Editorial – International Competition 2020
“Who runs the world?”
From the 7,000 short films we received this year, the committee has chosen to present eighty. Hailing from fifty-eight countries and ranging in duration from six to thirty-eight minutes, they tell dozens of stories involving hundreds of lives both real and fictive.
The 2020 International Competition is made up of intimate portraits and personal stories that still resonate well beyond the individual. Through the eyes of its main character, the American film To Sonny shows a glimpse of America’s heartland, the people who get up early, spend hours on the road and work so hard they risk losing their humanity and who’ve found an echo of their down-trodden lives in Donald Trump’s discourse. The Mexican filmmaker Ricardo Castro shows us his colorful family clan in Adiós, Adiós, Adiós, avoiding lyricism as he shares the deep sadness that he has carried since his mother’s passing. Mourning is also at the heart of The Physics of Sorrow by the Canadian (by way of Bulgaria) Theodore Ushev (winner of the Festival’s award for Best Animated Film in 2011 for The Lipsett Diaries) who returns with a heartrending visual masterpiece very much imbued with some of himself.
Short films are universal, crossing borders that become confused in the stories you will discover in our International Competition. In Tak Ada Yang Gila di Kota (No One is Crazy in This Town, Indonesia), hotel employees bring mentally unstable people in off the streets to delight the tourists until it becomes difficult to know who is mad and who isn’t. In What Did You Dream (the first film by a female Afro-South African to be selected at Clermont-Ferrand), the dreams of young children merge with reality when they try to win the local lottery. But some borders are much more difficult to cross, like the one separating a Palestinian father from his desire for a normal life in The Present (Palestine, United Arab Emirates, Qatar).
Last year, women were central to many of the films in competition, and this year #MeToo is still very much alive with female figures aiming to even the score. In Manila Lover, the Filipino lover of a Norwegian tourist makes light of our prejudices. In Quebramar, a community of young women have us dance to their songs filled with the hopes and struggles of young Brazilians on New Year’s Eve. And lastly, in Sorry Not Sorry(Sweden) a young woman with more than a little of the modern witch about her takes five men with her on a jaunt they’ll not soon forget…
This year’s International Competition is set to be an intimate, political and feminist journey. Get your tickets, choose your seat carefully… the first stop is this coming 31st January!
7,009 submitted films
80 selected films
58 countries represented
54 live actions
2 animated documentaries