History of the festival

Nowadays, short films slowly disappear from movie theaters and is only restrictedly broadcast on television.

.Therefore, it is more than ever necessary to offer a cultural action that consider this form of cinematic expression as essential. As a source of cinema, short films are often the place where the greatest contemporary filmmakers take their first steps.

The story begins on a Saturday, December 13th in 1986. A bunch of movie-fans creates their own amateur broadcast with Super 8 videos and gather 11 films in competition.

In three hours of screening, there can be found  all the necessary to pursue the adventure. The team thinks about organizing a festival and that idea matures until 1988.

The story continues to unfold with ‘Clap 88’ (March 25th to 27, 1988), a semi-pro and amateur festival.

‘Clap 89’: that’s the year 89’s ‘Clap’*. At the moment when the millenial figure date matches number of the department ’89’, the organizing committee decides to keep the name as a geographical signification, and defines the event as ‘semi-profesional and amateur short movie festival’.
In 1991, Clap 89 moves out of the ‘MJC’ offices and now takes place at the heart of the town of Sens, at the Municipal Theatre, an 1882 italian-style theatre.
In 1996, Clap 89 celebrates its 10th-year anniversary: the 9 presidents, the 9 “Clap d’Or” (translator’s note: Golden award) award winners, and the guests of honour are all gathered for the great cinema festival in Sens.
In 1998, this is the first time a high-school student, majoring in film at the ‘Lycée Polyvalent de Sens , can take part into the professional jury.

*Translator’s note: the name ‘Clap’ refers to the ‘clapperboard in French. It is also used as a figurative way to describe the opening or the end of an event, a time period.

‘In 2007, Clap 89 celebrates its 20th year anniversary, 4 days are dedicated to short movies, and movies created as part of the project ‘Passeurs d’images’ are displayed on screen. Clap 89 sets a cross-arts programme and presents the ballet Si Tati m’était conté (translator’s note: “If Tati were told to us“) by the Gnomus company.

In 2009, Clap 89 adopts the common registration form proposed by the Agence du Court Métrage (translator’s note: “Short Movie Agency”) and increase the number of movies, French and foreign one, aspiring to the competition selection.

In 2008, the Clap 89 expands by including a second Jury made of 7 high-school students in their last year majoring in film. Similarly to the official jury, they get to the opportunity to give their award.


And here is the quarter-century’s anniversary ! The 25th year anniversary is celebrated from the 6th to 9th of April, 2012.

In 2014 and 2015, 7 secondary school pupils from the area of Sens are selected to compose a new jury. Likewise to the official jury, these two get to give their award too.

The festival gets to the ‘age of reason’ and celebrates their 30th-year anniversary, from the 14th to 17th 2017. This is an opportunity for the festival to settle in its ‘natural’ location since it takes place at the Confluences movie theater for the very first time. Clap 89 reaches a new goal as concern both technical means, now that films can be projected on a 17-meter wide screen, AND provide additional comfort to welcome the audience..

After a one year-break, followed by the sanitary crisis, the exceptional human adventure of the Clap 89 will take place from the 9 to 11th of April, 2021, thanks to a team of volunteers, who were there since the festival birth, and will always be to defend creation, propose a high-quality programme, and to promote and spread awareness about the short film genre.