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The 45th edition of Clermont-Ferrand comes to a close


- The world’s biggest dedicated short-film festival and market – back at full capacity after pandemic-related restrictions – has ended with wins for films from Austria, Greece, Portugal and Spain

The 45th edition of Clermont-Ferrand comes to a close
Will My Parents Come to See Me by Mo Harawe, which won the International Grand Prix

While the Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival returned to an on-site format in 2022, health restrictions and general uneasiness about the ongoing pandemic ensured that it felt something of a low-key edition. With restrictions lifted, this year, it seemed as though Clermont-Ferrand was back to full strength. Packed cinemas, and with them large and enthusiastic audiences, alongside approximately 4,000 industry delegates (both on and offline), representing a 25% increase on the previous year, meant that there was a slightly celebratory air as Clermont could concentrate on its main task: celebrating the short film form.

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At the festival’s closing ceremony on Saturday, it was, as usual, a diverse range of movies that were awarded with plaudits. The International Grand Prix was won by Mo Harawe’s Will My Parents Come to See Me (Austria/Germany/Somalia). This emotional piece of quietly devastating filmmaking, following a young Somali prisoner and the policewoman who is charged with his care as they follow the justice system to an inevitable conclusion, has already proven popular after premiering as part of Berlinale Shorts in 2022.

The International Audience Prize went to Isabella Margara’s Nothing Holier Than a Dolphin (Greece), a film that plays with reality and allegory as two fisherman find a dolphin caught in their nets. A candidacy for the European Film Awards (as well as a gong for Best Comedy) went to Enrique Buleo’s Women Visiting a City (Spain/France), the story of three retired women travelling by bus through Europe, who want to rediscover life after they were all recently widowed. The Canal+/Ciné+ Award was conferred upon Bahar ParsDonkeyland (Sweden), the third part of the director’s trilogy on racism, in which two women discuss, avoid, express and ultimately fight about issues of racism and microaggressions.

The National Competition Grand Prix was nabbed by Arthur Thomas-Pavlowsky’s Struggle Is the End (France), a powerful documentary about boxing that explores how the complexities of modern society are filtered through the lens of combat, while a Special Jury Prize went to Zoel Aeschbacher’s whirlwind social satire Fairplay (France/Switzerland). Both the National Audience Prize and the Canal+ Prize went to Jean-Baptiste Leonetti’s Tondex 2000 (France), a film in which an Afghan veteran living off of petty crime crosses paths with an upper-class CEO struggling to keep her lawnmower company afloat.

The Labo Competition, the section for fare that could be described as more experimental, saw the Grand Prix go to the provocative and bold Hideous by Yann Gonzalez (UK). The film by Gonzalez – well known on the circuit thanks to his shorts and the 2018 feature Knife + Heart [+see also:
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interview: Nicolas Maury
interview: Yann Gonzalez
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– homes in on a pop star as the main guest of a talk show, which soon slides into a surreal journey of love, shame and blood. The Labo Audience Prize went to Joseph Pierce’s animated flick Scale (UK), another film that comes with plaudits after premiering in the Cannes Critics’ Week in 2022.

Earlier in the week, the Short Film Conference – the network of more than 100 festivals, distributors, journalists and other industries associated with the short-film world – voted João Gonzalez’s Ice Merchants (Portugal/France/UK) as Short of the Year 2022. The film, which will vie for an Academy Award for Best Animated Short in a few weeks’ time, is a tender evocation of familial love, which is breathtakingly beautiful, wonderfully inventive and achingly human.

The full list of award winners at Clermont-Ferrand 2023 is as follows:

International Competition

International Grand Prix
Will My Parents Come to See Me - Mo Harawe (Austria/Germany/Somalia)

International Special Jury Prize
Invincible - Vincent René-Lortie (Canada)

International Audience Prize
Nothing Holier Than a Dolphin - Isabella Margara (Greece)

Award for Outstanding Performance
Lena Papaligoura - AIRHOSTESS-737 (Greece)

Award for Best Animation
The Garbage Man - Laura Gonçalves (Portugal)

Award for Best European Film – European Film Awards Candidacy
Women Visiting a City - Enrique Buleo (Spain/France)

International Student Prize
An Avocado Pit - Ary Zara (Portugal)

Canal+/Ciné+ Award
Donkeyland - Bahar Pars (Sweden)

Best Queer Short Award
An Avocado Pit - Ary Zara

Award for Best Documentary
Subtotals - Mohammadreza Farzad (Poland/Germany/Iran)

"Fernand Raynaud" Award for Best Comedy
Women Visiting a City - Enrique Buleo

National Competition

National Grand Prix
Struggle Is the End - Arthur Thomas-Pavlowsky (France)

National Special Jury Prize
Fairplay - Zoel Aeschbacher (France/Switzerland)

National Audience Prize
Tondex 2000 - Jean-Baptiste Leonetti (France)

Award for Outstanding Performance
Chanel Victor - Anansi (France)

Award for Best Original Score
Jako Maron - Sèt Lam (France)

National Student Prize
Human Resources - Trinidad Plass Caussade, Titouan Tillier, Isaac Wenzek (France)

Canal+ Award
Tondex 2000 - Jean-Baptiste Leonetti

Best Queer Short Award – Special Mention
Struggle Is the End - Arthur Thomas-Pavlowsky

SACD Award for Best French-language Animation
Skinned - Joachim Hérissé (France)

SACD Award for Best Debut Live-action Short
I Kemi Varros Baballarët - Hekuran Isufi (France)

Télérama Press Prize
I Once Was Lost - Emma Limon (France/USA)

Labo Competition

Lab Grand Prix
Hideous - Yann Gonzalez (UK)

Lab Special Jury Prize
The Debutante - Elizabeth Hobbs (UK)

Lab Audience Prize
Scale - Joseph Pierce (UK)

Lab Student Prize
Fantasy in a Concrete Jungle - Mehedi Mostafa (Bangladesh)

Special Effects Award by Adobe
Neighbour Abdi - Douwe Dijkstra (Netherlands)

Festival Connexion Award
45th Parallel - Lawrence Abu Hamdan (UK)

YouTube Award for Best Live-action Short & CNC/Talent Scholarship
Hippocampe - Éléonore Costes, Amaury Dequé (France)
Le figuier - Jimmy Conchou (France)

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