Quentin Tarantino Makes Heartfelt Appearance to Celebrate DP Robert Richardson in Poland

"Joker" won the top prize at Oscar bellwether Camerimage, while the Tarantino cinematographer teased, "He just read me something he wrote."
Camerimage: Joker Wins Golden Frog; Tarantino Fetes Robert Richardson
Camerimage: Robert Richardson and Quentin Tarantino with their award for director-cinematographer collaboration
Krzysztof Wesolowski

Camerimage, the festival in Toruń, Poland dedicated to the art of cinematography, handed out its prestigious Frog prizes this evening. The big winner was “Joker” cinematographer Lawrence Sher, who won the top prize, the Golden Frog, in addition to the Audience Prize. The Bronze Frog was awarded to “The Painted Bird” DP Vladimír Smutný, while “The Two Popes” DP César Charlone won the Silver Frog. A full list of winners at the end of this article.

Now in its 27th year, Camerimage has become homecoming week for cinematographers from around the globe, with a vast number of the best DPs, past and present, in attendance. From an awards perspective — considering cinematographers nominate their colleagues — it’s hard to overestimate the value of DPs presenting their work and discussing their craft with their tight-knit community during the week-long celebration.

Sher — whose “Joker” screened early in the fest, and has been in attendance and an active participant in events all week — already looked poised for his first Oscar nomination before winning today’s top prize from an elite jury of his peers, which included John de Borman, Peter James, Teresa Medina, Anastas Michos, Dante Spinotti, along with screenwriter Jordan Roberts and jury president director Michael Hoffman.

"Joker" cinematographer Lawrence Sher winning the Golden Frog
“Joker” cinematographer Lawrence Sher winning the Golden FrogKrzysztof Wesolowski

Recognition for two smaller films, Netflix’s “The Two Popes” and the black-and-white Czech Republic Oscar entry “The Painted Bird,” which also won the FIPRESCI International Critics Prize, could elevate them into cinematography contention. Both films were well-received in Toruń.

Also in competition were “Ford v Ferrari” (DP Phedon Papamichael), “The Irishman” (DP Rodrigo Prieto), “The Last Black Man in San Francisco” (DP Adam Newport-Berra), “Motherless Brooklyn” (DP Dick Pope), “An Officer and a Spy” (DP Paweł Edelman), “Never Look Away” (DP Caleb Deschanel), “Mr. Jones” (DP Tomasz Naumiuk), “Shadow” (DP Xiaoding Zhao), “Bolden” (DP Neal Norton), and “Amundsen” (DP Paal Ulvik Rokseth).

Not in competition was “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” the closing-night film shot by veteran DP Robert Richardson. In a tribute to his great cinematographer, Quentin Tarantino flew to Poland to share the stage with Richardson as the two accepted the Duo Award for their six-film collaboration.

“This is one of the proudest awards I’ve ever won,” said Tarantino. “I just got married this last year, but before that I’ve been married to this man [gesturing to Richardson]. After we first started working together, he said, ‘How do you think it’s going?’ And I said, ‘Oh, I’m putting towels in my house that have your monogram and my monogram on it.”

John Bailey, Quentin Tarantino, and Robert Richardson at the Camerimage Ceremony
John Bailey, Quentin Tarantino, and Robert Richardson at the Camerimage CeremonyFilip Tuchowski

After laughs, applause, and the Polish translation, Tarantino got sincere. “I mean this from the bottom of my black heart,” Tarantino said. “Working with Bob is literally one of the greatest joys of my life and he’s led my films to a visual sophistication that, back when I was working at the video store, I couldn’t even dream of achieving myself, but I could appreciate in others.”

Richardson revealed to the audience that since they arrived in Poland, Tarantino has been sharing something he is currently writing.

“Quentin is the most brilliant director I’ve ever worked with,” said Richardson, who has worked with other notable auteurs like Martin Scorsese and Oliver Stone. “Last night I sat with him for an hour and he read something to me that he just wrote, and this morning as well. His brain is fucking on fire. We should all be so lucky as cinematographers to have a man this talented, and why we create as cinematographers is because of men and women like him, and we should be very much in praise. Quentin, I love you.”

Full List of Camerimage 2019 Prize Winners:

Golden Frog: “Joker”
DP: Lawrence Sher
Dir: Todd Phillips

Silver Frog: “The Two Popes”
DP: César Charlone
Dir: Fernando Meirelles

Bronze Frog: “The Painted Bird”
DP: Vladimír Smutný
Dir: Václav Marhoul

FIPRESCI Award: “The Painted Bird”
DP: Vladimír Smutný
Dir: Václav Marhoul

Audience Award: “Joker”
DP: Lawrence Sher
Dir: Todd Phillips

Best Polish Film: “Mister T.”
DP: Artur Bajerski
Dir: Marcin Krzyształowicz

Laszlo Kovacs Student Award (Golden Tadpole): “Lefty/Righty”
DP: Alfonso Herrera Salcedo
Dir: Max Walker-Silverman
School: NYU – Tisch School of the Arts

Silver Tadpole: “Mariam and Natan”
DP: David Bajerski
Dir: David Bajerski
School: Łódź Film School

Bronze Tadpole: “The Last Children in Paradise”
DP: Felix Pflieger
Dir: Anna Roller
School: HFF München – Hochschule für Fernsehen und Film

Golden Frog — best documentary feature: “Midnight Family”
DP: Luke Lorentzen
Dir: Luke Lorentzen

Golden Frog — best docudrama: “Marek Edelman… and There Was Love in the Ghetto”
DP: Jakub Kijowski, Jolanta Dylewska
Dir: Jolanta Dylewska

Documentary Shorts Competition

Golden Frog — Grand Prix: “Kamali:
DP: Jake Gabbay
Dir: Sasha Rainbow

Special Mention: “Oneself”
DP: Christiaan van Leeuwen
Dir: Carolien van Maaswaal

Best Director’s Debut: “Pacified”
DP: Laura Merians
Dir: Paxton Winters

Best Cinematographer’s Debut: “Pacified”
DP: Laura Merians
Dir: Paxton Winters

Best Music Video: James Massiah “Natural Born Killer (Ride for Me)”
DP: Mauro Chiarello
Dir: Ian Pons Jewell

Best Cinematography In A Music Video: Jon Hopkins “Singularity”
DP: Khalid Mohtaseb
Dir: Seb Edwards

Best TV Pilot: “Euphoria”
DP: Marcell Rév
Dir: Augustine Frizzell

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