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AWARDS Slovakia

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A celebration of Slovakian cinematographers at the Camera Awards

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- Martin Žiaran has netted the top prize at the seventh edition of the Camera Awards for his work on The Cleaner

A celebration of Slovakian cinematographers at the Camera Awards
Cinematographer Martin Žiaran with his award (© Miro Nôta)

The Association of Slovak Cameramen has held the Camera Awards event for the seventh time, which intends to highlight “the work of Slovakian cameramen, from the efforts of young cameramen on student films to those carrying out their work on foreign productions”, said the chairman of the association, Norbert Hudec. The award ceremony has taken place every two years since 2001. The seventh edition was special because “in the history of the awards, there have never been this many films submitted”, chair of the jury Ján Ďuriš remarked about the 92 movies put forward, adding that the important thing was that the “submitted films were of a high quality”.

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The feature-film category had three finalists: Martin Kollár for Koza [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Ivan Ostrochovský
film profile
]
, Ján Meliš for Eva Nová [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Marko Škop
film profile
]
and Martin Žiaran for The Cleaner [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Martin Žiaran
interview: Peter Bebjak
film profile
]
. The top prize was eventually handed to Žiaran. Last year, he took home two awards from the Golden Eye International Festival of Movie and TV Cameramen in Georgia: the Grand Prize and the Risk Shot for the faux one-take drama Hany [+see also:
trailer
interview: Michal Samir
film profile
]
. Žiaran, a long-time collaborator with Peter Bebjak on his television and feature projects, chose static, close-up shots to create a counterpoint reinforcing the internal tension during the otherwise Handycam-shot action, using low-key lighting to underline the atmosphere of urban decay. “He was looking for a way for the space to narrate the character’s story. The city is one thing, but he was trying to discover the space of the male protagonist, how it would look, what the lighting would be like,” Bebjak told Cineuropa. Because of the strong competition, the jury decided to award the Special Jury Prize to cinematographer and freelance photographer Martin Kollár for his work on the multi-award-winning Koza.

In the documentary and short fiction film category, documentaries Comeback, The Waiting Room and wave vs shore, along with short films Live Sharks and M is for Malnutrition, made it onto the shortlist. Ján Meliš’ second shot at a prize was fruitful when he bagged the Award for Documentary and Short Film for lensing The Waiting Room, while the Special Jury Prize in this category was bestowed upon the collective effort of trio Mário Ondriš, Ivo Miko and Jaro Vaľko for their work on the recidivism-focused documentary Comeback. Martin Žiaran also appeared among the television series and film hopefuls, though Peter Kelíšek won the prize in this category for the acclaimed public-broadcaster series Secret Lives. Furthermore, the camerawork on student films did not go unnoticed: Martin Chlpík took home the prize for shooting Chronos, an accomplishment that was previously acknowledged during the Áčko Student Film Festival in October.

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