Camerimage 2014 Preview

thefilmbook by Benjamin BGreetings from Bydgoszcz, Poland, home of Camerimage, the best and biggest cinematography festival in the world, which begins tomorrow.

Camerimage is a wonderful combination of screenings, seminars, workshops, and parties. This post gives you a preview of some the coming attractions in the next 9 days, and may also help to orient people who don’t know the Festival well.

Camerimage 2014 Preview -thefilmbook-

The Camerimage app


the venues

Bydgoszcz is a small city that is easier to pronounce (“bid-gosh”) than it is to spell. The festival takes place in the city center, in and near the cylindrical Opera Nova building by the Brda river.

The gigantic Opera Nova houses the main screening room. Outside the screening room on the 1st floor are booths where equipment providers show their products, and also a café with sandwiches and snacks.
The Opera Nova also contains several meeting places, including a Seminar Room, on the 1st floor (accessed via a different lobby staircase), and a Conference Room on the 3rd floor.

Camerimage 2014 map-

Camerimage Program’s map

The other Camerimage venues are all within walking distance of the Opera Nova:
MCK Orzel Screening Room a few blocks North hosts seminars & special screenings
Multikino – a movie multiplex across the river, with 2 screens devoted to Camerimage films and presentations
Workshop Center – in building M of the Economics University across the river, where a converted basketball court serves as a stage for workshops.
The One Club – 2 blocks away is the place to dance and drink until late. Your Camerimage badge will get you in.

If you’re at the festival, I suggest getting the Camerimage app to help you navigate.

change money in bydgoszcz -thefilmbook-2TIP for starving students:

The best place to change money is at the Post Office at Jagiellonska 6, only 5 minutes from the Opera Nova.

And it’s open 24 hours a day.


main competition

Films from the Main Competition are shown in the big Opera Nova screening room. A jury headed by director Roland Joffé will award the Gold, Silver and Bronze frogs for cinematography. This year’s Main Competition has 15 films:

camerimage 2014 main competition -thefilmbook-

This diverse list includes
— 3 American films
— 3 British films
— 3 Polish films
— 2 French-Canadian films **
— 1 Austrian film,
— 1 Chinese film,
— 1 Palestinian film
— 1 Russian film.

** I include Wild as French-Canadian because the director & DP are both from Quebec, although the film could be labeled American. By this same standard, I guess it could be argued that Birdman is Mexican :).

It’s interesting to note that Camerimage, like Cannes, is now including a sizable proportion of their own national cinema (3 out of 15) in the Main Competition.

The Main Competition includes 2 ASC members: Stephen Goldblatt and Emmanuel Lubezki.

camerimage golden frog -thefilmbookI’m disappointed not to see a French film competing for a Frog.

I have only seen 3 films on the list — the ones that were also part of the Cannes Main Competition — and I really agree that all three feature outstanding cinematography.

In fact, I am writing articles in the American Cinematographer about the painterly cinematography of Dick Pope, BSC, for Mr. Turner (January issue) and the innovative energy that André Turpin brings to Mommy (February issue). I hope to write soon about Mikhail Krichman‘s poetic naturalism on Leviathan.

Another powerful film from Cannes is presented as a special screening, Winter Sleep, shot by the wonderful Turkish cinematographer Gokhan Tiryaki.



Camerimage also includes many sidebar competitions: Polish Films, Music Videos, 3D Films, Documentary Features, Documentary Shorts, Cinematographer Debuts, Director Debut and Student Etudes (whose winner gets a Golden Tadpole). There are also Special Screenings, and the European Panorama selection which do not compete for a prize.

ASC members help man the juries for these numerous awards. This year’s ASC jury contingent includes: Affonso Beato, Ed Lachman, Denis Lenoir, Matthew Libatique, Stephen Lighthill, Phedon Papamichael, Steven Poster, Nancy Schreiber, Amy Vincent.


seminars and workshops

Camerimage is also known for its Seminars and Workshops, which I have been closely involved with over the past 20 years. This year I will organize and moderate 4 Seminars, and my AC colleagues David Heuring, Iain Marcks and Stephen Pizzello will also present educational offerings. Here are some highlights that caught my eye:

17:15 – Meeting with Stephen Daldry & Adriano Goldman
Opera Nova Conference Room

19:15 – Meeting with Alan Rickman
Opera Nova Conference Room


11:00-14:00 –- Canon Workshop with Stephen Goldblatt, ASC
Workshop Center
Stephen will discuss techniques for concert filmmaking.

