We predicted it, and we were right: there was indeed hope, joy and love at the Cinémas Studio in Tours! And while the festivities are now over, we can't resist looking back on two days of joyful celebrations at the screenings and awards ceremonies for our three selections in competition.
First of all, hope: on the evening of Friday June 9, the public was invited to discover the Women's Words Competition in the cinema's large auditorium, which provided a warm welcome for the 20 films selected for their accuracy, humor and seriousness on subjects that concern women first and foremost: menstruation, motherhood, our relationship with our bodies and sexuality, the discrimination and violence against which we must fight relentlessly, and generosity and sisterhood.
Once the awards had been handed out, the Jury, chaired by Chloé Ponce-Voiron, answered a series of questions from Manon Ribis, of the Bédélire bookshop, to outline the actions that will help make cinema inherently feminist and inclusive. Certainly, the lines are moving, and the juries are hopeful that one day there will be no need to present a selection like that of Women's Words, but in the meantime, we must continue to make female directors more visible, ensure that films at least pass the Bechdel test, and aim for parity - that famous 50/50 that the Très Court International Film Festival managed to achieve this year, all selections included.
Joy, again and again: on Saturday June 10, at 5.30pm, the giant screen of Room 7 of the Studio welcomed the International Competition, 40 films that make up the best of the year's world production. The two-hour program, interrupted by a welcome intermission, took the audience from laughter to tears, cheering as the credits rolled. The lively atmosphere was testimony to an excellent 2023 season, and choosing your three favorite films was no easy task. The most scrupulous spectators took notes on the program or on the ballot paper before slipping it into the ballot box set up near the buffet.
Last but not least, love: at around 9pm, the audience gathered to discover the films selected as part of the Défi 48h Très Court Environnement challenge. The previous weekend, over 80 teams had signed up to make a Très Court in just two days, while respecting four constraints. This year's theme, inspired by Challenge sponsor and activist Camille Etienne, was action time. Teams had to place chocolate, involve a tourist, and use the following line: "I'm a little afraid of how this is going to be used." In the end, 61 teams managed to finalize a film, and 22 of them were selected to be screened in cinemas, including 13 animated films.
In short, the atmosphere was electric! Some twenty participants had come to see their film on the big screen, and to find out if they had won one of the 6 prizes for this selection. At the end of the screening, the winners were announced. The International Competition Jury, chaired by Fabrice Maruca, opened the ball with the announcement of the Prizes for Originality, Animation and the Grand Prize. After singing a short song, the jurors detailed the qualities of each winning film, and their authors were able to express their gratitude and joy through a short video projected onto the screen. It was as if they were here with us!
Then it was time for the winners of the Défi 48h Très Court Environnement challenge to be announced. The emotion and nervousness before the results were revealed were obvious in the room. Delphine Benassy, vice-president of the Centre-Val-de-Loire region in charge of culture, was keen to welcome the Festival to the region, which was good news for everyone. Then Claude Gruffat, jury member for the Défi 48h and MEP for the Les Verts/Ale group, along with Camille Etienne and Solal Moisan, reminded the audience of the importance of cinema taking up ecology-related issues, so that views evolve, discourse changes, and we end up collectively finding ways of responding to the climate emergency.
One of these actions is love, and this is the theme of the film L'amour fécond, which won the CNC/Talent grant. When his name was announced, director Arthur Pereira, accompanied by Mathilde Offer, let out a cry of astonishment, and both arrived on stage speechless, thinking they'd made an off-topic with this "dramatic and romantic comedy in a dystopian world, to propose an imaginary future, in its everyday actions". An emotional moment that continued over drinks in the garden, where delicious pieces of chocolate were served, as the audience chatted with the jurors and the directors present.
We certainly didn't want the evening to end, but when it was well past midnight, we had to say goodbye, a little sad to be parted, but so happy about the moments we'd shared.