'A Star Is Born' Cinematographer Released After Arrest Over Alleged Assault

A Sar is Born - On set with Director of Photography MATTY LIBATIQUE and BRADLEY COOPER -H 2018
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Entertainment

Matthew Libatique, an Oscar-nominated director of photography, was reportedly freed without conditions by a judge in Poland.

Matthew Libatique, the cinematographer behind A Star Is Born, has been released after facing charges of an alleged drunken attack on paramedics and police officers during his visit to the Camerimage Festival in Poland, the country's local news outlets reported. 

The decision Thursday from a judge in the city of Bydgoszcz came despite a reported plea from local prosecutors for up to three months pretrial detention for the Oscar-nominated director of photography.

Prosecutors stated they will appeal and said that if Libatique returned to the U.S., it would hinder their investigation, local media stated. They have seven days to appeal, though are likely to lodge a request sooner.

Monika Gorska-Makarewicz, a district court judge in Bydgoszcz, told Libatique he was free to go, respected Polish daily newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza reported.

Her decision came despite comments late Wednesday by Zbigniew Ziobro, Poland's justice minister, who called for harsher penalties for those convicted of attacks on public officials. Ziobro said, as quoted by Gazeta Wyborcza: "If the courts treat such offenders too gently, I oblige and instruct prosecutors to appeal and demand much more severe penalties."

The minister added, in a reference to Libatique's case, that he specifically hoped his recommendations would be applied to the "cinematographer detained in Bydgoszcz," Polish state news agency PAP reported.

The case against the New York-born DP rests on allegations, reported by the Associated Press, that he lashed out at ambulance staff and police officers after he was found staggering around a hotel lobby in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

An ambulance was called to attend to Libatique after guests at the hotel became concerned for his health. He allegedly hit paramedics who attended the scene. Ambulance officials later reportedly claimed that one medic suffered a broken tooth in the incident.

Libatique was arrested and reportedly taken to a hospital for treatment before being charged with assault. He was represented in court by Marcin Maminski, a lawyer appointed by the U.S. embassy in Warsaw. 

The 50-year-old filmmaker, who was nominated for an Oscar in 2011 for his work on Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan, was supposed to stay in Bydgoszcz through Saturday to attend the awards ceremony of the 26th edition of the Camerimage Festival.

He has been nominated for an award for his work on A Star Is Born at the festival, which celebrates the work of cinematographers. Last Sunday he introduced a screening of the film, the latest remake of a David O. Selznick's 1937 technicolor classic fable of Hollywood fame and failure.

Under Polish law, if convicted of assault, Libatique faces up to three years in prison. Libatique's agent, who is understood to be accompanying him in Poland, did not immediately offer comment.