Strong Greek presence at this year’s International Short Film Festival of Clermont-Ferrand

Thanks to Rinio Dragasaki’s “Dad, Lenin and Freddy” and Katia Goulioni’s appearance in “Fireworks” by Giacomo Abbruzzese, the 34th International Short Film Festival of Clermont-Ferrand has become another notch on Greek cinema’s belt.

The International Short Film Festival of Clermont-Ferrand is one of the most historically important festivals in the world and the second most well attended movie showcase in France, after Cannes. Since its inception in 1979, it has hosted some of the biggest talent on the international filmmaking scene and the crème de la crème of French cinema.

This isn’t of course the first time homegrown entries have screened at Clermont-Ferrand, both in and out of competition, but it’s always a festive occasion to have more than one Greek in the same festival, taking place January 27 to February 4.

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«Dad, Lenin and Freddy»

The International Competition Section hosts 77 films from all over the world, including Rinio Dragataki’s award winning short “Dad, Lenin and Freddy”, which tells of the relationship between a 9-year-old girl and her father during the 80s, laced with her fear of “A Nightmare on Elm Street” and Freddy Krueger.

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Fireworks

The second Greek entry comes in the shape of actress Katia Goulioni (“In the Woods”) who stars in Giacomo Abbruzzese’s “Fireworks”, a French-Italian coproduction screening as part of the festival’s French Competition Section.

“Fireworks” is about a group of environmentalists who blow up the Taranto steelworks on New Year’s Eve, the most polluted city in Western Europe, home to the biggest steelworks in the continent.

Katia Goulioni was handpicked by the director himself: “I was at the Torino Film Festival to present my short film Archipelago,” he recalls. “It was December 2010 and I was spending most of my time stuck in my hotel room, as I was preparing to shoot “Fireworks” in three weeks and I had a lot of things to do and lots of phone calls to make. And most importantly I still didn’t have a leading lady! The other four members of the environmentalist group were already cast, but I was still short of a female lead. I had done two casting calls in Taranto but I still wasn’t happy. So one day, I bumped into this film critic I know and asked him to suggest a movie I absolutely had to see. He told me about Angelos Frantzis’ “In the Woods”. I watched it that same day and I thought it was absolutely beautiful – probably one of the most impressive films I had seen in recent years – starring this incredible actress, Katia Goulioni. By the time the film was over, everyone in the audience was in love with her, including myself. I had to contact her immediately. I imagined that going through the production company would be too complicated, so I tracked her down on Facebook and wrote her a little message. She got back to me immediately and a few hours later we were already sharing notes on the script! Three days, an audition tape and a few Skype sessions later, I was certain she was the girl I was looking for and luckily she said yes. It’s an incredible feeling to see someone on screen and a few weeks later have them act in your film. Working with Katia was a unique experience. She’s an incredible actress, a consummate professional and a totally dedicated collaborator. She has this faith in cinema that’s just precious. And she is a wonderful person. The “Fireworks” set was very stressful but it prompted some memorable encounters and thist was the most beautiful.”

As for Katia Goulioni, she recalls her collaboration with Giacomo Abbruzzese as follows: “I read the script and immediately realized that Taranto, the place where the film was going to be shot and Giacomo’s birthplace, represents everything that is wrong about Europe right now. We talked about Jean-Luc Godard’s “La Chinoise” and prepped for the film over Skype. Giacomo really made me believe in his vision. The film set was a meeting point between Palestinians, French and Italians. And on December 31st 2010, we blew up ILVA, the biggest steelworks in Europe, also known as “the monster”.

For more stills, as well as the poster of the film, please visit the gallery. For more information on Clermont-Ferrand’s line-up, please visit their official website.