Patrick Clement, a filmmaker and non-traditional student at the University, is about to take his short film that was inspired by a small town to a much different scene overseas. The film, “Somewhere Between Freedom and Protection, Kansas,” will have its international premiere at the Uppsala International Short Film Festival in Sweden, which began yesterday and runs through Sunday.
The film is about a young girl who faces a difficult decision in her small town, having to choose between her ill grandmother and a scholarship. Clement said he expected the film to be warmly received, at least in Kansas.
“You always hope the people will [like it] in the state that you made it in,” Clement said.
He hopes it’s well received at the festival as well, but is looking forward to being a part of the international scene.
Uppsala is one of the longest short running film festivals in Sweden and is a short film only festival that makes international selections. Clements’ film was one of three chosen from the United States.
“It’s a great festival, put on by passionate people, and to be included this year really is an honor,” Clement said.
He also said since the announcement for admitted films was made within 30 days of the festival, he is unable to attend it in person. But he said he’s excited for his film to be a part of the festival alongside the other short films.
“That’s the best part, to see my film as part of this amazing program,” Clement said. “I think there’s really a camaraderie that comes to being at festivals like that.”
In addition to the film festival, Clement will screen his film at the Public Library in Pratt today at 7 p.m., followed by a Q&A about the film and his experiences making it in Kansas.
“Western Kansas is such a wellspring of ideas and places, and I am shocked that people don’t make more films there, it’s amazing to film there — untouched,” Clement said.
Clement, originally from Boston, said the film is neither a Hollywood blockbuster nor a comedy, but a drama, which he said limits the audience. He said so far, he’s happy he has been able to reach those people both in the United States, and abroad, such as at Uppsala.
“I want to have [put thought into] everything that goes into the film,” he said. “For people to look at that and think there’s a type of cohesion, that’s a success.”
Clement first spent a month devoted entirely to pre-production. Then he spent two weeks shooting the film in rural Western Kansas and two weeks packing up before coming back to Lawrence, where he spent the next seven months editing the film.
“No Hollywood director would ever admit this, but the day after shooting, I thought that I had wasted everyone’s time, and spent a bunch of money on nothing,” Clement said.
Clement said most of his film work has been done outside of the University, though he shot content for the Office of First-Year Experience this year. He also shot some of the footage shown at Hawk Week, such as the video where students interacted with each other in a ball pit by Wescoe.
Howard Graham, the associate director of academic programs with the Office of First-Year Experience, worked with Clement on Hawk Week. Graham said Clement displayed various strengths while working with the office on the video. He said Clement had several planning sessions with them, where they talked through ideas and chose the best ones.
“He is really talented,” Graham said. “He knows how to take raw ideas and turn them into a finished project that lands with the intended audience.”
Graham said the dozens of hours of shooting film resulted in the 20 minute long video that was presented at Hawk Week.
Clement has also applied for a few other film festivals abroad, such as in Germany.
“Filmmaking is a big worldwide community,” Clement said. “There’s a lot of people doing what I’m doing, and I sure wish that I could go meet some of them, and share my experiences.”
He said he was selective in choosing what festivals to apply to.
“You try to sort of target what festivals will be good fits since you can’t submit to every festival,” Clement said.
For now, in addition to partaking in the upcoming festival, Clement is looking forward to working on his next film as well as several book projects.
“I think we all look where we can match passion and skill into something that makes us happy, and luckily, I think I’ve been able to do that,” he said.
— Edited by Alex Lamb