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Clermont-Ferrand goes ahead with in-person edition of festival


- The world's biggest short film festival and market begins on Friday with strict protocols in place

Clermont-Ferrand goes ahead with in-person edition of festival
Displaced by Samir Karahoda

After taking place online last year, the Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival will see live audiences return from Friday 28 January to experience its usual – if slightly truncated - selection of short films from across the world. With Omicron concerns still looming large, the festival – whose large popularity usually means that it is only second to Cannes in terms of French festival attendance – will be enforcing strict COVID-19 protocols for both the general audience and the industry visiting the market.

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The festival's International Competition will provide a typical eclectic mix of films popular on the festival circuit and newer discoveries across 77 titles. Shorts such as Displaced by Samir Karahoda (Kosovo), Fall of the Ibis King by Josh O'Caoimh and Mikai Geronimo (Ireland) and In Flow Of Words by Eliane Esther Bots (Netherlands) come with a slew of awards and plaudits, while there will be world premieres for the likes of Estonian animator Sander Joon, whose latest film Sierra will unspool in front of audiences for the first time.

The Lab Competition, focusing on more esoteric and experimental films, will see Axel Danielson and Maximilien Van Aertryck’s latest short Jobs For All (Sweden), a timely and satirical documentary from the people behind the massively popular Hopptornet [Ten Meter Tower]. Other films amongst the 27 selected include the surreal In The Soil by Casper Kjeldsen (Denmark), which premiered in the 2021 Cannes Short Film Competition, the Locarno-premiered documentary Happiness Is A Journey by Ivete Lucas and Patrick Bresnan (US/Estonia) and Train Again (Austria), the latest film from experimental film legend Peter Tscherkassky. The festival's National Competition will play host to 50 shorts, including numerous French co-productions including the dry comedy Sideral by Carlos Segundo (Brazil/France) which also premiered at Cannes in 2021.

While attendance at the festival's market may suffer from industry hesitancy – especially from those outside continental Europe – there will still be a healthy presence of festival programmers and distributors on site and many of the events that are industry facing will be hybrid to try and cater to everybody.

A number of buyer presentations will see the likes of ARTE, Movistar and Canal+ discuss what kind of short film projects they're looking for in today's climate while there will be a discussion on 'Everything you never dared to ask about distribution,' for filmmakers to ask why they should work with a distributor and when is the right time to do so. The Short Film Conference, the international network of short film festivals and associated industries, will also hold its annual event with talks on festival programming and hybrid festivals. Numerous market screenings will see new shorts from Germany, the Baltic Regions and Scandinavia.

Euro Connection, the two-day pitching and networking event aimed at fostering partnerships between European and international production companies, will welcome 14 projects alongside 10 producers who will take part in the Producers Focus.

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