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Imago International Awards for Cinematography 2017

02 Nov 2017 1:08 PM | Peter Parnham (Administrator)

The last weekend in October 2017 saw the advent of the first IMAGO International Cinematography Awards. Marc Swadel who represented NZCS reports.  

Photo: (L t R) Daniil Fomichev RGC, Joe Dunton BSC, Marc Swadel, Alex Linden FSF, Simon Tansec ZFS, Louis-Philippe Capelle SBS, Phil Greenstreet - Rosco 

The last weekend in October 2017 saw the advent of the first IMAGO International Cinematography Awards. The seeds for this event were sown a year earlier at the IMAGO meeting in Macedonia, where Ron Johanson ACS took up the challenge to head the Awards committee. The idea was Awards by Cinematographers, for Cinematographers – with each society choosing entries for a feature, TV series or documentary. There were also awards for Extraordinary Technical Achievement, Extraordinary contribution to Cinematography, and Lifetime Achievement.

It was decided that Helsinki, Finland would be the venue – and it would celebrate not only the first awards – but the 25th Anniversary of IMAGO, the 100th Anniversary of ARRI and the 100th Anniversary of Finland!

Fast forward to the 27th of October, as I and my wife Mary are hurtling across Normandy to make our night flight from Paris to Helsinki, leaving a 23 degree, sunny autumnal France to land in a snow sprinkled and decidedly less warm Helsinki. Sharing our ride into the hotel/venue was Fabian Wagner BSC and his partner Lauren, (Pictured left with Marc Swadel and Mary Wing To) and we had a hilarious conversation working each other out – they had come from Dublin, he was BSC, but German, but lived in London, and we had come from Paris, I am with NZCS and ACS, but live in London also.

The morning of the Awards, we were all taken on a trip to central Helsinki, and the fortress Island of Suomenlinna. Helsinki is a good looking city – wide roads, trams, and a lovely mix of Art Nouveau and mid-century style. The fortress Island itself reflects Finland’s history – passing from being Swedish, to Russian, then finally into independent Finnish hands. The island is now a UNESCO heritage site, and has art galleries and a recording studio within its grounds.

Roll on to the evening – The Awards. They kick off with a black tie drinks and canapes reception, where the cinematographers, sponsors and nominees all catch up, and then we move into the auditorium.

The IMAGO Lifetime Achievement Award – was presented by ARRI to Luciano Tovoli AIC ASC.  (On right in picture with Daniele Nannuzzi AIC on left ) Luciano is a past president of both IMAGO and the AIC (Autori Italiani della Cinematografia) and some of his best known work is Suspiria with Dario Argento and The Passenger with Michelangelo Antonioni. Luciano has been a massive force for both fighting for authorship rights for DP’s and also for fostering connections between us all – having founded IMAGO in 1992.

Next up was the ARRI – IMAGO Award for Emerging Cinematographer.

This Award went to the young Russian DOP Daniil Fomichev for his work on the dark comedy/crime drama How Viktor Garlic Took Alexey the Stud to the Nursing Home about a 27 year old orphan meeting his disabled father, and the insane mayhem that ensues.

Two more awards came next – both were IMAGO International Awards for Extraordinary Technical Achievement, presented by Angel Film and Dagsljus.

First up was Jannicke Mikkelson FNF, who is a 31-year-old Scots/Norwegian 3d/VR expert/DOP/Software Programmer who counts making a VR concert movie with Queen and work with NASA and Sir David Attenborough as among her recent gigs.

The other recipient was Joe Dunton M.B.E BSC. Joe is a colossus in camera innovation – he was Stanley Kubrick’s Camera expert, invented super 35mm, the heated eyepiece, the ladderpod, and a forerunner of the Alexa (an ARRI SR with a digital back, in 2002). Joe also lensed Dance Craze the cult 1981 Steadicam/70mm Ska concert film. And he owns Mitchell.

Joe says that he sees where the industry is at the moment is exciting, as it is evolving at a fast rate. His current focus is on inventing a 4 colour system – RGBY – as he says that nothing yet can show the true colour of gold.

Next up was the IMAGO Extraordinary Contribution to Cinematography Award, presented by CW Sonderoptic to Marek Zydowicz. Marek is the founder of the Camerimage Festival in Poland, which is the biggest cinematography festival in the world, attracting 70,000 people each year. The very first Camerimage Golden Frog  Award for best cinematography was given to Stuart Dryburgh for The Piano in 1996.

After a short musical break provided by artist Kimmo Pohjonen, who’s ‘Marilyn Manson vs the Accordion’ punk style ensured everyone was awake for the final three awards:


Best Cinematography in TV Documentary (presented by Canon)

Paolo Ventura Vanishing Man - Erik van Empel NSC Holland
SARAJ'VO - Mustafa Mustafić, Almir Đikoli, Faris Dobrača ASBH - Bosnia and Herzegovina Icon (Ikona) - Łukasz Żal - PSC - Poland

Best Cinematography in TV Drama (presented by Zeiss and Drylab)

Gomorra - Paolo Carnera AIC – Italy
Game of Thrones: The Winds of Winter - Fabian Wagner BSC - United Kingdom
Midnattssol/Midnight sun - Erik Sohlström FSF - Sweden

Best Cinematography in Feature Films (presented by Panasonic)

La la Land -Linus Sandgren FSF – Sweden
Maudie - Guy Godfree CSC – Canada
Nocturnal Animals - Seamus McGarvey BSC - United Kingdom


Best Cinematography in TV Documentary

Icon (Ikona) - Łukasz Żal - PSC – Poland

Łukasz Żal is the Oscar nominated DOP for the film Ida (2013). Ikona is a documentary shot within Siberia’s biggest mental institutions, delving into the lives of its inmates. Łukasz relayed the film was shot under limitations – and all he had was a 7D and 24 and 50mm lenses.

Best Cinematography in TV Drama

Game of Thrones: The Winds of Winter - Fabian Wagner BSC - United Kingdom

Fabian is a Munich native, who started his journey at ARRI when he was 16. As well as lensing Game of Thrones, Fabian has shot on over 20 episodic series, as well as features such as Victor Frankenstein and the upcoming Justice League. He is just about to start the 8th series of Game of Thrones.

Best Cinematography in Feature Films

Nocturnal Animals - Seamus McGarvey BSC ASC - United Kingdom

Seamus is a multi-Oscar nominated Northern Irish born DOP whose credits include The War Zone, Fifty Shades of Grey, Godzilla, and Anna Karenina. Nocturnal Animals is a stylish dark drama from designer turned director Tom Ford, mainly shot at night on Kodak stock.

Winners and sponsors on stage

And there we had it – the inaugural IMAGO International Cinematography Awards were awarded, but the night was not over – all retired to the dining room where a fantastic Finnish dinner was provided, followed by very good wine, beer and conversations that lasted well into the next morning (they did for me!) On another good note – a gent came up and asked if I was from the NZCS – it was Phil Greenstreet, from Rosco soft drops – who said he enjoyed his time in NZ a few weeks before. It is definitely a small world!

In conclusion – a great event. Paul Rene Roestad the IMAGO President can stand proud – Tahvo Hirvonen and the Finnish Society did a wonderful hosting job, and Ron Johanson and the Awards committee, and also the judges should take a bow. As should we all – this was an awards from us to us – 53 societies, 100+ entries and 4000 Cinematographers made this event truly mean something.

Paul-Rene Roestad FNF IMAGO President and Tahvo Hirvonen FSC President.


Link to view ceremony

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