Plus Camerimage Concludes 20th Edition Exalting the Art of Cinematography

Published on website: December 04, 2012
Categories: Camerimage , Industry , The StoryBoard Blog
Cinematographer Mihai Malaimare Jr. at the screening of "The Master" at Plus Camerimage 2012.

The 20th edition of the Plus Camerimage International Film Festival of the Art of Cinematography is in the books, bringing a week of bliss for cinema lovers to an end until next year. More than 250 movies were screened. Awards were presented in eight different competitions. An estimated 1,000 film students attended, representing film schools from across the globe. And hundreds of professional cinematographers held forth on panels, presented their work, served on juries and basked in the glow of heartfelt appreciation.

Vadim Yusov, best known as the cinematographer of the early films of Andrei Tarkovsky, was honored with the Camerimage Lifetime Achievement honor. Yusov, visiting from his native Russia, was passionately engaged on a number of panels, and clearly moved by the extended standing ovation he received from the gala audience. At one panel, Yusov noted the global visual language that cinematographers use to reach across cultures.

Kodak congratulates Vadim Ivanovich Yusov for receiving the 2012 Camerimage Lifetime Achievement Award.

“I think that all cinematographers can take pride in the fact that for us there are no borders of countries or cultures, and in this respect, we are cosmopolitan indeed,” said Yusov.

Daniel Pearl, ASC was among those who were thrilled to meet the man behind the images in Ivan’s Childhood and Andrei Rublev. “One of my biggest regrets is that I was unaware of Vadim Yusov's incredible cinematographic accomplishments until I was far into my career,” said Pearl. “I guess that's because we came up on opposite sides of the iron curtain. When I screened Ivan's Childhood, I felt like I knew this man. Those angles, the compositions, and the light all felt so familiar, and I sensed that even though our paths have been so different, he must be a kindred spirit.”

The festival also bestowed career honors on director David Lynch (Wild at Heart, Blue Velvet), editor Alan Heim (All That Jazz, Billy Bathgate) and documentarian Steven Okazaki (White Light/Black Rain: The Destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Black Tar Heroin: The Dark End of the Street). Retrospective screenings of the films of these honorees lent the fest historical context.

Main competition films that played to a packed house at the festival included Beasts of the Southern Wild, shot on Super 16 film by Ben Richardson; Cloud Atlas, shot on 35mm film by Frank Griebe and John Toll, ASC; and The Master, shot mostly on 65 mm film by Mihai Malaimare, Jr.

During a panel discussion hosted by Kodak, Malaimare explained the thought process behind using the huge 65mm negative. “We wanted to emulate the crisp, shallow depth of field look of the iconic large format still photography of the post-war era,” he said. “At first, we thought we might use 65mm for the portrait shots in the film, but the images were so amazing that we ended up shooting almost 85% of the movie that way.”

(l-r) Paul Collard from Deluxe 142, cinematographer Mihai Malaimare Jr, moderator David Heuring and Kodak's Holger Schwaerzel.

The Kodak presentation continued with Holger Schwaerzel’s talk on the new Kodak film stocks, which are designed to dependably and accurately protect motion images for centuries. “Our precious cultural heritage, as well as the amazing work of today’s filmmakers, deserves to be preserved for future generations, and this film is the most efficient, inexpensive and convenient way of doing just that,” said Schwaerzel.

Paul Collard of Deluxe 142 in London underscored Schwaerzel’s point by detailing the restoration of seven early Hitchcock films from the silent era. “Restoration techniques have come a long way, and these cinema classics look better than ever today,” said Collard. “But the reason we have these films at all is that they were shot and stored on film.”

(L-R) Jerzy Zielinski, Dana Ross of Technicolor, Vittorio Storaro, and Kodak's HolgerSchwaerzel at Kodak's dinner.

Kodak also hosted a formal dinner where many of the top industry creatives gathered and mingled. Big name directors like Schumacher and Albert Hughes rubbed shoulders with Oscar® winning cinematographers like Vittorio Storaro, ASC, AIC and previous lifetime laureates like Stephen Goldblatt, ASC, BSC and Witold Sobocinski, PSC. The list of other attendees read like a who’s who of the industry: Oliver Stapleton, BSC; Roberto Schaefer, ASC, AIC; Karl Walter Lindenlaub, ASC, BVK; Paul Cameron, ASC; Andrzej Bartkowiak, ASC; Chris Doyle, HKSC; Slawomir Idziak, PSC; Ed Lachman, ASC; Dick Pope, BSC; and Wolfgang Treu, BVK. Representatives of cinematography societies around the world, including ASC president Stephen Lighthill, BSC president John de Borman and PSC president Jerzy Zielinski, ASC. Industry partners from camera rental houses, equipment manufacturers, labs, post houses as well as representatives from the leading trade publications also joined in on the celebration. Check out our extensive Photo Album on Facebook from the dinner.

Beloved cinematographer Harris Savides, ASC (The Yards, Milk, Elephant) was mourned after his untimely passing earlier in 2012. Gus Van Sant, a longtime collaborator and friend of Savides, accepted the cinematographer-director duo award for the pair. Among the cinematographers and friends who offered reminiscences at a tribute was Christopher Doyle, who said, “Harris always wanted his crews and set to feel like a family, and to me, that is the essence of what great filmmaking should be.”

After all the awards were handed out and before officially declaring the 20th anniversary edition of the festival complete, founder and director Marek Zydowicz accepted an award from the Polish Society of Cinematographers recognizing his contributions to the global art of cinematography and its practitioners around the world. “Twenty years ago, Marek took an abstract idea and made it a reality,” said PSC president Jerzy Zielinski, ASC. “Cinematographers know how difficult that is. He is one of us.”

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