Every November, cinematographers from all over the world converge on Bydgoszcz, a small city in Poland for the Camerimage International Film Festival of the Art of Cinematography, founded by Marek Zydowicz and Kazimierz Partuki in 1992. Bydoszcz has been the home of the festival since 2010; it began in Toru’n, relocating to Lód’z (home of Poland’s film school) in 2000. And now it might move again.
Cinematographers are joined by camera and equipment manufacturers, rental companies, film students and cinephiles. Mission’s team was excited to head to the Festival again, especially as we were a sponsor for the first time this year, meaning that our trailer would be playing before every screening at the Opera Nova, the main festival screening location.
And we took a risk by hosting a happy hour – well actually it was 4 hours – every evening before the main parties began. The happy hour was at an amazing wine bar called Karafka (Polish for carafe…). The location was stunning, the food was incredible, even if sometimes it was a little hard to tell what we were eating, and most importantly, we got the opportunity to mingle with clients, cinematographers and friends over a glass or two of great wine.
From discussions about colour science with Charles Poynton PhD, to hanging out with one of our favourite clients, Angus Hudson BSC, to discussing workflows with Henning Radlein from ARRI, the wine bar proved to be a great way for us to continue existing relationships and form some new ones. Word spread, and by the middle of the week, the place was packed.
We saw some great panels – a highlight was the “Any Questions” panel, sponsored by ARRI and moderated by Oliver Stapleton BSC (The Cider House Rules). It featured a wide ranging and fascinating discussion between cinematographers Philippe Rousselot ASC (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them), Ed Lachman ASC (Carol), Seamus McGarvey BSC ASC (Nocturnal Animals), Dick Pope BSC (Mr. Turner) and Amy Vincent ASC (Eve’s Bayou) plus production designer David Gropman (Life of Pi). Audience members were able to email questions prior to the panel. Topics ranged from how to decide which script to accept to how best to learn about lighting to the relationship between the cinematographer and the production designer. The auditorium was packed with attendees (including cinematographers Nancy Schreiber ASC, Jendra Jarnagin and Geoff Boyle) who appreciated seeing this amazing group engaging with the audience and each other. Other panels included an IMAGO/ASC/Netflix seminar where members of Netflix’s post production team discussed their requirements with a panel of cinematographers (including our friend David Proctor) and the audience (which again included Geoff Boyle!) and an IMAGO panel on diversity and inclusion which featured female DOPs from around the world, including Rachel Morrison ASC, discussing the challenges of having a family and a life outside cinematography.
By the end of the festival, the Mission team was exhausted but elated. And ready to head back next year, wherever the venue is (we’re hoping it stays in Bydgoszcz so we can make our happy hour a tradition at Karafka).