Tag Archives: Clermont-Ferrand 2018

Clermont-Ferrand 2018: Day 1

Opening Night at Clermont-Ferrand 2018

Director of Programming James McNally is attending this year’s Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival from February 1st to February 8th

Jet lag was still a factor today, as I woke up initially at 5:00am and then ultimately slept until 11:30am! There wasn’t much on the agenda today except to pick up my accreditation and the office didn’t open up until 2:00pm. So I wandered up the familiar Rue de la Treille and found my old spot Le menhir, where I stopped in for a lunch of a gallette called “Le poulet grand-pere” which was filled with chicken, potatoes, and mushrooms. Delicious!

I got to the Maison de la Culture around 2:30pm and had a good hour’s wait in line to pick up my pass, catalogue, and shoulder bag. A sense of familiarity was welcome as I found my way to the right place. I also picked up a ticket for tonight’s opening presentation at 8:00pm.

After a quick browse at FNAC on the way home (no, I didn’t buy any more DVDs!), I returned to my room and quickly fell asleep. A planned 40 minute nap turned into two hours (again) and when I woke up, I only had a few minutes to get ready to head back down to the Maison de la Culture.

I had a very good seat near the front, and after I picked up my headphones for English translation, I settled into my seat. There were a few speeches, but not many, and it was mostly about introducing the various juries and programmes for the week. It was all interspersed with a selection of older short films, which I assume have played here in the past. The festival is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, which is a remarkable accomplishment, and it was inspiring to hear Antoine Lopez, one of the co-founders, still speaking passionately about how the festival was founded to defend short film as a valuable art form. He has grown the festival from 1,200 visitors in its first edition in 1979 to more than 160,000 visitors last year. It’s always inspiring to hear numbers like that, and to look around the Salle Jean Cocteau to see 1,400 people who love to watch shorts.

Having neglected to eat dinner, I was feeling a bit hungry on my way home. What a surprise then that my hostess, Delphine, had left me a lovely note telling me that she had made crepes and that there were two waiting for me in the fridge. She has been so kind and generous to me; last night she left a note on the door for her children telling them I’d had a long flight and not to make too much noise.

Well, tomorrow is the first full day of screenings, so I’d better crack open the massive catalogue and start making a schedule. One of the themes this year is gastronomy, so it’s not too inappropriate for me to talk about a feast of short films. Now to go and look at the menu! 🙂

Clermont-Ferrand 2018: Before I Go

Festival de court metrage Clermont-Ferrand 2018

Director of Programming James McNally is attending this year’s Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival from February 1st to February 8th

Well, technically, I’m here already, but the festival doesn’t begin until tomorrow. I arrived around 2:00pm this afternoon after a nearly 24-hour travel odyssey (or more accurately, ordeal) that involved three flights and lots of dragging my luggage to distant terminals. I’d spent the last couple of days after Sundance relaxing in Los Angeles with my friend, film composer and rock star Carla Patullo (White Widow) and her partner Elizabeth. They graciously allowed me to sleep on their couch and do laundry (and I had a LOT of laundry). I also ventured out to the Silver Lake area of LA to get my hair cut at a funky little record shop called Sick City Records. Yes, in addition to cool vinyl and vintage rock t-shirts, they had a barber chair and I got to talk to Franky about PJ Harvey, Savages, and our favourite new bands while he snipped away.

I’m glad to be back in Clermont-Ferrand, and I think this time I’ll be able to approach the festival with a bit more confidence. By a stroke of luck, my friend Caitlin Mayberry introduced me to a young man named Ilias who was working with her at Sundance this year. He just so happens to live and study here, and today not only did he arrange to pick me up at the airport, but he loaned me a SIM card so I can use my phone while I’m here. He’ll be volunteering with the festival, too, and it means a lot to have someone bilingual who can help me navigate the festival and the city, too.

I’m also staying at a really wonderful apartment. I’d originally booked it through AirBnB but about a week ago they abruptly refunded me saying the host hadn’t submitted some verification. Luckily, both Delphine and I had printed out the reservation since it completely disappeared from the AirBnB site. She got in touch and offered to honour the reservation and I happily agreed. It’s a gorgeous room in the apartment she shares with her daughters, and it overlooks the Place de la Victoire, right next to the Cathédrale Notre-Dame-de-l’Assomption. In fact, it’s quite close to where I stayed in 2014, and that means it’s near two of my favourite restaurants from last time, Avenue and the creperie Le menhir. It’s also a pleasant 15 minute walk to the Maison de la Culture, where nearly all of my screenings will be held.

So far, I haven’t had a lot of time to check out the festival programme. Immediately after checking into my room, I slept for three hours! Then I took a short walk around the neighbourhood and bought a few groceries. Tomorrow, I’ll pick up my catalogue and credential and do a bit of research. Hoping to meet up with some of the people I’ve met over the past few years in the short film world. At least Danny Lennon from Prends ça court! has promised me he’ll take me out more this time. Back in 2014, we didn’t meet until quite late in the festival, and I felt like I missed out on a lot of socializing. Hoping for a different outcome this time!