Camerimage Director Says Fest To Leave Łódź

By Katarzyna Grynienko
WARSAW: Marek Żydowicz, the director of the Plus Camerimage Festival, has announced he will move the event away from its home in the Polish city of of Łódź after the city decided not to go ahead with his plans to build a new festival center. The city has been the festival's home for the past ten years.

In a letter sent to the authorities of Łódź on 8 February, Żydowicz terminated the contract signed between the festival's organizer Fundacja Tumult (www.tumult.pl) and the City of Lódz. Żydowicz claimed that the city had not fulfilled the conditions of the contract and is unsuitable as a place to hold the international event in 2010.

The Żydowicz's announcement comes after almost two months of struggle between the Plus Camerimage Festival (www.pluscamerimage.pl) director and the members of the city town council, who failed to approve a proposal to build a modern Camerimage Łódź Center budgeted at 500 mln PLN and with a design by Frank Gehry. Protests from Polish and international filmmakers and cinema fans failed to change the Council's decision.

The Łódź town council rejected the plans citing a number of shortcomings including the lack of a serious financial plan. The city advised the organizers that they must submit a better prepared project plan, which would postpone the construction of the new festival centre for another year and make them unable them to apply for an EU grant this year. A prior decision of the council to support the project with 17 million PLN was dependent on receiving EU funds.

If Żydowicz who founded the successful event goes ahead with his plans to move the festival to another city it will not be the first time Camerimage has changed venues. Founded in 1993 the festival which is dedicated to cinematographers was originally located in the Polish city of Toruń