Clermont kicks off with 41st edition
by Laurence Boyce
- Biggest short film festival in the world once again poised to bring in big numbers of both industry and audience
The 41st Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival has has begun once again with a packed programme designed to entice its usual large and enthusiastic audience as well as the huge amount of industry that descends upon the French city during February.
The festival’s International Competition comprises a heady mixture of 78 animations, fictions and documentaries. Amongst the films on offer are Vincent Lambe’s controversial, and Academy Award nominated, Detainment (Ireland). The blend between documentary and fiction focuses on the real-life events of 1993 when two youngsters kidnapped toddler Jamie Bulger in the UK. Examining ideas of criminal responsibility and justice, the film is a compelling – and often uncomfortable – watch. Also screening is Thanasis Neofotistos’ Patision Avenue (Greece), the technically brilliant and emotionally powerful story of a woman who – whilst on her way to an audition – finds herself in one of Athens most controversial areas. Shot in one take, the film examines the tensions between the personal and the social. Other films to look out for include Fauve (Jeremy Comte, Canada), another Oscar nominee, that has proved one of the most popular shorts of the past year and Blue (Thailand/France), a cryptic film from former Palme D’or winner Apichatpong Weerasethakul.
The National Competition emphasises France’s reputation as one of the top producers of shorts in the world with new films from the likes of Jean-Gabriel Périot amongst many others. There’s also a chance to see animation including the literally and figuratively trashy Night of The Plastic Bags (Gabriel Harel, France) and the elliptical and moving account of an eating disorder in Egg (Martina Scarpelli, France/Denmark)
The Lab competition will shine the focus on more experimental works and boasts a jury that will include Claire Denis amongst its members. Amongst the highlights will be All Inclusive (Corina Schwingruber Ilic, Switzerland), the visually stunning and vaguely satirical documentary that already has a raft of festival awards behind it, and Solar Walk (Denmark), the latest film from renowned Hungarian animator Reka Bucsi.
Festival retrospectives this year include a section dedicated to Canada with shorts from the likes of Guy Maddin, Denis Villeneuve and David Cronenberg and Shorts In Translation, a series of films that all examine difficulties in communication.
With almost 4000 attending professionals the Clermont Short Film Market will continue to be one of the world’s most important hubs for the business of short films with representatives from Vimeo, Netflix and MUBI all in attendance alongside a large swathe of the world’s film festivals, amongst them Toronto, Cannes and Venice. With the market running many panels and discussions and welcoming some new countries, amongst them Cyprus, Cuba, Russia, Slovakia and Senegal, Clermont-Ferrand looks poised to provide a perfect opportunity to find out what the short film landscape will have to offer over the coming year.
Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival runs from 1-9 February 2019.
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