Earlier this month, in Clermont-Ferrand, Film Grain Foundation carried 6 Maltese shorts to the world’s largest film festival dedicated to short films. The Foundation produces a number of annual international film events, promoting networking between film professionals and cultural entrepreneurs and providing platforms for filmmakers to exhibit their work. The selection showing at the Short Film Market this year included a number of the latest short films from Malta that have been exhibited at the VFF in the past year and other films that were shown elsewhere or that have yet to be released.
Most of the selected filmmakers were present for their screenings and had the opportunity to attend meetings with potential buyers, distributors and sales agents. Amongst these films included the premier of IR-RAGEL TAL KLIEB (The Dog Man) by Samuel Sultana, adapted from a novel by acclaimed Maltese writer Oliver Friggieri by Stephanie Sant. “It’s my second year attending Clermont Ferrand, having attended Euro-Connection last year” says Stephanie. “The short films programme is exciting at best, overwhelming at worst as is what would be expected from the world’s largest short film festival. I attended daily screenings, visited the Short Film Market, networked and attended Expresso discussions in the morning where they have short Q&A sessions with the directors of the short films that are screened. In short, I once again had a splendid time at CFF and met some wonderful people.”
Ryan Gatt was also present with his film IL-KOMPLICI, which is adapted from the short story of the same name by Walid Nabhan and selected for VFF 2018 – “Clermont Ferrand is the place to be for every filmmaker. And one of the most astonishing parts of it, is its audience were thousands come together to watch and support short films. Such a rich film culture in a relatively small and beautiful French city. I recommend this festival to anyone in the field of filmmaking, whether in front or behind the camera or those interested in sales and distribution as this amazing festival hosts the biggest short film market.” ARCADIA by Jamie Vella, a short also selected for the VFF 2017, was also screened at this event. Jamie, who attended the festival for the first time, says “it was great experience both in terms of viewing some of the best work of the year, but also in understanding and getting a strong sense of the market and business side of things. The festival has a fantastic energy as everyone is there in one place and at one time to watch, sell, or promote work.”
And finally, the event also saw the short-documentary FROM MALTA TO MOTOR CITY by Charlie Cauchi which premiered at the VFF 2018 – “I had been to Clermont Ferrand the year before to pitch for another project at Euro-Connection and I fell in love with it. So watching my film there was such an amazing and surreal experience. It’s also a great place to meet other filmmakers and producers” says Charlie. The other films selected for this market screening included BAJTRA TAX-XEWK by Alex Camilleri, previously selected for Toronto Film Festival for Kids and VFF 2017 and ELEANOR’S FOREST a short animation by Matthew Stroud.
The Clermont Ferrand Short Film Festival is today the second largest film festival in France after Cannes, in terms of both audience and professional presence (over 160,000 tickets are sold each year). “In terms of industry, it is the place to be. Everyone is there; the festival programmers from all over the world, the distributors, the buyers, the TV stations, the press and the talent scouts” says Angelique Muller. Angelique was born in Clermont Ferrand and grew up with the festival – “as a child our schools used to bring us to school screenings every year and this built a legacy of film lovers for the festival.” She is one of the programmers at VFF and was responsible for organising this first-time experience for Maltese talent; “after screening the Maltese program at the market, we received invitations to screen more Maltese films at Festivals in Spain, the UK, Corsica, and Bali. I am confident that accepting these invitations will create further ripple effects to the benefit of Maltese talent.”