SANDY POWELL WITH SPECIAL CAMERIMAGE AWARD!
Since the beginning of the International Film Festival of the Art of Cinematography CAMERIMAGE its organizers paid tribute to artists who make up their own paths within the film industry, thus creating formally captivating and visually distinctive projects inspiring others to think differently about the reality. With the festival’s growth came a larger number of industry professions awarded at Camerimage – currently not only those directly linked to the art of cinematography and production design, but also to the craft of music videos and 3D technology. This year will see this distinguished group expanded further with the artists dedicated to designing and creating film costumes, an indispensable part of the filmmaking process. Costumes are of invaluable assistance to actors, providing them with new ideas for their roles and giving them deeper understanding of the emotional journeys their characters go through. But costumes also determine the shape of production design, the way lights are set, the way camera movements are planned for each scene. They are crucial in defining a given character and the world he or she inhabits, they let the viewers feel closer to what is happening on screen. And they can – like no other part of cinema – work wonders with our imagination. It is therefore our great pleasure to introduce Special Camerimage Award to Costume Designer with Unique Visual Sensitivity, and to announce that its first laureate will be Sandy Powell, one of the most distinguished costume designers working today.
 
Sandy Powell, Sandy Powell Archive

Sandy Powell is known within the industry as an expert in defining visually, with her costumes, the bygone eras depicted on screen and making places that do not exist anymore feel real, as well as a true artist tirelessly looking for new ways of expression. It was her work and inventiveness that made Emily Blunt fully became Queen Victoria in Jean-Marc Vallée’s The Young Victoria; one of the ways the actress could show the British monarch's majesty was through as many as 58 different and lavish costumes she wore in front of the camera. It was Sandy Powell's creativity and immense research that made Leonardo DiCaprio, Daniel Day-Lewis and the rest of the cast of Martin Scorsese's Gangs of New York look and feel like veracious Irish immigrants and Americans from the second half of the 18th century. It was the variety of costumes designed by her for Todd Haynes's Far from Heaven that made the emotional journeys of characters reflect the colors of the passing seasons. And her collaboration with Haynes on Velvet Goldmine still fascinates today with its glam rock glamor. There are many more examples of Sandy Powell's mastery and fearless passion for her craft, love of which was instilled in her by her mother who taught her how to sew and constantly look for new challenges. That last trait could be seen in Bill Forsyth's Being Human, among many other films. For this particular project, Powell created costumes from five different time periods (including Bronze Age and modern times).
 
Stills from "Caravaggio", "Interview with a Vampire:
The Vampire Chronicles" and "The Aviator"

Powell started her adventure as a costume designer by working for fringe theater productions and music videos, but her professional career flourished with numerous co-operations with distinguished film directors and true artists of cinema, like Iain Softley, Sally Potter, Atom Egoyan and Julie Taymor. Over the years, she has struck many creative partnerships, but the most important were those with Derek Jarman, Neil Jordan and Martin Scorsese. Jarman was Powell's first role model in the industry and offered her in 1986 her feature debut on his Caravaggio – she responded by creating a series of magnificent costumes inspired by the works of the eponymous painter. They made three more films together in the following years. Jordan, however, helped Powell to spread her wings internationally. Especially with bohemian, elegant and stylish Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles, in which she turned rising Hollywood stars into dangerously erotic film icons, and Michael Collins, an elaborately executed cinematic portrait of Ireland from the beginning of the 20th century. Her collaboration with Haynes enabled her to recreate the sumptuous 1970s in Velvet Goldmine, and depict the American 1950s from the perspective of two different states: Connecticut in Far from Heaven and New York in this year's Carol. Powell joined Scorsese in the new millennium, and to this day they have made 6 feature films together. She helped the director to look behind the curtains of 1940s Hollywood in The Aviator, made the viewers breathe the atmosphere of modern-day Boston in The Departed, and created stunningly beautiful and wondrous tribute to the everlasting power of cinema in Hugo.
 
Stills from "Far from Heaven",
"The Young Victoria" and "Gangs of New York"

Sandy Powell does not hold on to only one working method or use the same tools over and over – she makes each and every project according to what it is and what it has to be. She is not afraid of “getting dirty” with her creations, as she loves to imbue her costumes with a certain visual character. And she is constantly looking for new artistic adventures. Her work on this year's Cinderella is a perfect example of that trait – the blue ball gown of the eponymous character is subtle, has a perfectly fairy-tale quality, and looks deceptively simple, but its creation took over 20 people approximately 500 working hours. What is more, the wardrobe of Cate Blanchett's character, stylized partly as chic Hollywood designs from 1940s, aesthetically enchanted lots of viewers. It resulted in that now nobody thinks about Cinderella in terms of the classic Disney animated film anymore. Sandy Powell has been deservedly nominated 10 times to the Academy Award, winning 3 Oscars (for John Madden's Shakespeare in Love, Martin Scorsese's The Aviator and Jean-Marc Vallée's The Young Victoria), and for her merits to the art of film she was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE). Suitably for one of the best costume designers in the world, Sandy Powell is also a fashion icon with her own unique style. We could not imagine a better first laureate of the Special Camerimage Award to Costume Designer with Unique Visual Sensitivity, and it will be our great pleasure to hand it to Sandy Powell personally this November in Bydgoszcz.