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Camerimage: ‘The Fortress’ Wins the Golden Frog at the Cinematography Festival

The Oscar bellwether for Best Cinematography also recognized "Cold War," "Roma,” and "The Favourite."

"The Fortress"

“The Fortress”

Camerimage, the weeklong celebration of cinematography in Bydgoszcz, Poland, comes to a close today by handing out its prestigious Frog prizes. The big winner was South Korean drama “The Fortress,” which won the top prize, the Golden Frog, in the Main Competition. The film directed by Dong-Hyuk Hwang and lensed by Ji Yong Kim was a massive hit in its home country in late 2017 and has since been released in 28 countries, including the U.S., reaching 3.8 million viewers worldwide.

The competition jury gave the Silver Frog to cinematographer Łukasz Żal for “Cold War” and the Bronze Frog to director-cinematographer Alfonso Cuarón for “Roma.” With over 900 cinematographers from around the world in attendance, many voting members of the ASC, Camerimage is an important bellwether for the Oscar race for Best Cinematography. The silver and bronze prizes should be a big boost for the two black-and-white films angling for Oscar nominations.

Five years ago, Zal and director Paweł Pawlikowski’s “Ida” won the Golden Frog, which many credit as being the start of its winning campaign to eventually be nominated for the Oscar for Best Cinematography. In the case of “Roma,” there was concern that cinematographers would look past Cuarón — who previously worked with three-time Oscar winner Emmanuel Lubezki — shooting his own film, but both the film and Cuarón himself were enthusiastically welcomed Tuesday night when “Roma” made its Polish premiere at the Opera Nova.

“Cold War”

The Camerimage Audience Award went to cinematographer Robbie Ryan for his work on director Yorgos Lanthimos’ “The Favourite,” which comes out next week.

Other films in competition films this year included “22 July,” “At Eternity’s Gate,” “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs,” “First Man,” “Peterloo,” “Phantom Thread,” “A Prayer Before Dawn,” “A Rose in Winter,” and “A Star Is Born.” The Opening Night film this year was “The Old Man & the Gun,” and closing the festival tonight will be “If Beale Street Could Talk.”

This year’s competition jury was made up of cinematographers Dan Laustsen (“The Shape of Water”), Kees Van Oostrum (“Gods and Generals”), Jean-Marie Dreujou (“Two Brothers”), Florian Ballhaus (“RED”), along with production designers David Gropman (“Life of Pi”), and Lilly Kilvert (“Legends of the Fall”).

This year’s notable jurists in other competition categories, including TV Pilot, Music Video and Documentary, included a virtual who’s who in cinematography: James Laxton, John Bailey, Seamus McGarvey, Ed Lachman, John Mathieson, Manuel Alberto Claro, Dick Pope, Amy Vincent, Nancy Schreiber and Denis Lenoir.

Below is the complete list of prizes awarded at today’s closing ceremony.

Main Competition

Golden Frog: “The Fortress”
Cinematographer: Ji Yong Kim
Director: Dong-Hyuk Hwang

Silver Frog: “Cold War”
Cinematographer: Łukasz Żal
Director: Paweł Pawlikowski

Bronze Frog: “Roma”
Cinematographer: Alfonso Cuarón
Director: Alfonso Cuarón

Fipresci AWARD

The International Critics Prize to the director of the best film in the Main Competition – under specific consideration of its cinematography: “Peterloo”
Cinematographer: Dick Pope
Director: Mike Leigh

Audience Award

Camerimage Audience Award: “The Favourite”
Cinematographer: Robbie Ryan
Director: Yorgos Lanthimos

Polish Films Competition

Best Polish Film: “Nina”
Cinematographer: Tomasz Naumiuk
Director: Olga Chajdas

Student Competition

Laszlo Kovacs Student Award – Golden Tadpole: “Sirene”
Cinematographer: Douwe Hennink
Director: Zara Dwinger
School: Nederlandse Filmacademie – Netherlands Film Academy (AHK)

Silver Tadpole: “Almost Everything”
Cinematographer: Simon Bitterli
Director: Lisa Gertsch
School: Zürcher Hochschule der Künste – Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK)

Bronze Tadpole: “Them”
Cinematographer: Holger Jungnickel
Director: Tim Dünschede
School: Deutsche Film- und Fernsehakademie Berlin – German Film and Television Academy (dffb), Hochschule für Fernsehen und Film München – University of Television and Film Munich (HFF München), Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg GmbH

Documentary Features Competition

Golden Frog – Best Documentary Feature: “When the Bull Cried”
Cinematographer: Karen Vázquez Guadarrama
Director: Bart Goossesn, Karen Vázquez Guadarrama

Golden Frog — Best Docudrama: “I, Dolours”
Cinematographer: Kate McCullough
Director: Maurice Sweeney

Documentary Shorts Competition

Golden Frog: “Grand Prix: Horse Riders”
Cinematographer: Tomasz Wolski
Director: Anna Gawlita

Special Mention: “Pain Is Mine”
Cinematographer: Farshid Akhlaghi
Director: Farshid Akhlaghi

Directors’ Debuts Competition

Best Director’s Debut: “The Guilty”
Cinematographer: Jasper J. Spanning
Director: Gustav Möller

Cinematographers’ Debuts Competition

Best Cinematographer’s Debut: “Obey”
Cinematographer: Albert Salas
Director: Jamie Jones

Music Videos Competition

Best Music Video: Novo Amor “Birthplace”
Cinematographer: Nihal Friedel
Director: Jorik Dozy, Sil Van Der Woerd

Best Cinematography In A Music Video: Childish Gambino “This Is America”
Cinematographer: Larkin Seiple
Director: Hiro Murai

First Look – TV Pilots Competition

Best Pilot: “Patrick Melrose: Bad News”
Cinematographer: James Friend
Director: Edward Berger

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