Festival News

2008 Palm Springs International ShortFest Announces Festival Winners
8/27/2008

Jessica Biel, Kirstin Dunst and Bill Pullman Attend Festival;
6.5 Minutes in Tel Aviv Receives Best of Festival Award & Best Student Live Action Award;
A Good Day for a Swim Receives Panavision Grand Jury Award & Best Live Action Award;
Friends Forever Receives Three Awards Including Future Filmmaker Award


PALM SPRINGS, CA (August 27, 2008) -- The 2008 Palm Springs International ShortFest & Short Film Market, the largest short film festival and market in North America, announced its Festival award winners on Tuesday, August 26, 2008.  Setting new records all around, 318 short films screened throughout the Festival along with more than 2,700 filmmaker submissions available in the film market.   Held from August 21-27, 2008, the Festival saw a large rise in attendance this year on all fronts, including ticket buyers, filmmakers and film industry delegates.

A total of 27 festival awards in 15 categories and three audience favorites were announced Tuesday evening at the Awards Presentation held at the Camelot Theatre in Palm Springs, CA, followed by the Closing Night Party at Wang's Restaurant.  A total of $14,000 in cash prizes, $7,500 in Kodak film stock, $6,000 in software prizes and a $60,000 Panavision camera package were awarded.  Award winners receiving a first place prize in four categories are automatically eligible to submit their films to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for Academy Award® consideration.  Over the past 13 years, the Festival has presented 58 films that have gone on to receive Academy Award nominations.

Highlights from this year's Festival included actor Bill Pullman serving on the Festival's jury and teaching a Master Class on Acting for aspiring filmmakers.  Actresses Jessica Biel and Kirsten Dunst attended the screening of their films, part of the Shooting Stars program.  Biel starred and produced Hole in the Paper Sky, directed by William Purple and Dunst directed, wrote and produced Welcome starring Winona Ryder.

Commenting on the success of this year's Festival and Market, Festival Director Darryl Macdonald said, "Packed theatres, enraptured audiences, delighted filmmakers and a hyper-active film market with multiple buyers chasing the same film in many instances -- what's not to like? I got an email this morning from a filmmaker who told me he'd been trailed out of the theatre by several film festival directors wanting to invite his film to their events.  It was a banner year for ShortFest, and an exceptionally good year for newly emerging filmmaking talent."



The 2008 Palm Springs International ShortFest award winners are:

JURY AWARDS

BEST OF FESTIVAL AWARD: $2,000 & Showbiz Software Package.  The winner of this award is eligible to submit their film to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for Oscar consideration.
6.5 Minutes in Tel Aviv (Israel), Mirey Brantz
Lovers parting, families traveling, businessmen commuting -- a Tel Aviv bus station is the setting for an unexpected confrontation brought on by fear and panic in this part of the world where it only takes a minute for the landscape to become completely unrecognizable.

FUTURE FILMMAKER AWARD: $2,000, Showbiz Software Package & Ultimate Stock Footage Collection
Marçal Forés, Friends Forever (UK)
Returning to school following the death of his closest friend, Chris, young George is bedeviled by his friend's ghost, who seems to follow him everywhere. But who is doing the following?
Honorable mention for this award went to Nicolas Brault for Hungu (Canada).

PANAVISION GRAND JURY AWARD: Panavision Camera Package valued at $60,000 & two days studio time courtesy of Casablanca Studios, Palm Springs, CA.
A Good Day for a Swim (Romania), Bogdan Mustata
This harrowing short film, winner of the Golden Bear at this year's Berlin Film Festival, follows the trail of a trio of young sociopaths as they pick up a young woman they find at the side of the road and take her to the beach for a day of amoral pursuits. Not for the squeamish.


AUDIENCE AWARDS
All first place winners in these categories will receive a Showbiz Software package.

AUDIENCE FAVORITE LIVE ACTION SHORT
Toyland (Germany), Jochen Alexander Freydank
When a young boy's mother, responding to her son's question about the whereabouts of his best friend (whose family has been put on a train for the camps), tells her son that his friend has been sent to "Toyland," the boy sneaks off to join him.
Runner up: On the Road to Tel-Aviv (Israel), Khen Shalem

AUDIENCE FAVORITE DOCUMENTARY SHORT
The Witness: The View from Room 306 (USA), Adam Pertofsky
This riveting short documentary recounts the incidents leading up to, during and immediately after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, utilizing archival footage and photos, first-hand accounts, and interviews with a number of the people who participated in the events of that time.
Runner up: One Bridge to the Next (USA), Kim Snyder

AUDIENCE FAVORITE ANIMATION SHORT
This Way Up (UK), Adam Foulkes, Alan Smith
Two undertakers run into a number of slight problems delivering a body for burial.
Runner up: Granny O'Grimm's Sleeping Beauty (Ireland), Nicky Phelan


JURY CATEGORY AWARDS
All first place winners in these categories received a cash award of $2,000, Showbiz Software
Package.  First place winners in the Animated and Live Action categories will be eligible to submit their films to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences for Oscar consideration.  Second Place recipients received a $500 cash prize.

