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The 45th Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival starts unspooling


- The largest festival and market in the world dedicated to short films gets under way once again with a more expansive programme than it has had in the past few years

The 45th Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival starts unspooling
My Year of Dicks by Sara Gunnarsdóttir

While the Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival managed to lose only one on-site edition as a result of the pandemic, the 2022 iteration of the event was held under rather strict protocols. Now that the festival – which will run from 27 January-4 February this year – can take place without the restrictions of last year, it’s hoped that, whilst participants will be observant enough to keep everyone safe health-wise, the festival will be able to reach the heights of pre-pandemic years. With a larger programme than in the past few years and the return of the alcohol-tinged “Meet and Greets”, which used to be a popular early-evening event for short-film market exhibitors and attendees, both audiences and industry are looking forward to a Clermont-Ferrand that is back in full force.

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The festival’s International Competition will focus on 78 titles that run the gamut of genres, subject matters and sensibilities. It will play host to recent Oscar nominees such as Sara Gunnarsdóttir’s wonderfully provocative animation My Year of Dicks (USA/Iceland) as well as the massively popular and moving animation Ice Merchants by João Gonzalez (Portugal/UK/France), which also won in last year’s Cannes Critics’ Week. They will screen alongside a number of films that have premiered at high-profile festivals, amongst them Vytautas Katkus’ surreal and accomplished Cherries (Lithuania), Alica Bednáriková’s dryly humorous family drama Liquid Bread (Slovakia) and Amartei Amar’s perfectly observed TSUTSUƐ (France/Ghana). Fresh from Sundance, audiences will get a chance to see Thanasis NeofotistosAirhostess-737 (Greece), a startling portrait of the title character as she flies home with her mother’s body, while Liturgy of Anti-tank Obstacles by Dmytro Sukholytkyy-Sobchuk (Ukraine/USA) is a powerful documentary examining the current situation in Ukraine.

The Labo section, the festival’s strand for films that lean more towards the experimental, will also have a number of popular festival favourites, including Neighbour Abdi (Netherlands), the multi-award-winning documentary by Douwe Dijkstra, and Joseph Pierce’s brilliant and dark animation Scale (France/Belgium/UK/Czech Republic).

The festival’s National Competition will confirm France’s reputation as one of the world’s leading producers of short films as it showcases 56 domestic productions, including the brilliant and bold French-Iranian title Aban by Abbas Taheri and Mahdieh Toosi, which tells the tale of a young transgender person.

The side programmes will include the gathering’s traditional line-up geared towards young audiences, a Country Focus dedicated to Taiwan and a retrospective entitled “Libido”, which promises more sensual pleasures for the dedicated Clermont audiences.

The festival will also welcome British director Sally Potter – whose previous films include Orlando (1992) and The Party [+see also:
film review
Q&A: Sally Potter
film profile
(2017) – and she will also be on hand to discuss her 2022 short film Look at Me (UK), starring Javier Bardem and Chris Rock. The film will screen on the festival’s opening night, with Potter also delivering a public master class the next day.

The Short Film Market, looking to welcome over 3,500 delegates, will include buyers’ presentations from the likes of MUBI, Arte, Vimeo and Canal+, plus numerous talks, including one organised by the Short Film Conference examining “Employment Ethics in the Short Film Industry” and another, in association with online magazine Talking Shorts, exploring “Disseminating Shorts to Audiences”. There will also be a large number of market screenings, with collections from the likes of Germany, the Baltics and Ukraine, and the 15th edition of Euro Connection, the two-day pitching and networking event that aims to foster partnerships between European and international production companies.

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