The Short Film Festival

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The Short Film Festival today

In existence since 1981, Clermont-Ferrand’s Short Film Festival is the world’s biggest short film festival and the second largest film festival in France after Cannes in terms of audience and business presence. It will be back at the beginning of February for its 41st event. Since its inception, it is run by “Sauve qui peut le court métrage” (roughly translatable as “Short Film: SOS!”), a collective based at La Jetée. The association employs 18 permanent members of staff, all in Auvergne, where momentum has built up around the cinema.

The story of the Festival

In 1981, a small group of students from the Clermont-Ferrand University Film Society (C.C.U.C.), which used to organize short film weeks, set up the association “Sauve qui peut le court métrage” with the aim of organizing a real festival. Over the years, the number of spectators steadily grew; financial support increased and as the size of the event called for more people, the team of organizers continued to expand.

Faced with the ever-increasing interest of professionals for the event, the first Short Film Market was organized in 1986, with the support of longstanding institutional partners, added to which came the European Union. Two years later, in 1988, the Festival moved to a new level. At the same time as the national competition which celebrated its 10th anniversary, the first International Festival took place and was instrumental in making Clermont-Ferrand the world’s biggest short film event.

In 1997, the Auvergne Film Commission came into being. An integral part of “Sauve qui peut le court métrage”, it offers free services for any production keen to shoot in the region and helps to make the film crew’s job easier and to provide information about local heritage, services and professionals.


La Jetée

In the center of Clermont-Ferrand, since 2000, La Jetée, in tribute to the film by Chris Marker, has been home to the offices of “Sauve qui peut le court métrage”, the Auvergne Film Commission and a documentation center, a world one-of-a-kind for its short film collection, and is part of Clermont Auvergne Métropole’s reading network. It has over 40 years’ worth of archives from the world’s biggest short film festival. Any paper or audiovisual document about making short films is systematically kept and made available to the public.

Short Film Market

In parallel to the Festival, the Short Film Market is THE international meeting place for professionals. It brings together more than 3,500 of these: producers, buyers, distributors, broadcasters, festival representatives and others. And over 130 exhibiting companies from 35 different countries. This internationally renowned marketplace revolves around two main areas: the videolibrary where thousands of references are viewed to be subsequently bought and broadcast on various channels, notably television. And the exhibitor area, a venue for a whole network of professionals who showcase their activities, present their catalog, forge contacts or prepare their upcoming productions.
On top of this program come talks during which producers set out their purchasing policy in particular. Everything is organized to guide and support young professionals, to offer improved circulation of films, to develop contacts and to foster creativity in order to generate new projects.

A few figures

  • The 2018 event posted more than 165,000 entries and was host to over 3,600 professionals
  • In 2019, from Friday 1st to Saturday 9th February, the Festival is back for the 41st time
  • 161 short films have been selected for this latest event: 76 in the international competition, 54 in the national competition and 31 in the Lab competition.
  • In all, 9,200 films have been received this year. This is a new record since the 2018 event totaled 8,657 films.
  • 400 volunteers work alongside the “Sauve qui peut le court métrage” collective every year.