Mr. President of the Centre Pompidou, dear Alain Seban, Mr. President of the Centre national du cinéma et de l'image animée, dear Eric Garandeau, dear Mélanie Laurent and Michel Gondry, who are sponsoring the first edition with Jeanne Moreau, Julie Gayet and Jacques Perrin “Shortest Day”,

The night of the winter solstice, devoted to the short film: the idea would have pleased the surrealists. On this longest night, the short film takes over the city, transforms it, turns it into a big projection room; on the walls, so many dreams in images that remind us that between the screen and reality, like Cairo’s Purple Rose, Woody Allen, the boundary is always porous. Making way for short films is a reminder of how much the short film constitutes a show in its own right, how much it renews creation and how, finally, the contribution of new technologies can promote the effervescence of film creation.

The short film is already in the spotlight in many festivals: Clermont-Ferrand, Aix, Brest, Pantin, among others, which contribute to its visibility and vitality. Today, it is throughout France that the short film will make us spend a sleepless night, in this temporality peculiar to modern times, by redrawing our imaginations and our vision of the world, where the networks of canvases weave communities of existence.

You can imagine how pleased the former theatre operator and film buff I am to be participating today in the launch, at the Centre Georges Pompidou, of the Festival du court métrage “le jour le court”, on the initiative of Eric Grandeau, President of the CNC, which celebrates the tremendous vitality and special place of short films in the French film and audiovisual landscape. Unfortunately, this format is still too little known by the uninformed public, and finds it too difficult to find its place in the traditional broadcasting networks that are the room and television. So let’s go to court during the longest night of the year.

How far has the short film come since the Frères Lumières or the singer of the marvelous, Georges Méliès, whose 150th birthday is being celebrated this year. The «king» format of the cinematographic adventure at its beginnings, which later became the antechamber of feature films, the short is now the headliner.

This night, everyone can put their own fingerprints on the film heritage of the short film, become, for one night, programmer, create their «home cinema» on the short side, browse the rooms, the cinemas, the mediatheques, the museums, the theatres, alternative locations; even in train stations and in some restaurants, everyone is invited to capture the short film.

From cinemas to the web to the small skylight, through the everyday objects that are our tablets, phones and digital cameras, this language, often experimental, is more relevant today than ever. The short form is increasingly the space of expression of amateur practices. In my opinion, this is an unprecedented breath of creativity: short films because they are an art of fragment, fulguration, brevity, offers to the eyes of condensed creativity that give a new depth to our times where the cult of immediacy and rapidity too often make the law.

For this great occasion, the Short Film Agency is making available to the participants of the Shortest Day a catalogue comprising some 300 films covering all the genres of the cinematographic panorama: documentaries, animated films, 3D films, fictions, art films, the rights of which are acquired by the CNC for the night of 20 to 21 December.

In France, short films are a particularly dynamic creative sector. With more than 500 films produced each year, it carries within it the future of film and audiovisual creation. The groups France Télévisions, ARTE France, the Short Film Agency and the CNC are, for the short world, privileged partners, who participate in its greatest visibility, creating television meetings, but also contributing to its economy. Support for broadcasting, production and creation, and video editing, allow the short film to define itself as a full member of the image community. Windows exist, I think, for example, in the Short Stories boxes broadcast on France 2, and in Libre Court, on France 3, or the new meetings that Arte will offer us, twice a week, starting January 1. However, there is still a lot of work to be done in order for the short film to have spaces that will allow it to appeal to a wider audience, in the distribution grids as well as in the online programmes offered by our television channels.

However, at the initiative of my department, the commitment to the court has increased significantly. I am thinking in particular of the CNC’s support policy, which is up by more than 9% compared to 2006, which makes it possible to finance around 100 short films a year; television channels, in addition to those mentioned above, Canal +, TV5 Monde, CinéCinéma. I also salute all the festivals that promote short films, artists, videographers and all the actors in the film industry who are dedicated to the quality and renewal of short films.

It should be remembered that short films are an irreplaceable creative space for authors, directors, producers, actors and technicians, which promotes the emergence of the most daring writings. The Shortest Day allows to take the pulse of the abundance of this creation, so that it is not confined to the role of exceptional vintage, and for which we must redouble attention.

For its first edition, The Shortest Day has some of the most prestigious sponsors of the cinema; Michel Gondry, Mélanie Laurent, Jeanne Moreau, Jacques Perrin, Julie Gayet. I also greet all the actors in the film, audiovisual, press and associative sectors who have also mobilized for this occasion; and I am delighted that this fine celebration has brought its ambition to the international level, thanks to the mobilization of the French Institute. In London, Sofia, Annaba, Athens, Tbilisi, Moroni, Ankara, Mexico City, Taipei and Ndjamena, The Shortest Day is a show.

I am convinced that the Short Film Festival will become, as the seasons go by, like the Music Festival, a cultural event of reference. I would like to warmly greet Alain Seban, President of the Centre Pompidou, Eric Garandeau, President of the CNC, Isabelle Massot, Artistic Director of the Shortest Day, Benoît Labourdette, as well as all their teams, the sponsors of this festival, as well as all the artists, the professionals of the 7th art, and the participants who will offer the short film a «Window on Short» worthy of the genre it constitutes in its own right.

However, I cannot allow this celebration to begin without addressing before you a subject whose topicality has not escaped you, concerning the technical industries that are at the heart of the film community. This is of course the worrying situation of our technical industries, and in particular the liquidation of the Quinta Industries Group.

I am fully mobilized by the worrying situation of laboratories and industries grouped within Quinta industries. Yesterday the emergency situation, with regard to the films blocked in these laboratories, has been a positive development, since the discussions between the management of Quinta and its employees should allow the continuation of the activity for another month, and therefore the finalization of the elements (copies, trailers...) necessary to guarantee the good release in theatres of twenty films scheduled by the end of January.

For other films, whose release is later, alternative solutions, including the use of other laboratories, must be found.

My ministry, through the TNC whose mobilization I would like to commend, plays an important mediation role on this subject. We will bring together all the professionals this Thursday, December 22, to put all the issues on the table: the release of the films, the continuation of work in progress, and the management in the future of the large stocks of films held by Quinta.

The technical industries are experiencing a rapid transition to digital, which we have long known is the horizon of these trades. Some laboratories have more difficulties than others in adapting to it. But the public authorities are supporting them in this transition, notably through the investments of the future and the programme of digitization of heritage films, whose first agreements I hope to sign in a few weeks, to make digital not only a means of valuing and disseminating cultural works, but also an opportunity for our industries.

Thank you.