Festival is a small event created by Jacub Felcman, a young film lover who is an active participant in juries at international festivals. This is a festival dedicated to our profession. Jacub is a former student of the Famu, the famous Prague school whose graduates we can thank for the funny and creative Czech New Wave.

Have you ever seen films by Jiří Menzel, Vera Chitilova ou Milos Forman ? Every member of their team graduated from the famous Famu…The festival is a small one…It ought to remain small in order to continue to allow for close contact with new acquaintances and old friends.
There is no equipment marketing. The Jury was presided by strong-willed and charismatic Walter Lassaly, the “father” cameraman of the English New Wave : A Taste of Honey, The Lonliness of the Long Distance Runner, Tom Jones, Zorba the Greek (an Oscar for him !), Savages, etc. The other member was Igor Luther, a Czech cinematographer who was active n German cinema. The three of us indirectly had a lot in common.
There was a good turnout by our Czech and Slovak cameramen friends, including Jaromir Šofr, ACK (Chitilova et Jiří Menzel).
 Walter and I watched the eight films in competition by ourselves. Igor, who was indisposed, watched them on DVD in his hotel room.
Our choice for First Prize was Night Across the Street by Raul Ruiz with cinematography by Chilean director of photography IInti Briones. The Jury’s Prize was awarded to Chantal Ackerman, for Almayer’s Folly with cinematography by Rémon Fromont, SBC.

"La noche de enfrente" de Raoul Ruiz, photographié par Inti Briones
"La noche de enfrente" de Raoul Ruiz, photographié par Inti Briones
"La Folie Almayer" de Chantal Akerman, photographié par Rémon Fromont
"La Folie Almayer" de Chantal Akerman, photographié par Rémon Fromont

Walter left for London via Berlin, his hometown, and I left for Paris via Prague.
The next day, the Imago award was given to Jaromir Šofr, ACK for his entire body of work. Wonderful and heartwarming meetings. Thank you Ostrava and Jacub Felcman for having chosen me.