Pope plucks Golden Frog at Polish lenser festival

WARSAW — Dick Pope, the cameraman on Mike Leigh’s “Secrets & Lies,” won the Grand Prix, the Golden Frog, at the Fourth Camerimage Festival, held in the pleasant Polish provincial town of Torun. Haskell Wexler received a special Lifetime Achievement award while director John Schlesinger received a jury prize for “special visual sensibility.”

Nineteen movies competed for the top prize at the festival. The jury included Wexler, Vilmos Zsigmond and Robert Alazraki.

On receiving his award, Pope said: “I’m shaking like a leaf. I will never forget this. Many of the jury members are my heroes.”

The Silver Frog was awarded to Eduardo Serra for “Jude” with the Bronze going to Geoffrey Simpson for “Shine.”

“One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” lenser Wexler, whose latest film, “Mullholland Falls,” was in competition, was full of praise for the festival: “It’s been terrific and very different from most festivals. It’s not a film market: It’s dedicated to the cinematographer. There have been many serious discussions and interesting seminars for all of us. The audiences have been very large and young. Interest in cinema seems high here, and Torun is a fascinating old town.”

Hungarian cameraman Zsigmond, who recently shot Michael Douglas and Val Kilmer in “The Ghost and the Darkness,” was chairman of the jury. He said: “Being from Hungary I feel very much at home here. The festival has been well organized and run very well. It’s fun to be in Europe, too, because cinematographers in the States are treated as a necessary evil. The emphasis is on directors and stars. But in Europe the art of cinematography is much more respected.”

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