Télérama: “Short film competitions all over France: containment inspires budding filmmakers”

Newspaper article.
12 April 2020. Published by Benoît Labourdette.
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At the beginning of April 2020, Télérama offers a summary of initiatives for calls for audiovisual creation during the period of general containment due to the Covid-19 virus. The project “Par ma fenêtre” initiated by Benoît Labourdette is one of them.

Direct link to the Télérama article “Short film competitions all over France: confinement inspires budding filmmakers”.

Short film competitions all over France: Containment inspires aspiring filmmakers

By Cécile Marchand Ménard, April 12, 2020.

Faced with the constraint of confinement, you have to be creative! A challenge taken up by participants in short film competitions, which are multiplying all over France.

“Stay at home, make a film.” To fight boredom, have a good time or simply think about something other than health news. Like the Court Roulette and the Manual Focus association, short film competitions have been multiplying since the beginning of confinement.

“The next edition of the contest should have taken place in September. Given the situation, we thought we would do a special closed-door edition to stimulate people from their apartment or house. It’s a small aside”, explains Marianna Didiergeorges, coordinator of the Roulette Court, which closed on Monday, April 6. This year, the Rennes-based association received 56 contributions, compared with 43 last year, all of which can be viewed online. “People are at home, it helps! We have students, high school students, professionals and others”, enthuses the coordinator.

But there’s no way that 40 is the only subject of the short films. “We didn’t want to get films just about containment. People have taken the term”closed doors“in a very broad sense and gone into Agatha Christie thrillers”, explains Marianna Didiergeorges.

Other initiatives have been launched elsewhere in France, such as the Nova de Savenay (44) and Cinéastes au Mans (72) cinemas. They invite their viewers to floor their films on the theme of confinement until 30 April in Savenay, and until the reopening of the cinema in Le Mans.

Clips, songs, animated films

But you don’t have to be a movie theater to be adventurous. On March 17, Anastasia Salomé and seven former classmates launched La quarantaine du court métrage. Each week, their collective, Holiday or not, unveils an imposed theme: “(Se) construire”, “Pulsion(s)”, “L’intrus”. “It’s hyper-interesting to see a hundred different films on the same theme, made by people confined to their homes. We’ve got everything: music videos, songs, animated films, horror films, films on the phone, or films with a more sophisticated lighting”, explains Anastasia Salomé.

Benoît Labourdette, a filmmaker committed to image education, proposes to film through his window while recounting a memorable experience. “I set up this exercise in workshops I’ve been organising for 11 years in different countries, but the videos have never been made public. We opened a platform on April 1 on this principle and we’ve collected about 30 entries.” Closer to the call for entries than the competition, Par ma fenêtre is also aimed at amateur filmmakers: “People do as they like. I think they go even more to the essentials during this period”, explains Benoît Labourdette.

An imperative: “Stay at home”

Mandatory topics, limited duration, the specifications are varied. For their festival at home, MK2 and Troiscouleurs only impose the cult line of Anna Karina in Pierrot le fou (Jean-Luc Godard, 1965): “What can I do? I don’t know what to do!” The Trianon cinema in Romainville (93), meanwhile, reserves its competition for young people from Ile-de-France aged 12 to 20. The theme? “Isn’t it the end of the world?”.

Obviously, the constraint, common to all these short film competitions, is the imperative “Stay at home”. We are pleasantly surprised because people manage to do incredible things with what they have at home, even if they are alone,“says Marianna Didiergeorges of Court Roulette. Anastasia Salomé reassures fans hesitating to take part in La quarantaine du court: ”It’s all well and good to do it over the phone, with a sound quality that is far from perfect, but what counts is the idea behind it. To make a good quarantine film, the important thing is to have fun."