Camerimage – the International Film Festival of the Art of Cinematography – is taking place right now in Toruń, Poland.  As the world’s premier celebration of who we are and what we do, it’s also the first and most prestigious event of its kind.

            The idea originated in 1992 with Festival Director – and ASC Honorary Member – Marek Zydowicz.  He intended it as a forum through which to highlight cinematographers and their contributions to world cinema.  In 2015 – the first year I attended – nearly 6,000 cinematographers and supporters gathered to celebrate his achievement.  Since then, the numbers have skyrocketed.  Along with his top lieutenants Kazik Suwala and Marek Zebrowski, Zydowicz warrants high praise for what he has done.

            This year’s edition began on Nov. 13 and runs through Nov. 20.  Along with a whirl of seminars, roundtable discussions and master classes taught by some of the profession’s elite, there are an endless number of screenings that showcase the best of the best.  Films in competition are judged by panels of distinguished cinematographers who rate the work purely upon visual merit.  According to Zydowicz, this helps introduce new talents to the world and helps expand the scope of our art.

             In addition, the festival honors students, educators, actors, directors and other industry figures who have demonstrated a facility for or appreciation of cinematography.  It also draws attention to the collaborative nature of our work by bestowing the unique Duo Award.  This is reserved for cinematographer-director teams that have shown a “special sensitivity” to the image.  

            Then there is their Lifetime Achievement Award.  Just consider a partial list of previous awardees: Sven Nykvist, ASC; Vittorio Storaro, ASC, AIC; Vilmos Zsigmond, ASC; Laszlo Kovacs, ASC; Owen Roizman, ASC; Freddie Francis, BSC; William A. Fraker, ASC; Witold Sobocinski, PSC; Haskell Wexler, ASC; Conrad Hall, ASC; and Caleb Deschanel, ASC.  This year, Jost Vacano, ASC, BVK will accept the prize.

            And did I mention the nightly string of parties?  If you’re a cinematographer, you haven’t lived until you’ve been absorbed into the generous bosom of so many people who truly appreciate you and what you do!

            If you have an opportunity to attend, I cannot urge you strongly enough to do so.  Poland is a beautiful country and is home to some of the warmest, most welcoming people on earth.  No one else in the industry celebrates cinematographers in as significant a way.  Thanks to Marek and his crew for providing such a thriving platform.

            We salute you all! For a complete listing of winners and honorees, visit the official festival website:


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