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The Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival is at risk
Following a shocking decision by the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes regional council, the Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival (Clermont ISFF) in France has just lost more than half of its 2023 funding, per a press release from the collective Sauve qui peut le court-métrage.
The reputation and value of Clermont ISFF is a given. The largest, most prestigious and important short film festival in the world, it is the place where countless, now well-established filmmakers first made their mark. It is where film professionals from all around the world connect every year at the Short Film Market. Where many new talents in the medium are first spotted. It is an unmissable rendez-vous for anyone seeking to find the most innovative film work made today.
Talents whose careers have been supported by the festival from their early beginnings include Denis Villeneuve, Thomas Vinterberg, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Denis Podalydès, Lynne Ramsay, Lucile Hadžihalilović, Marina de Van, Valentyn Vasyanovych, Leos Carax, Olivier Babinet, Damien Manivel, Xavier Legrand, Lois Patiño, Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese, and Emmanuel Marre among many others. To give a sense of the festival programmers’ unmatched foresight: filmmakers Jean-Bernard Marlin and Elias Belkeddar, who are in Cannes this year with feature films Salem and Omar la Fraise respectively, both won awards at the festival in the same year.
Clermont ISFF is also a huge success with audiences: with more than 160,000 entries in 2023, it is the second biggest French film festival in terms of number of spectators, right behind Cannes (whose latest edition is about to begin). The event reportedly brings in more than €11 million in direct economic benefits to the region every year, with the town’s many restaurants and businesses benefitting from the seasonal clientele.
Ask anyone who has been, and they will tell you that one of the most striking aspects of the festival is its huge audiences, made up of people from all walks of life. For most attendees, going to Clermont ISFF is an annual tradition, whether they be students or the elderly, families or groups of friends, from Clermont-Ferrand itself or from another town. Few festivals can boast to have successfully created and nurtured a real, lasting enthusiasm for short films that genuinely reaches everybody.
On neither an artist nor economic level does this decision from the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes regional council make sense. The impact it could have on the film industry and film landscape worldwide is immense.
The collective calls for everyone sensible to its mission to continue expressing their support as far and wide as possible, and “to defend everything that this decision threatens, for us and for others.”
— Elena Lazic