Camerimage: Witold Sobocinski to Receive Lifetime Achievement Award

The Polish cinematographer has worked with directors including Andrzej Wajda and Roman Polanski.
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Polish cinematographer Witold Sobocinski will receive the Camerimage Lifetime Achievement Award during the 26th Camerimage International Film Festival of the Art of Cinematography, which runs Nov. 10-17 in Bydgoszcz, Poland.

His long list of credits include The Wedding and The Promised Land (Academy Award-nominated for best foreign language film), both directed by Andrzej Wajda; O-Bi, O-Ba: The End of Civilization, helmed by Piotr Szulkin; The Hourglass Sanatorium, helmed by Wojciech Jerzy Has; The Third Part of the Night, helmed by Andrzej Zulawski; Hospital of the Transfiguration, helmed by Edward Żebrowski; The Gateway of Europe, directed by Jerzy Wójcik; and Frantic, helmed by Roman Polanski.

"Witold Sobocinski is one of the most distinguished Polish cinematographers, and his world-famous camerawork has contributed to over 90 feature films, documentaries and series," said Camerimage in a statement. "The cinematography for one of the first etudes — a film in the style of Italian neorealism, The Boats Depart At Dawn, where he illustrated the unity of humans and the elements — brought him international acclaim."

Also a noted jazz musician, Sobocinski’s “ear for music, a sense of rhythm and the ability to improvise have all made their way into his cinematography," according to Camerimage, which also highlighted his use of light. “He gives color a dramaturgic function and makes chromatic arrays for particular scenes, telling a story about the outer world and the characters’ inner space. His choice of colors is inspired by painters of different eras.”

Since 1980, the cinematographer has been a lecturer at the National Film School in Łódź (where he’s also an alum). He is the father of cameraman Piotr Sobocinski, who died in 2001, and the grandfather of Piotr Sobocinski Jr. and Michał Sobocinski, who also are cameramen.