The 43rd Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival gears up for an online edition
- Despite fervent hopes, the biggest short-film festival in the world is to go entirely online between 29 January and 6 February
While the move of many festivals to the online sphere owing to the pandemic has proven difficult, it has maybe been an especially bitter blow to the Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival, which has always been proud of its enthusiastic and loyal audience. In 2020 alone, it had more than 170,000 admissions, as well as an industry presence of more than 3,500 delegates at its annual Short Film Market. But, like many festivals across the world, Clermont is making the best of it. For its 43rd edition, between 29 January and 6 February, the biggest short-film festival in the world will be solely online and will be making 218 films across 43 programmes available to audiences based in France, whilst the new platform Shortfilmwire will be on hand to cater to the needs of the industry as part of the online Short Film Market.
The festival’s International Competition will focus on 78 films from across the world that provide the usual snapshot of the state of the short-film world today, with a diverse range of subjects and genres. There will be a number of festival award winners, such as the Egyptian-French co-production I am afraid to forget your face, Sameh Alaa’s bold exploration of grief that won the Palme d’Or for Best Short in 2020, as well as the Israeli effort White Eye, Tomer Shushan’s clever exploration of racism that won a multitude of awards, including SXSW 2020 Best Narrative Short. Newer films will include the Finnish title Nesting [Haikara] (directed by Siiri Halko), a deadpan but affecting exploration of the difficulty of saying goodbye, which will be having its world premiere, whilst Morgane Dziurla-Petit’s Grab Them (Sweden) is an extraordinary piece that dissects humanity, fake news, documentary techniques and politics by utilising “deepfake” CGI to graft the face of Donald Trump onto that of a 60-year-old Swedish woman.
The Labo section, the festival’s strand for more experimental fare, which this year will be celebrating its 20th anniversary, will present its usual selection of esoteric output, including the French film Maalbeek, Ismaël Joffroy Chandoutis’ pointed exploration of the 2016 attack at Brussels’ Maalbeek Metro station, and the 2020 EFA-nominated documentary short People on Saturday (Menschen Am Samstag) (Jonas Ulrich, Switzerland). The festival’s National Competition will play host to over 50 domestic productions as it continues to prove that France remains one of the world’s hotbeds of short filmmaking.
While the festival’s side programmes are unsurprisingly scaled down from usual years, there will also be chances to see films made for audiences of young people and a focus on “African Perspectives”.
Despite its move online, the Short Film Market, typically the largest event of its kind dedicated solely to shorts, still promises to host a plethora of industry events (with talks such as “Is Animation COVID-proof?”, and key-buyer presentations from the likes of Canal+, France Télévisions, ARTE and Movistar already announced), online market screenings and the 13th edition of Euro Connection, the co-production forum which will present 13 carefully selected short-film projects from all across Europe, all in search of creative and financial partners.
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