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Camerimage: Docus Explore Uncharted Realms of Reality

Camerimage's docu competition includes 'Sepideh,' above, about an Iranian teen who dreams of becoming an astronomer

BYDGOSZCZ, Poland — If documentaries at Camerimage are any evidence, the genre now takes the camera — and a wider aud than ever — to places they’ve never been before.

“The aim of the competition is to recognize a documentary film as creative interpretation of reality,” says the fest’s docu section chief, film professor Michal Dudziewicz. And, as befits a respected cinematography event, the organizers at Camerimage place strong emphasis “on the visual and aesthetic aspects of a work,” he adds.

That’s clear from the sweep and majesty of docu competish entries such as “Monte Adentro,” an Argentine-Colombian chronicle of mule drivers shot by Mauricio Vidal and helmed by Nicolas Macario Alonso, or “The Last Great Climb,” shot by Brit director Alastair Lee. Pic follows a climber’s lifelong dream to summit an unknown mountain, in this case one only discovered 1994.

The goal is to shed light on docus “that present unexplored realms of reality,” Dudziewicz says, with unique cinematic language, and “specific and independent means of approaching the audience’s mind and imagination.”

Just as imaginative are the subjects and stories at the fest’s 22nd edition, with 12 feature docus vying for the Golden Frog, including the story of an Iranian teenage girl who dreams of becoming a renowned astronomer, “Sepideh,” which is directed by Berit Madsen, and lensed by Jahan Panah and Mohammad Reza, a moody black-and-white Russian chronicle of traveling plasma collectors, “Blood,” directed by Alina Rudnitskaya, and lensed by Yura Gautsel and Sergei Maksimov, and “Farewell to Hollywood,” shot and helmed by Henry Corra in collaboration with the subject of his film, Regina Nicholson, who died of cancer in 2012 at the age of 19. Pic portrays in arresting images the feisty teen’s struggle with cancer and her elusive quest to find peace with her parents.

With such work, Camerimage sets out to “draw the audience’s attention to the authors of film image,” says Dudziewicz. The agenda, he adds, is “for people to stop talking and for the images to start.”

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