Director of Programming James McNally is attending this year’s Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival from February 1st to February 8th
Another terrible night’s sleep meant another lost morning, but the first event of my day wasn’t until 2:00pm. In fact, the entire afternoon was dedicated to several panels and meetings of the Short Film Conference, an organization of short film festivals that we’ve just recently joined. It began at 2:00pm with a presentation by my friend Jason Sondhi from Short of the Week on the “Be Everywhere All At Once Strategy” for short filmmakers. He made a great case for filmmakers making their online launch an important cornerstone of their overall festival strategy.
That was followed by a panel made up of African film festival professionals, who discussed the challenges of getting more African films screened at festivals around the world. It was interesting to hear that there are several large festivals on the continent that have been established since the 1960s, and that there are a lot of films that play at those festivals but go no further.
Another panel followed on the nuts and bolts of making a living as a festival director, with participants from such different corners of the world as Korea, Brazil, New Zealand and Switzerland. Hearing about how the political climate in some countries made funding unstable was a bit of an eye opener for me.
Then there was a meeting discussing some of the organizational issues for the group, which was less interesting, but they announced their choice for Short of the Year, which was Min Börda (The Burden), directed by Niki Lindroth von Bahr. I’ve yet to see it but will try to catch it in the video library.
Then the drinking started. First an informal social where the panels had been held, and then we moved on to a party held by the Scandinavians, then the Short Film Conference dinner, held at the Salvation Jane pub, and then the German party. The “dinner” was definitely a letdown for me, with only finger foods on offer.
It was nice to spend most of the day with a smaller group of people, and walking from place to place with them was a good chance to talk even when the parties themselves were louder and more chaotic. I stayed out until about 12:30am and enjoyed myself quite a bit.