Clermont Ferrand 2009

This is the most amazing short film festival in the world! I was there last year with Katong Fugue and had a great time with the Singaporeans and other Southeast Asian filmmakers. This year was a lot quieter for me.. since I was the only Singaporean there. Bumped into Edwin once and visited the Thai Film Foundation booth a couple of times.

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Paris was snowing when I arrived! It was so pretty! I’m so glad I didn’t have to be in it though. I’ve had enough of city slush. I just sat in the comfort of my train cabin as the city whizzed by under a blanket of white.

Like last year, I missed both my screenings at the Salle Cocteau, the largest hall in Clermont. It was a pity cos I really wanted to see the film on that big screen. But it was nice knowing a hall this size was showing Keluar Baris twice even before I arrived.

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Part of the joy of attending Clermont is being able to put posters at the Maison de la Culture and watch people look at them. Objectifs Films also printed a thousand of these postcards. Basically Daryl’s face was everywhere. We found out later that someone had actually picked up the postcard and created a fanpage for the film on Facebook! I thought someone I knew was behind it. Turns out it is for real! haha.

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That’s Marc and Anna, my dearies from Barcelona. This is the fourth time I’m meeting them in Europe, third time at a festival. It’s really time they come to Asia for a change.

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Clermont doesn’t hold a Q & A session after each screening. They have what they call “Expresso” sessions, where filmmakers get to meet interested audience members during scheduled slots in the day. There was a better response for Keluar Baris this year than for Katong Fugue last year. From what I’ve gathered, people were keen to understand how young Singaporeans were dealing with the issue of conscription. A local tv station also interviewed me about it.

I love the French! I love the way they appreciate cinema. Clermont-Ferrand is a quiet university town that only comes alive once a year for this festival. While the audience of a feature-film festival usually seeks out a particular title, director or subject matter, the audience of a short-film festival has none of that for reference. They come to a screening with nothing more than the love of the short film medium and a faith in the festival’s programme. That alone gives me all the reasons I need to want to be there.

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