‘Nomadland’ Wins at EnergaCamerimage Film Festival

Will Tizard
·4-min read

Indie ethos, costume drama and rich fantasy won the day at the world’s top cinematography event, EnergaCamerimage Film Festival, on Saturday, with Joshua James Richards’ naturalistic filming in Chloé Zhao’s “Nomadland” taking the Golden Frog plus FIPRESCI jury honors. The chronicle of life on the rough edges of America’s society among retirees living on the road in trailers, based on Jessica Bruder’s nonfiction book “Nomadland: Surviving in the Twenty-First Century,” is considered a strong Oscars contender.

The 28th edition of Camerimage also wrapped with its award to an actor of unique visual sensitivity for Johnny Depp, whose Japan-set war correspondent story “Minamata,” filmed by Benoit Delhomme, screened at the fest. Depp said in a letter to the fest that shooting with the celebrated DP was “a sort of dance” encouraged by director Andrew Levitas, who “encouraged us to explore.”

Fest president Marek Zydowicz described the fest’s first online-only edition as “like landing on the moon,” but commended the Camerimage team for pulling off a success nonetheless.

“Helene,” the atmospheric period story of Finnish Modernist painter Helene Schjerfbeck, filmed by Rauno Ronkainen and directed by Antti J. Jokinen, took a Silver Frog, while Matteo Garrone’s live-action update of “Pinocchio,” lensed by Nicolaj Brüel, won the Bronze Frog.

“Truth Makes Free,” the story of a courageous Polish priest who troubles the communist authorities, filmed by Witold Płóciennik and directed by Robert Gliński, won the Polish films competition, while the nonfiction story of remote Siberian hunters, “The Whale from Lorino,” lensed by Piotr Bernaś and directed by Maciej Cuske, took the documentary feature prize.

“499,” an experimental time-travel doc that follows a Spanish conquistador through modern Mexico, filmed by Alejandro Mejia and directed by Rodrigo Reyes, won the docudrama prize, while the docu shorts prize went to “A Horse Has More Blood Than a Human,” the story of a retired couple caught up in the world of people smuggling, filmed by Mehdi Azadi and directed by Abolfazl Talooni. Doc special mention went to “Blood Rider,” the account of a motorcycle deliveryman carrying a precious cargo in Nigeria, lensed by David Bolen and Jon Kasbe, and directed by Kasbe.

The director debut prize went to Jan Holoubek for the story of a Polish man railroaded into prison, “25 Years of Innocence,” which was “exquisitely photographed” by Bartłomiej Kaczmarek, according to jurors. The cinematographer debut award went to Aurélien Marra for the moody lensing of France’s Oscar submission “Two of Us,” a tale of covert love by Filippo Meneghetti described by jurors as full of “subtle and convincing insight.”

In the music videos section, invariably a richly varied and highly competitive Camerimage competition, top honors went to Bass Astral x Igo’s “Feeling Exactly,” filmed by Mikołaj Syguda with direction from Krzysztof Grajper. The cinematography in a music video award went to Andrey Nikolaev for lensing an ironic Russian sendup of power and youth obsession in Aigel’s “You’re Born,” directed by Andžejs Gavrišs.

Top honors in the First Look TV pilots section, in which series ranging from HBO’s “The Undoing” to BBC/Hulu love story “Normal People” competed, went to Amazon Prime’s Nazi-tracking adventure show “Hunters,” starring Al Pacino, for the episode “In the Belly of the Whale,” shot by Frederick Elmes and directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon.

EnergaCamerimage Winners

Main Competition

Golden Frog

Nomadland

DP Joshua James Richards

Dir. Chloé Zhao

Silver Frog

Helene

DP Rauno Ronkainen

Dir. Antti J. Jokinen

Bronze Frog

Pinocchio

DP Nicolaj Brüel

Dir. Matteo Garrone

FIPRESCI Award

Nomadland

Polish Films

Truth Makes Free

DP Witold Płóciennik

Dir. Robert Gliński

Documentary Feature

The Whale from Lorino

DP Piotr Bernaś

Dir. Maciej Cuske

Docudrama

499

DP Alejandro Mejia

Dir. Rodrigo Reyes

Documentary Shorts

A Horse Has More Blood Than a Human

DP Mehdi Azadi

Dir. Abolfazl Talooni

Special Mention

Blood Rider

DP David Bolen, Jon Kasbe

Dir. Jon Kasbe

Director Debut

25 Years of Innocence

DP Bartłomiej Kaczmarek

Dir. Jan Holoubek

Cinematographer Debut

Two of Us

DP Aurélien Marra

Dir. Filippo Meneghetti

Music Videos

Bass Astral x Igo “Feeling Exactly”

DP Mikołaj Syguda

Dir. Krzysztof Grajper

Cinematography in a Music Video

Aigel’s “You’re born”

DP Andrey Nikolaev

Dir. Andžejs Gavrišs

First Look – TV Pilots

Hunters: In the Belly of the Whale

DP Frederick Elmes

Dir. Alfonso Gomez-Rejon

Student Etudes

Laszlo Kovacs Student Award – Golden Tadpole

A Rodeo Film

DP Erin G. Wesley

Dir. Darius D. Dawson

Silver Tadpole

Stratum Deep

DP Nathalie Pitters

Dir. Lian Meng Rose

Bronze Tadpole

The Dress

DP Konrad Bloch

Dir. Tadeusz Łysiak

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