The Energa Camerimage in Torun, Poland, is The annual rendez-vous of the International community of Directors of Photography. Every year, students from Film Schools also join the 9-day event to have the opportunity to meet their peers, attend masterclasses, round tables, discover the latest cinema technology and watch the movie selection. Students from La Femis, the prestigious French school, attended the 2021 edition, in collaboration with Angénieux. After experiencing the most of everything the festival had to offer, they are very keen to share with us their impressions as the next generation of DPs.
Saturday 13th November, 3:45pm. After a five-hour bus journey through the flat and misty Polish countryside, we finally arrived in Toruń. The thermometer reads 8°C, the sky is cloaked in grey, and it has already started to get dark. Despite this, the five of us are in great spirits. We are in Toruń, located in the Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship, not for its beautiful medieval architecture, nor to visit the birthplace of Nicolaus Copernicus, but because it’s home to the Camerimage film festival.
As students of La Fémis, preparing to graduate, we are lucky enough to be able to participate in this important event which brings together, for one week, professionals from the cinema industry from all over the world. Filled with enthusiasm, we picked up our accreditations and got to know the different areas of the festival.
After spending a week at the festival, we were extremely lucky to have met many important directors of photography and listened to them talk about their work. The scale of the event, and the atmosphere, allowed us to get up close to these professionals who inspire us, such as Mikahïl Kritchman and Ed Lachman at their combined master class, Greig Fraser and Daria d’Antonio who were both presenting their films in competition, Philippe Rousselot, and Ed Lachman again, this time at a projection of a never-before-seen restoration he had done of a Lou Reed and John Cale concert.
We also met Bruno Nuytten at his photography exhibition, who spoke with us about how his relationship with cinema evolved through his films, and the fulfilment he found in photography. These rare and special moments are…
Camerimage was the occasion to watch, on a big screen, several visually inspiring films. This is even more important today, as more and more films are being shown on streaming platforms making it impossible to see them in French cinemas. We were able to see The Tragedy of Macbeth by Joel Coen, as its director and cinematographer, Bruno Delbonnel, intended, Alonso Ruizpalacio’s A Cop Movie, Paolo Sorrentino’s upcoming film The Hand of God, and Jane Campion’s Power of the Dog.
Attending Camerimage is also a way to discover the future of cinema, thanks to different professional workshops which aim to improve our work by proposing innovative tools created through collaborations between engineers and cinema professionals. We got an exclusive look at the new Venice 2 by Sony, and the new Optimo Primes by Angénieux: a series of fixed focal lengths which can be adjusted and adapted according to the user’s wishes, a remarkable feat in mechanics and optics. Opportunities such as the AFC Micro Salon and Camerimage allow us to discover the equipment available outside our school, to speak directly with the creators about their latest innovations, and to develop contacts for our future film shoots.
We were also able to discover the work of aspiring young directors of photography and directors from our generation thanks to the student competitions, which showed student films from all over the world. Mixing with these other students was a great opportunity to discuss our techniques and our ideas. The different film selections showed us a panorama of the aesthetic, political and social issues that are important for young people and gave us a real sense of optimism regarding the future of cinema in our increasingly uncertain world.
Having the possibility to watch both a young Lithuanian student’s first film, and a masterclass by a director of photography like Bruno Nuytten, demonstrated for us the true spirit of Camerimage: it’s a place where young people can find inspiration and learn from the experience of professionals. Listening to Philippe Rousselot talk with great technical precision about the lighting of the final scene in Dangerous Liaisons, when Glenn Close cries as the lights are extinguished, or Ed Lachman talk about Zone System which will create a new and more precise conversation around contrast on film sets left us full of admiration, as well as full of ideas for our future films.
We would like to sincerely thank Angénieux for giving us the opportunity to attend the festival and to discover everything it had to offer.
4th year students at La Fémis