Wednesday, 16 December 2020

Camerimage 2019

Camerimage in Poland is one of the world’s leading film festival with a focus on the art of Cinematography. Now in its 27th year the festival has gone from strength to strength. 2019's festival was my fourth and there is lots to report. The festival was a little different to the previous three I have attended due to a relocation to Toruń from Bydgoszcz. The new location is much the same as the previous in that its based in a large town with a medieval history. 

Torun city wall

Statue of Copernicus

The main festival hall was based at the CKK Jordanki, a fantastic contemporary theatre with more than sufficient space to house the excellent marketplace of companies from the world of camera and lighting through to pre and postproduction facilities. However whilst attending the festival I heard of the exciting plans to build a permanent CAMERIMAGE European Film Centre on a disused site a five minute walk from the CKK. The centre will be for research and training in the area of filmmaking all year round and not just during the festival – a great asset to Toruń and the wider community and Camerimage festivals to come!

CKK Jordanki main festival hall

The festival site consists of many locations for workshops and seminars held by leading figures from the cinematography discipline. One such venue this year was a local high schools hall that made a fantastic location for a set construction to display live demonstrations of camera and lighting set ups. I attend one such event run by Canon and lead by Claudia Raschke a leading documentary maker who creates films using the Cinema Verite style.

Workshop centre directions

Claudia Raschke workshop

I also had the chance to attend the ARRI seminar on connectivity. ARRI are one of the leading camera and lighting companies in the world. Created by two friends Arnold and Richter (AR + RI = ARRI) ARRI was born in 1917. Today the company offers training and their seminars and workshops are leading the way to understanding the now very complex landscape of camera technology cinematographers are faced with understanding. Look up tables (LUTs), metadata, wireless connectivity and camera access protocol (CAP) being just a few things covered in this in-depth seminar.

As well as the fantastic workshops and seminars the festival is predominantly a film festival like any other, with awards presented in all major categories of filmmaking. The main festival winners (Golden Frogs) this year where 1st place Joker, 2nd place The Two Popes and 3rd place The Painted Bird plus there were also awards for best documentary Midnight Family, best music video for James Massiha ‘Natural Born Killers (Ride for Me)’ plus best music video Cinematography for the Jon Hopkins ‘Singularity’ and round table discussion of short films Lefty/Righty, Cactus Blossom and Boarder Crossing to name a few.

Award ceremony

Helena Trestikova documentary event

The whole experience of visiting Camerimage 2019 despite the change of location was a real treat and one to remember. Discovering all the new venues and seeing familiar faces in familiar scenarios made for a real adventure. The new home of Toruń looks set to be an interesting chapter in the Camerimage story. The ever-changing face of cinematography technology shows no sign of slowing and with other developments looming in the future such as computer gaming engines crossover into the film industry, events such as Camerimage are an essential calendar event for industry professionals.

Rose jam Paczki shop (Polish Doughnuts)

Flower stall at night

So, another Camerimage over and I have no doubt the organisers are already busy planning and refining the 2020 event to be even more impressive and integrated with the town of Toruń, which incidentally was the festivals birthplace in 1993. The previous site of the festival, Bydgoszcz will always be a place I have fond memories of, and I will no doubt visit the town again in the future.

Web links:

Camerimage Festival

Documentry filmmaker Claudia Raschke IMDB

Cinema Verite

ARRI 100 History

CAP app


Feature Films:


Two Popes

The Painted Bird

Documentary Films:



Honey Land

Music Video:

James Massiha ‘Natural Born Killers (Ride for Me)

Jon Hopkins ‘Singularity’

Short Films:


Cactus Blossom

Boarder Crossing

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