Plus Camerimage to Honor the Late Harris Savides


Plus Camerimage, the International Film Festival of the Art of Cinematography, announced today that it will pay special tribute to the late BAFTA Film Award nominated cinematographer Harris Savides (American Gangster, Zodiac, The Game, Milk). Savides’ close friend and two-time Academy Award nominee Gus Van Sant (Good Will Hunting, Milk, Elephant) is teaming with the festival for the tribute, along with Savides’ colleagues Chris Doyle (Hero, In the Mood for Love, 2046), Anthony Dod Mantle (Slumdog Millionaire, 28 Days Later…, The Last King of Scotland), and James McCormick (Savides’ first camera assistant).

It was also revealed that Van Sant will be present to accept the Festival’s Director Duo Award on behalf of his late friend and himself. As a part of the tribute, the Festival will screen two of their films, Elephant and Last Days. The Elephant screening will take place on Friday, November 30th at 9.30 p.m. in the Opera House, and will be preceded by retrospective by Savides’ friends and collaborators. Last Days will be screened after the Festival’s Closing Gala on Saturday, December 1st.

“The paths of eminent directors and cinematographers often never cross – they choose their own artistic roads and gain individual success. However, luck would have it that a talented director would meet a matching, equally talented, cinematographer, who would later collaborate on several films,” said Festival Director Marek Żydowicz. “Something special emerges from this visually imaginative and creative relationship. As a result, fans get to experience unique works of art, those that otherwise would never have been created if different filmmakers had collaborated on them.”

When Van Sant and Savides first met in the 1990s, on the set of a commercial, they were at different stages of their careers. Though Van Sant had not yet received his Oscar nomination for directing Good Will Hunting, he was a already an established author of films about young misfits searching for alternative life paths. Examples of such pictures include Drugstore Cowboy, My Own Private Idaho, and the comedy drama Even Cowgirls Get the Blues. His directing credits include the dark comedy To Die For, starring Nicole Kidman. Savides, son of Cypriot immigrants, was at that time taking the first steps in his cinematographic career filming commercials and music videos.

The most notable films created by the Van Sant–Savides duo are six features: Finding Forrester, Gerry, Elephant, Last Days, Milk and Restless. These movies are deeply humane stories in which the director touches upon topics close to him, and includes characteristics of American cinema, such as love, friendships, tests of character, violence and rejection. Van Sant frees himself from Hollywood conventions as far as aesthetic choices are concerned. This is where Savides came in, who was eager to experiment with unusual solutions: static frames (Gerry), long shots with natural lighting (Elephant), or cinéma vérité style (Milk). It is worth pointing out that it is the collaboration with Savides that brought Van Sant his second Academy Award nomination for best direction (Milk), as well as the Palme d’Or and Best Director Award at Cannes Film Festival (Elephant).

The Savides tribute is the latest high profile event revelealed by the Plus Camerimage Film Festival, which is celebrating its landmark 20th annivereary and runnig from Nov 24th through December 1st. will be attended this year’s festival, so check back for updates later this month.