Festival director Marek Żydowicz.
News

Camerimage 2023 Wraps on a High Note

A look back at the festival’s award winners and honorees, which included several ASC members.

Daniel Eagan

Photos by Stephen Pizzello


The closing ceremony for the 31st EnergaCamerimage International Film Festival took place on Saturday, Nov. 18 in a packed CKK Jordanki theater in Toruń, Poland, wrapping up a full week of screenings, panels and other activities specially curated for cinematographers and cineastes who came to the event from all over the world.


The festival's top prize, the Golden Frog, went to The New Boy, a moving Australian drama about an Aboriginal orphan placed in a convent during the 1940s. Writer, director and cinematographer Warwick Thornton was visibly moved while accepting the award. He joked that the night before the ceremony, he dreamed he was in a Seinfeld episode where he was told, “No Frog for you!”


Stephan Schenk from Arri with Main Competition Jury President Mandy Walker, ASC, ACS and Golden Frog winner Warwick Thornton.

The Silver Frog went to Ed Lachman, ASC for El Conde, directed by Pablo Larraín. A darkly satirical feature that envisions Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet as a vampire, the film is distinguished by Lachman’s outstanding black-and-white digital cinematography. Speaking on video from Budapest, where he is currently shooting Larraín’s biopic about Maria Callas with actress Angelina Jolie, Lachman noted that El Conde is “not an easy film to like, but we don’t live in easy times.” (A detailed article on the production can be found in the Nov. ’23 issue of American Cinematographer, and an in-depth ASC Clubhouse Conversations video interview with him here.)


Silver Frog winner Ed Lachman, ASC

Robbie Ryan, BSC, ISC took home the Bronze Frog for Poor Things, directed by Yorgos Lanthimos. Ryan, who also accepted his prize via video “because I got a job,” credited Lanthimos as “the visual genius behind the film.” (Poor Things also won the festival’s Audience Award, and will be covered in the Jan. ’24 issue of AC.)


The festival’s Main Competition Jury President, ASC member Mandy Walker, accepted a belated award for her cinematography on Baz Luhrmann’s 2022 feature Elvis. The honor was presented by Arri executive Stephan Schenk.


The FIPRESCI Prize, judged by critics, went to The Zone of Interest, Jonathan Glazer’s drama about Auschwitz commandant Rudolf Höss (see AC article in our Dec. ’23 issue). Cinematographer Łukasz Żal, PSC told the audience, “The idea behind the film was not so see the author behind the camera.” He added that the film changed him as both a human being and a cinematographer.


Łukasz Żal, PSC wins for The Zone of Interest.

Sal Totino, ASC, AIC won the award for best episode of a television series for his work on The Offer, “A Seat at the Table,” which details the making of the legendary feature The Godfather. Totino’s award was presented to him by his fellow ASC member Robert McLachlan.


Sal Totino, ASC, AIC accepts his award.

Actor Giovanni Ribisi, who plays mob boss Joe Colombo in The Offer, joined Totino onstage to receive a special acting award from the festival. (Ribisi, an ASC Master Class alumnus, served as director of photography on the feature Strange Darling, which screened in the festival’s Cinematographers’ Debuts Competition.)


Giovanni Ribisi is honored.

One highlight of the evening was a montage of films shot by ASC member Peter Zeitlinger for director Werner Herzog, who couldn’t attend the festival due to illness. The pair received the festival’s cinematographer-director Duo Award honoring their 30-year collaboration. The imagery shown onscreen included astonishing footage culled from projects that included the features Rescue Dawn and Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, as well as the documentaries Cave of Forgotten Dreams, My Best Fiend, Grizzly Man and the Academy Award-nominated Encounters at the End of the World.


Peter Zeitlinger, ASC accepts for himself and longtime collaborator Werner Herzog.

Rodrigo Prieto, ASC, AMC, whose cinematography in Barbie and Killers of the Flower Moon was showcased at festival screenings, received the inaugural Titan award from The Hollywood Reporter. The honor was presented by longtime Reporter staffer Carolyn Giardina.


Rodrigo Prieto, ASC, AMC, presented by The Hollywood Reporter’s Carolyn Giardina (in background).

A tribute to the esteemed director Krzysztof Zanussi included a clip from A Year of the Quiet Sun, shot in part on locations in Toruń. Accepting his award, Zanussi offered filmmakers in the audience sage counsel: “If you want to reach the source, you have to go upstream — against the flow.” He added that Camerimage is a festival that has always gone against the flow and wondered if his award might help secure financing for his next film.


