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‘Leviathan’ Wins Top Prize at Camerimage, Film Festival for Cinematographers

BYDGOSZCZ, Poland — Russian drama “Leviathan” won the Golden Frog, the top prize at Camerimage, a film festival devoted to the art of cinematography.

The dark satire about corruption in Russia, which won the award for screenplay at Cannes and reps Russia in the Oscar race, was photographed by Mikhail Krichman and directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev. Variety’s review said: “The characters are all but swallowed by d.p. Mikhail Krichman’s overwhelming anamorphic widescreen vistas.”

In handing out the top prize, director/scribe Philip Kaufman said that the filmmakers at Camerimage are like the test pilots in his 1983 Oscar winner, “The Right Stuff,” because they’re “pushing the envelope — you are the people with the right stuff.”

Roland Joffe, who headed the main Camerimage prize jury, recognizing D.P.s, described the 15 competing pics as “some very beautiful, some very brave.”

The Silver Frog went to Palestinian feature “Omar,” lensed by Ehab Assal and helmed by Hany Abu-Assad. Pic centers on a young Palestinian man who tries to seek out a traitor in their struggle against the Israeli army. Pic was Oscar nominated earlier this year.

The Bronze Frog jumped to “Mommy,” which is another Cannes 2014 competition title, from cinematographer Andre Turpin and director Xavier Dolan. Pic, which reps Canada in the Oscar contest, centers on a widowed mother trying to cope with a teen son with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

When Kaufman took the stage to accept his lifetime achievement kudo, he was surprised to be reunited after 27 years with Polish thesp Daniel Olbrychski, who played a reluctant communist bureaucrat in Kaufman’s 1988 drama “The Unbearable Lightness of Being.”

Olbrychski, recalling a scene he performed with pic’s lead, Daniel Day-Lewis, told Kaufman, “This young actor seems to have a great future ahead of him.”

Directors’ debuts competition was won by “Theeb,” an adventure film about a young Bedouin boy, from cinematographer Wolfgang Thaler and director Naji Abu Nowar. It won the director prize in Venice’s Horizons section.

The cinematographers’ debuts competition was won by Danish werewolf tale “When Animals Dream” from director photography Niels Thastum and director Jonas Alexander Arnby. Pic was in Cannes Critics’ Week.

The top prize in the feature-length documentary films competition, the Golden Frog — Grand Prix, went to “Blood” from cinematographers Yura Gautsel and Sergei Maksimov, and director Alina Rudnitskaya. The film centers on a team of blood-donation nurses travelling across Russia. A special mention went to “Monte Adentro” from cinematographer Mauricio Vidal and director Nicolas Macario Alonso.

The Polish films competition was won by “Hardkor Disko,” with cinematography by Kacper Fertacz and direction by Krzysztof Skonieczny.

The Laszlo Kovacs Student Award, the Golden Tadpole, went to “Berlin Troika” from cinematographer Julian Landweer and director Andrej Gontcharov. The students’ film school, the German Film and Television Academy, received the Polish Filmmakers Association Award.

The Silver Tadpole for student film went to “The Shadow Forest,” from cinematographer Andrzej Cichocki and helmer Andrzej Cichocki from Kieslowski Faculty of Radio and TV University of Silesia in Poland.

The Bronze Tadpole went to “Do You Even Know,” from cinematographer Clemence Warnier and director Arthur Lecouturier from Institut des Arts de Diffusion in Belgium.

The special award for cinematography in the student competition went to “Room 55.” The cinematographer was James Blann and the director was Rose Glass from the U.K.’s National Film and Television School.

The 3D films competition was won by “Beyond the Edge” from D.P. Richard Bluck and helmer Leanne Pooley. The best 3D feature film was “The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet” from cinematographer Thomas Hardmeier and director Jean-Pierre Jeunet.

The music videos competition was won by DJ Snake & Lil Jon’s “Turn Down For What” from cinematographer Larkin Seiple and director Daniels. The honor for cinematography in a music video went to Paolo Nutini’s “Iron Sky” from cinematographers Robbie Ryan and Daniel Wolfe.

The short documentary films competition went to “Starting Point” from cinematographer Przemyslaw Niczyporuk and director Michal Szczesniak with a special mention for “Shipwreck,” from cinematographer Morgan Knibbe and helmer Morgan Knibbe.

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