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Clermont Ferrand: Euro Connections

  • 20th February 2013Dora Nedeczky at Euro Connection

    This was my and my director’s very first visit to Clermont Short Film Festival. I had heard the rumours about its personal atmosphere but after regularly visiting major festivals such as Cannes or Berlin I was a little sceptical. This feeling gradually disappeared as our train got closer to Clermont’s small town among the Alps.

    Then, when we finally reached the accreditation hall inside the festival’s main location, the Maison de la Culture, we immediately got immersed in the vivid and positive atmosphere around us. This was the time when I started to believe that the rumours were true. I think being treated ‘small’ at a ‘big’ film festival can be frustrating sometimes for young film makers who are still only making short films. But since Clermont is dedicated exclusively to short films, and because we were Euro Connection participants, we were considered as much of an attraction as those filmmakers screening in competition.

    It was evening when we arrived, and the final round of our pitching rehearsals was still ahead of us but first we needed to double-check whether our visuals would work on the big screen inside of the presentation room. To our relief everything was fine and we were lucky enough to meet Laurent Crouzeix himself, the head of Euro Connection. His professional approach and enthusiasm was just thrilling and really motivating for us.

    Next morning after a long night spent fine-tuning our pitch we met on the breakfast terrace of our hotel, and sense of anticipation was more refreshing then any coffee I’ve ever had. At this point I was finally able to gaze through the ancient volcanic architecture of Clermont, and to see its beautiful Cathedral quite nearby.

    Our pitching slot was quite late in the afternoon. We were set to pitch right before the last project, so we had a chance to check out the space, invitees, and the other Euro Connection projects. It was nice to see that most of the producers were pitching alongside their directors as it gives you a great sense of the team dynamic and that always tells you a lot. Some of the groups followed the traditional way of pitching, some were extremely funny, some were touching, and some weren’t able to transfer their message properly at all. The room was packed full of representatives from European film funds, festival professionals and independent producers and Laurent and his team had made sure everyone got the info book of the selected projects beforehand.

    We weren’t pitching for a prize but it was still a real fight to find our perfect co-producer. Our pitch went really well and we had a huge number of people trying to get hold of us on the spot, which we thought was just stunning. Project leaflets were distributed, screeners with previous work were handed out, business cards were exchanged and the next day’s meeting slots were booked.

    The UK Film and the Euro Connection receptions were organized for shortly after the pitching event itself which was perfect timing! Everyone was extremely relieved to have finished the pitching part of the programme. We finally had the chance to congratulate our fellow participants and managed to line up even more meetings for the next day.

    The meetings took place inside of the festival market, an enormous gymnasium converted into an international village for the purpose of buying, selling and promoting short films. We finally met Anastassia Deltcheva-Mathie the other face of Euro Connection in person, who guided all of us through the prep work and made sure our meetings were going well and running to schedule. The structure and nature of the meetings reminded me of Berlinale Co-Production Market or Rotterdam’s CineMart. Ours were more than promising and we’re currently in the middle of further negotiations with some of the potential co-producers.

    While the meetings were going on we popped in and out of the market itself because we had organized meetings with quite a few festival representatives to promote ‘Carry Me Away’, Cristina’s latest short that I produced. We’ll find out the festival premier of the film in the coming weeks, so fingers crossed.

    After a delicious French dinner, and armed to the teeth with catalogues and other swanky festival goodies our group of young filmmakers decided to finally climb up to the marvellous Cathedral and walk around the narrow streets of Clermont’s old town. This was the moment when it was clear I have to come back each year. Hopefully next time I’ll get to see more films but we’re already working really hard to get our upcoming work screened here in competition.