The Award for Directing Achievements in the Field of Music Videos was presented to pioneering artist Floria Sigismondi for her work on videos for musicians that have included Björk, David Bowie, Marilyn Manson, Rihanna and many others. Sigismondi stayed onstage to present the festival’s Music Video award to cinematographer Drew Bienemann and director Alex Cook for their work on Son Lux’s “Undertow.”


Three-time Academy Award winner Jenny Beavan received the Award for Costume Designer with Unique Visual Sensitivity. Currently in prep on the action feature Furiosa, Beavan has lent her talents to such landmark films as A Room With a View, The King's Speech, and Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes films. She received her most recent Oscars for Mad Max: Fury Road and Cruella, a testament to her range.


Peter Dinklage, star of the festival’s closing film She Came to Me, received the Festival Director’s Award for Actor. “This is the actor’s revenge,” he joked to all the cinematographers in the crowd. “We get to turn the camera around on you guys.”


Żydowicz and Peter Dinklage.

Dinklage joined fellow actors Adam Driver, Willem Dafoe, Sean Penn and Ribisi at the festival. However, the real stars at Camerimage are the cinematographers, both students and veterans, who travel to the event from countries all over the globe. Camerimage offers the chance to meet and learn from the many renowned directors of photography who attend, to get hands-on experience with the newest technology, and to attend instructive seminars and panels.


Before closing the ceremony, director Marek Żydowicz expressed his hope that Camerimage could help provide some inspiration to eliminate negative thoughts. He then brought all the winners, nominees, and staff onstage for the festival’s traditional farewell.


Festival participants, staff and winners assemble. (Photo by Daniel Eagan)

Here is a complete list of EnergaCamerimage winners in the festival’s competition categories:


MAIN COMPETITION


Golden Frog
The New Boy
Cinematographer and director: Warwick Thornton


Silver Frog
El Conde
Cinematographer: Ed Lachman, ASC
Director: Pablo Larraín


Bronze Frog
Poor Things
Cinematographer: Robbie Ryan, BSC, ISC
Director: Yorgos Lanthimos


FIPRESCI AWARD


The International Federation of Film Critics Award for Best Film
The Zone of Interest
Cinematographer: Łukasz Żal
Director: Jonathan Glazer


POLISH FILMS COMPETITION


Best Polish Film
Doppelgänger. The Double
Cinematographer: Bartłomiej Kaczmarek
Director: Jan Holoubek


FILM AND ART SCHOOL ETUDES COMPETITION


Laszlo Kovacs Student Award - Golden Tadpole
Cremation, Or The Quarantine Hotel
Cinematographer: Wen Lau
Director: Ning Qian
School: National Taiwan University of Arts (NTUA)


Silver Tadpole
Plastic Touch
Cinematographer: Celia Morales
Director: Aitana Ahrens
School: The Madrid Film School (ECAM)


Bronze Tadpole
Poor Boy Long Way from Home
Cinematographer: Tuur Oosterlinck
Director: Jonas Hollevoet
School: Sint-Lucas School of Arts, Brussel (LUCA)


DOCUMENTARY FEATURES COMPETITION


Golden Frog — Best Feature Documentary
The Echo
Cinematographer: Ernesto Pardo
Director: Tatiana Huezo


DOCUMENTARY SHORTS COMPETITION


Golden Frog — Best Short Documentary Oasis
Cinematographer: Myriam Payette
Director: Justine Martin


DIRECTORS’ DEBUTS COMPETITION
Under the patronage of the Polish Filmmakers Association (SFP)


Best Director’s Debut
Inshallah a Boy
Cinematographer: Kanamé Onoyama
Director: Amjad Al-Rasheed


CINEMATOGRAPHERS’ DEBUTS COMPETITION
U
nder the patronage of the Polish Filmmakers Association (SFP)


Best Cinematographer's Debut
A Song Sung Blue
Cinematographer: Jiayue Hao
Director: Zihan Geng


MUSIC VIDEOS COMPETITION


Best Music Video
Son Lux, “Undertow”
Cinematographer: Drew Bienemann
Director: Alex Cook


TV SERIES COMPETITION


Best Episode
The Offer: “A Seat at the Table”
Cinematographer: Salvatore Totino, ASC, AIC
Director: Dexter Fletcher


AUDIENCE AWARD


Best Film
Poor Things
Cinematographer: Robbie Ryan, BSC, ISC
Director: Yorgos Lanthimos


Numerous ASC members participated in this year's festival, as judges and in competition. You'll find that breakdown here. You'll find our report on the opening ceremony here.





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