Polish filmmakers stage sit-in protest over Lodz film center

By Katarzyna Grynienko
Marek Żydowicz, the director of the Camerimage festival, is leading a sit-in strike by 150 film supporters in the Lodz City Council over failure of the City Council to introduce a resolution to build a new Camerimage Lodz Center in 2010.

The Camerimage Lodz Center (CLC) is a part of a project to renovate a former factory into a large art and cultural complex which would house the David Lynch sound and post-production studio and the CLC festival center.

The CLC be a major step forward for the Camerimage Film Festival (www.pluscamerimage.pl), the biggest international festival of cinematography art. CLC will contain the 2500-seat Grand Auditorium, a smaller state-of-the-art screening hall and stage theatre, and four 500-seat screening rooms, along with conference rooms, exposition space, and a press center. The Frank Gehry design is considered to be the future pearl in the architectural landscape of Lodz, with a 130m glass roof which will be used to hold screenings visible from outside the building. The planned cost of the project is 500 mln PLN, with 50% of funds coming from the EU if the authorities of Lodz vote to support it.

The project was widely advertised in Poland over the past year, with construction planned for early 2010. The Polish press saw it as putting Lodz on the international map of "film cities" and a significant tourist attraction. The deciscion of City Council of Lodz to postpone the project shocked Poles. The Council said it can launch the project after the Minister of Culture gives his support and funds a competition giving 250 mln PLN in financing. This could delay the build for another year, which was met with a strong criticism from the filmmaking community.