Lens fest sets sights on event center

Fall Fest Preview 2012

Plus Camerimage, the world’s leading festival of cinematography, turns 20 in late November. For an event where the d.p. is the star attraction and is praised for being both intimate and open, the past two decades have presented frequent creative and practical challenges.

Initially launched in Torun, the birthplace of Renaissance astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus, it eventually settled in Lodz, where ambitious plans to build a Frank Gehry-designed festival center and a creative arts space in collaboration with David Lynch looked to increase its international profile.

But political changes in Lodz’s city council leadership three years ago ruptured a close relationship among the festival, the Art of the World Foundation it had set up and the city, prompting the move to the central Polish city of Bydgoszcz, where it has been staged since 2010.

Marek Zydowicz, festival head, signed a three-year extention with Bydgoszcz earlier this year, meaning the fest’s home is secure until 2014.

Talks about creating a permanent festival center in the city are ongoing, but after the experience in Lodz, both sides are treading carefully, says Kazik Suwala, the festival office supervisor, who has been with Camerimage since its early days.

“We’ve been through the courts with Lodz over the city’s decision to take back the 108-acre site that had been earmarked for the David Lynch center and have just lost a second appeal,” Suwala says. “We are in talks with Bydgoszcz about creating a new festival center here, but it is a big investment and has to be done carefully.”

But first, to mark its 20 years, Camerimage wants to invite all the previous award winners to a big party in the city on the banks of the river Brda, to bring the warmth of friendship to Poland in the fall.

Russian cinematographer Vadim Yusov, who lensed Andrey Tarkovsky’s “Solaris,” and Lynch himself will get lifetime achievement awards at this year’s edition that runs Nov. 24-Dec. 1.

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