Curtain Rises on 31st Camerimage Cinematography Festival

Just weeks before the 31st edition of Poland’s EnergaCamerimage gets underway, there was a groundbreaking for the planned European Film Center Camerimage, a PLN 600 million (roughly ($144 million) cultural center that will be built in host city Toruń and used in future years as the international cinematography film festival’s main venue. Plans call for the center to include a main screening room with seating for roughly 1,500, as well as three 200-300-seat screening rooms, a soundstage for production and postproduction facilities.

The new center underscores the growth of the festival, which has become a bellwether for what’s to come in the cinematography Oscar race. In three of the past four years, the winner of Camerimage’s Golden Frog has gone on to earn an Oscar nomination in cinematography, including 2019’s Joker and 2020’s Nomadland and 2022’s Tár.

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According to festival director Marek Żydowicz, more than 1,000 films were viewed during this year’s lineup selection process. “We start working on selections in March because there are so many titles we have to go through,” he said.

This year’s program includes the main competition lineup: Killers of the Flower Moon, All of Us Strangers, Black Flies, El Condo, Ferrari, Filip, Lee, Maestro, The New Boy, Poor Things, Napoleon, Society of the Snow and The Zone of Interest. Cinematographer Mandy Walker (Elvis) is the main competition’s jury chair.

Also during this year’s festival, which runs through Nov. 18, honorees include cinematographer Peter Biziou, who will accept the Lifetime Achievement Award; Krzysztof Zanussi, the Lifetime Achievement Award for a director; Adam Driver, the special award for an actor; Jon Kilik, the award for a producer with unique visual sensitivity; the Brothers Quay, the award for directors with unique visual sensitivity; cinematographer Peter Zeitlinger and director Werner Herzog, the cinematographer/director duo award; Jenny Beavan, a special award for achievements in costume design; and Floria Sigismondi, the award for directing achievements in music videos.

The program also includes a celebration of Walt Disney Animation Studios’ centennial, with screenings of classics such as Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King.

Sean Penn will personally present the Ukraine war doc Superpower, which he directed with Aaron Kaufman. Producer Billy Smith will also be on hand at Camerimage.

Meanwhile, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ CEO Bill Kramer will visit Camerimage for the first time this year. He’s expected to speak about new constructions to support culture, from the Academy Museum in Los Angeles to the planned Camerimage Center.

A dedication of the new Camerimage center is scheduled in conjunction with this year’s festival, with expected guests including three-time Oscar-winning cinematographer Vittorio Storaro, who was among those who have been involved in the event since its 1993 debut.

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