Sam Mendes spoke about his collaboration with cinematographers from Conrad Hall to Roger Deakins, and expressed his support for Ukraine, during the opening ceremony of the 30th EnergaCamerimage international film festival.
Saturday in Toruń, Poland, the Academy Award-winning director received the Krzysztof Kieslowski Special Award for Directing and admitted that “it’s hard to talk about the celebration” after hearing and seeing saw pictures of people in Ukraine being introduced during the ceremony. “I made a movie (1917) with Roger [Deakins] tells the story of two young men caught up in a pointless war. The question I get asked over and over is, ‘Is this relevant?’ I’m afraid to say, it is and always will be. We stand with everyone in Ukraine.”
He thanked the cinematographers he worked with, starting with the late Hall, who won Oscars for Mendes’ first two films, American beauty and Road to Doom (posthumous). “Conrad was my guide, and since Conrad, the cinematographers have always been my guide,” he said to applause.
Mendes has worked with Deakins for the past 15 years and says that partnership “has brought me more joy and pleasure than any collaboration I’ve had on film.”
Receiving his award, the director also cited his latest film, a cinematic set by Deakins. Light Empire. “On the wall of the cinema, right at the beginning of the movie, it says ‘Find Where The Light In The Dark Lies.’ That’s all our work. That’s the cinematographer’s job, and I’m honored to shine a little light in the darkness.”
Filmmaker Alex Gibney was honored with the award for outstanding achievement in documentary filmmaking, and Ulrike Ottinger received the Award for Pioneering Achievement in Cinema.
“What’s important about Camerimage is the notion that cinematographers and filmmakers are doing their best to try and bring light to this world,” said Gibney. “The world can be a cruel and dangerous place. I’ve spent a lot of my films looking at abuses of power, but I also think in a more important way than looking at everyday heroes who stand up and fight abuses of power. there. So it’s especially important for me to be here this year, in Poland, when we are so close to Ukraine, when people are fighting for freedom and life for all of us.”
This week, Camerimage is supporting two Ukraine-based film festivals that have been displaced by war: The OKO International Ethnographic KINOKO Film Festival and Film Festival. “Please help Ukraine win in any way possible,” urged Tetiana Stanieva, founder of the OKO Festival, in tears. “Our economy and way of life has stopped. We lose our dreams. … We lost loved ones.” This part of the program includes a video introducing the filmmakers who have joined the Ukrainian army.
The opening ceremony included reflection on Cameraimage’s 30-year history. Festival director Marek Żydowicz said: “It is important to remember that when the sky of Poland is red, such encounters are not possible. … Things have not changed in some ways. We have to keep fighting.”
He also talked about how the early involvement of influential cinematographers Vittorio Storaro and the late Sven Nykvist contributed to the start of the event. In doing so, they honored cinematographer and former Nykvist collaborator Lukasz Bielan as a “friend of the festival”.
In honor of Cameraimage, Toruń Mayor Michal Zaleski was present to present the Toruń Presidential Medal to Żydowicz and festival manager Kazik Suwala.
During the opening ceremony, the entries and judges were introduced. The main competition jury is chaired by versatile Lech Majewski and includes producer Fred Berger, cinematographer Marcus Förderer, cinematographer Arthur Reinhart and production designer Jan Roelfs. Black Panther: Wakanda forever cinematographer Autumn Durald Arkapaw was the chairman of the television competition jury, and Elvis DP Mandy Walker chairs the student competition jury.
opening night movies, Light Empirefollowing the ceremony.
The festival runs until November 19.