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FESTIVALS France

Shorts in good health at Clermont-Ferrand

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The philosophy behind the 28th Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival (January 27 - February 4), can be summed up as follows: "Denying the short film is like denying the possibility for innovation and research. It truly means breaking with the future of cinema". The festival ended with satisfactory numbers: There were numerous awards to encourage new films, large audiences (130,000 attendees recorded) and an international offering of shorts, between competition and other sections, from 64 countries. The choices were abundant, and ranged from the UK retrospective of the lasts 15 years (Leigh, Park, Quay), to those on the 80th anniversary of the Louis-Lumière School, author/screenwriter Jean Giono and Sweden’s 32 year-old Jens Jonsson. The emerging form of the animated documentary was also explored, with two programs that will be re-screened in Brussels as part of Anima 2006 (February 24 – March 5).

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From the many films in competition (three competition sections – International, National and Experimental – with a number of sub-sections each), it was evident that short films are in good health, an impression confirmed by the number of industry representatives (especially from Western Europe, Eastern Asia, Canada and Mexico) at the festival market. In the large and crowded Cocteau Room of the Maison de la Culture, the festival’s core, the rising stars of cinema received the Vercingetorix Awards. The International Grand Prix went to Medianeras, by Argentina’s Gustavo Taretto, on the lack of communication in large cities (here, Buenos Aires), set among chaotic architecture and sensitive humour. The winner of the French section was Fais de beaux rêves by Marilyne Canto, who also played the lead in a B&W story on loss and mourning, halfway between dream and reality. Audiences awarded the UK short Hibernation by John Williams, on one child’s incurable illness and the tender solidarity of two friends, and Le Mammouth Pobalski by French filmmaker Jacques Mitsch.

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