15:30- Cinematography Art & Technology
Opera Nova Seminar Room
A panel discussion moderated by my colleague Iain Marcks about the influence of technology on the art of cinematography. Panelists include: Steven Poster, ASC, Ed Lachman, ASC, Matthew Libatique, ASC, Nancy Schreiber, ASC and others TBA
Sponsored by Technicolor

19:45 –- Meeting regarding Powell & Pressburger retrospective
This gathering includes Scorsese editor Thelma Schoonmaker


11:15-13:15 — Cinematographers Today: Tradition & Innovation
There are a lot of meetings with established masters of cinematography. I organized this panel with Panavision’s Hugh Whittaker, with the idea of presenting the viewpoints of some younger DPs, who will screen clips from classic film by older cinematographers that inspired them, and also show examples of their recent work. The topics will be both aesthetic and practical, including stories about breaking into the business.

I’m delighted to note that the panelists include 2 women DPs: PJ Dillon, Magdalena Gorba, Chayse Irvin, Monika Lenczewska, David Procter, and another DP TBA.
Sponsored by Panavision

14:15-17:00 — Master Class with Caleb Deschanel, ASC
Caleb Deschanel at CamerimageCaleb will receive the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award from Camerimage this year, and this is an opportunity for him to screen and discuss excerpts from some of his key movies.

I have had a wonderful series of preparatory sessions with Caleb; the range of his work is amazing, and he speaks about it eloquently.
Sponsored by Panavision


12:30-14:00 – The Image Crew: a Practical Seminar
Opera Nova Seminar Room
This is a sequel to the popular “DPs and Gaffers” event 2 years ago. This time, we will discuss set organization, lighting approaches, monitoring and processing on-set image, other practical topics.

The panelists include cinematographers Matthew Libatique, ASC, & Dick Pope, BSC, as well as gaffer Helmut Prein, Steadicamer John English, DIT Peter Marsden & First AC John Bailie.
Sponsored by K5600 Lighting and Transvideo

19:15-21:00 – Technology Meets Art
Opera Nova Seminar Room
My colleague David Heuring will moderate a panel with cinematographers Michael Seresin, Oona Menges and Stijn Van Der Veken
Sponsored by Codex & CW Sonderoptic

19:30 – Archival Materials in Storytelling
Opera Nova Conference Room
My colleague Iain Marcks will moderate this panel about the documentary Warsaw Uprising. Participants include cinematographer Piotr Sobocinski, Jr, co-writers/producers Michał Oldakowski and Piotr Śliwowski, Editor Joanna Bruehl, documentarian Michał Bukojemski and director Christian Frei
Presented by the Polish Society of Cinematographers


11:30-14:30 – Workshop with Phedon Papamichael, ASC
Workshop Center
Phedon will demonstrate Blocking, Lighting and Shooting a Scene.
Sponsored by Arri

20:15 – Advanced Filmmaking
My colleague David Heuring will do a Q&A with Phedon Papamichael


11:30-13:30 – Amira techniques for documentary filmmaking
Workshop Center
led by Johann Perry and Neil Harvey
Sponsored by Arri

15:30-17:00 – Tribute to Gordon Willis, ASC
Multikino 7
It seemed wrong not to have an event honoring this late, great cinematographer, so I initiated this panel by asking my friend and colleague Stephen Pizzello, who has written an upcoming book about Willis, to participate. He will be joined by leading cinematographers TBA, who will also comment clips from Gordy’s amazing body of work. My thanks go to Kazik Suwala and the team at Camerimage for adding this event to their busy program.
Sponsored by the American Cinematographer

godfather part2-


As things often change at Camerimage, I will keep updating this post during the week.

Please don’t hesitate to say hello in Bydgoszcz, it’s always interesting to meet new filmmakers.

Also, I’m looking to hire a documentary-style operator to shoot some of my seminars, email me if you’re interested at benjaminb at thefilmbook.com



Camerimage web site

Camerimage 2014 pdf schedule

Camerimage app

thefilmbook: Camerimage 2013 Photo-journal



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