Article by Jan Grobliński.
EXT. BYDGOSZCZ – EVENING
Chilly. Dark figures in the background of the illuminated entrance to the Opera Nova. Evening fog and steam. Lively conversations in different languages, accidental meetings of old acquaintances, world-famous cinematographers passing by, a group of students hurrying to watch a film in the Main Competition…
That could be a scene from a film about Camerimage. It would be full of drama, with the participants facing tough choices of attending screenings or workshops. It’s a rich canvas of students, cinematographers and members of the film industry.
Screenings usually begin a with commercial preceding the main film. This is a a tradition, particularly during evening projections. Some students from the Film School in Switzerland were surprised by the applause after these advertisements. However, even today, some Camerimagists recall a commercial presented some years ago in which a shark was attacking a diver and the audience was trying to warn the protagonist about the danger. Even during the main feature presentations, people laugh, clap their hands or express their dissatisfaction. Authors presenting their films have to be ready for criticism, but they can always be sure of receiving genuine reactions.
The discussions about films, lenses, color grading or style of lighting are heard near the cloakroom, on the street, during dinner in pizzerias and in the festival club, often with the accompaniment of alcohol (which lubricates the conversations). It is amazing that you can meet famous cinematographers almost everywhere – in the corridor, in front of the theater, during breaks or at banquets. Every year there are occasions to have a word with people who are on the summit of the mountain, which we students are just beginning to climb.
This year there were many such occasions. We must thank the companies who made it possible: Transvideo, Angenieux and K5600 Lightning organized a magnificent evening for a group of students from Poland, France and The Netherlands. It was an excellent occasion for us students to meet prominent cinematographers and representatives of these companies. The students also took matters into their own hands and organized additional unofficial meetings later on with much success.
Camerimage is mostly about films and workshops. My favorite of this year, the film that shocked me both with its content and formal style, was Son of Saul directed by László Nemes, with cinematography by Mátyás Erdély. The choice of the classical 1.33:1 aspect ratio limited the presence of the external world and thanks to that, we experienced all the emotions of the protagonist. The sound design augmented everything that was not visible in the frame and provided an atmosphere of continuous oppression and fear. What also impressed me were the camera moves.
Workshps by ARRI and Panavision attracted the attention of many people. I was very interested by the workshop and presentation of Christian Berger, AAC (By The Sea, The White Ribbon) and his Cine Reflect Lighting System (www.thelightbridge.com). He explained his system of lighting and control with directional light fixtures, special mirrors and reflectors.
These workshops and films every year in November let us leave Bydgoszcz with the same desire: to do more work. See you at Camerimage 2016!
Jan Grobliński is a 4th Year Cinematography Student at The Leon Schiller National School of Film, Television and Theatre in Łódź. Article translated by Katarzyna Kowalik.