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Clermont-Ferrand 2018: Day 3

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

I had modest ambitions for today that became even more modest after I woke up at 3:30am and couldn’t fall back asleep until after 7:30am. Eventually, I woke towards noon! All I wanted to do today was get some time at the video library so I could watch individual films and I was able to book two hours from 1:30-3:30pm where I watched a bunch of stuff. The best was Fry Day, a coming-of-age story set on the eve of Ted Bundy’s execution. This female-directed film had a lot to say about the victimization of women, even when it’s not at the hands of a serial killer. I was also delighted to discover that the score was by my friend Ariel Marx, who seems busier than ever these days.

After that it was a quick late lunch at fast food chain Quick (I recommend the “Long Bacon” sandwich) and then home for a quick refresh which of course included a nap, although I kept it to 40 minutes this time. Then it was out to socialize at the Swiss Cocktails at the Hotel Olympia, near the Maison de la Culture. There was a significant queue and I didn’t get in until after 6:30pm, and then didn’t recognize anyone in the crowded room. My least favourite scenario. Luckily, I knew that Gina from Show Me Shorts was coming, and I’d also arranged to meet up with Eibh Collins (of the Galway Film Fleadh, Indie Cork, and more). Even luckier, before that Sven Schwartz (from the Hamburg Short Film Festival and A Wall is a Screen) recognized me and we chatted for a while. He slipped me an invite to the German party which is happening tomorrow night, too. I lost track of Gina quite quickly, but Eibh was lovely and we talked about my upcoming Irish shorts screening, Cork, ADIFF, and more. She also introduced me to Una Feely and James Mulvey from Indie Cork. I also got to meet Sebastian Simon from the Busan International Short Film Festival in Korea. He’s a filmmaker as well as a programmer, and he recognized our logo and said he submitted (unsuccessfully) a few years ago!

I also ran into Jason Anderson from TIFF, and it was nice to chat with him a bit. It’s strange how it’s often easier to meet someone you know locally when you’re both far from home. After a couple of hours, I was tired and decided to leave. On my way out, Ben Bekke Vandendaele recognized me. He’s the co-producer on Deer Boy, by my friend Katarzyna Gondek, and we met just a few weeks ago at Sundance. He also heads up Radiator Sales, so I should talk to him about submitting some films for our festival this year. And then one of the Swiss Films women who were hosting the event introduced herself to me. Aida Suljicic is the Head of Programmes, and I plan to meet up with her again one day this week in the short film market.

So although I felt like my usual introverted self, reading this back I didn’t actually do too poorly. I’ve made a few connections that I can take into tomorrow and the rest of the week. Although I left the party alone and without plans for the rest of the night, I feel pretty good. I can always use more rest.

By the way, I spotted my elusive mentor Danny Lennon on his way into the party but then couldn’t find him later. I’m sure once I find him, he’ll help me kick up the socializing into another gear, but I’m happy to be home writing this blog entry before 10:00pm.