American film Dekalb Elementary wins Grand Prix at Clermont-Ferrand

This year’s edition of the Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival has ended with a win for US film Dekalb Elementary in the festival’s International Competition

Reed Van Dyk’s film is based upon a real life 911 call made during an actual school shooting in Atlanta, Georgia. After a young man enters the school with a semi-automatic rifle, a strange bond is formed between the man and the School secretary. Occurring in real time, Dekalb Elementary has the air of tension often associated with films dealing with similar subjects: the threat of violence ever ready to burst out, the quiet desperation of someone out of step with society. But there’s also a rich vein of humanity throughout making it an emotionally powerful film.

The Special Jury Prize went to Daniel Mulloy’s Homeone of many awards for the film over this current week – while the Audience Award went to Spanish film Como Yo Te Amo, a comedy about a criminal who falls in love with the officer who arrests him.

In the festival’s Labo section, the main prize went to Douwe Dijkstra’s Green Screen Gringo. Dijkstra’s film has already been garnering a positive reputation on the festival circuit in its account of Brazillian politics through the eyes of a foreigner with a green screen. Playful, insightful and satirical, the win at Clermont will see the film continue to be a popular one on the circuit throughout 2017.

Speaking to Cineuropa Shorts, Douwe Dijkstra said:

"It's a huge honour that the jury thought my film stood out in the Labo selection of films that is so rich and eclectic, both in topics and types of narrative. As with all experimental works it takes some time to reflect on the end result, but my experience at Clermont, both with the audiences and jury, definitely showed me that something worked out well here."

The Audience Award and Special Jury Prize in Labo went to Hoptornet, Axel Danielson and Maximilien van Aertryck’s extremely affecting documentary about the fears and emotions of people attempting to dive from a large diving board.

In the National Competition, Emmanuel Marre’ Le Film de l'été won the Grand Prix. The film which follows the adventures of a father and a son on holiday, proved a popular one amongst audiences. Also popular was the Audience Award winner Panthéon Discount, Stéphan Castang’s futuristic drama.

The European Film Award nominee for 2017 was Austrian/German film Wannabe by Janis Lenz, telling the story of a young YouTuber who builds herself a fictitious world on the Internet.

Clermont-Ferrand will return for its 40th edition between 2nd-10th February 2018


15 February 2017, by Laurence Boyce