MINI MOVIE CHANNEL AWARD for BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT UNDER 15 MINUTES
First Place($2,000): A Good Day for a Swim (Romania), Bogdan Mustata
This harrowing short film, winner of the Golden Bear at this year's Berlin Film Festival, follows the trail of a trio of young sociopaths as they pick up a young woman they find at the side of the road and take her to the beach for a day of amoral pursuits.
Second Place ($500): È Finita la Commedia (Belgium), Jean-Julien Collette, Olivier Tollet

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT OVER 15 MINUTES
First Place ($2,000): Cairn (Norway), Hanne Larsen
Young Johan wants to be accepted by the cool guys at school, so he joins them in a cruel prank, shutting another boy from their class in a cold, dark cairn underground. When a series of circumstances cause him to leave the boy in the cellar, his actions have consequences that he could never have anticipated.
Second Place ($500): The Radiant City (France), Romain Raynaldy

BEST ANIMATED SHORT
First Place ($2,000): Hungu (Canada), Nicolas Brault
A deeply moving meditation on migration, traditions and family are visually imprinted in striking black and white animation.
Second Place ($500): Skhizein (France), Jeremy Clapin

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT
First Place ($2,000): The Witness: The View from Room 306 (USA), Adam Pertofsky
This riveting short documentary recounts the incidents leading up to, during and immediately after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, utilizing archival footage and photos, first-hand accounts, and interviews with a number of the people who participated in the
events of that time.
Second Place ($500): Springtime in Sant Ponç (Switzerland), Eugenia Mumenthaler, David Epiney


STUDENT CATEGORIES
All first place winners in these categories will receive $1,000 in Kodak film stock.  Second Place recipients receive $500 in Kodak film stock.  All student filmmakers in Festival competition are eligible for these awards.

BEST STUDENT LIVE ACTION SHORT UNDER 15 MINUTES
First Place: 6.5 Minutes in Tel Aviv (Israel), Mirey Brantz
Lovers parting, families traveling, businessmen commuting -- a Tel Aviv bus station is the setting for an unexpected confrontation brought on by fear and panic in this part of the world where it only takes a minute for the landscape to become completely unrecognizable.
Second Place: Small Change (Australia), Anna McGrath

BEST STUDENT LIVE ACTION SHORT OVER 15 MINUTES
First Place: James (Northern Ireland), Connor Clements
Young James struggles as the outsider kid at his school; his teacher Mr. Sutherland the only person James feels he can connect with.  However, when James can finally put voice to the feelings he's been having, Mr. Sutherland's response isn't at all what James had hoped for.
Second Place: Friends Forever (UK), Marçal Forés

BEST STUDENT ANIMATED SHORT
First Place: Procrastination (UK), Johnny Kelly
This winner of the Best British Animated Short at the London Short Film Festival is an amusing and visually lively meditation on the subject of inertia.
Second Place: For the Love of God (UK), Joe Tucker

BEST STUDENT DOCUMENTARY SHORT
First Place: A Different Color Blue (USA), Melanie Levy
Charles Curtis Blackwell, a semi-blind artist, lost most of his eyesight in an accident during his youth, but this adversity has only heightened his artistic gifts.
Second Place: A Great Silence (Germany), Eva Kosmas

KODAK AWARD FOR BEST STUDENT CINEMATOGRAPHY
First Place ($1,000 in Kodak film stock): Eduard Grau (cinematographer), Friends Forever (UK)
Returning to school following the death of his closest friend, Chris, young George is bedeviled by his friend's ghost, who seems to follow him everywhere. But who is doing the following?
Second Place ($500 in Kodak film stock): DeClan Keeney (cinematographer), James (Ireland)


Three special awards were presented at this year's Festival.  The Alexis Award for Most Promising Student Filmmaker went to Open Your Eyes (USA), directed by Susan Cohen.  In the film, a young wife going through the trauma of breast cancer finds her relationship with her husband strained by her inability to open up to him, until a chance meeting with an irreverent young woman casts everything in a different perspective.  The recipient will receive a Final Cut Pro package, courtesy of Apple Computer valued at $2,500. 

Presented by Jason Reitman's production company Hard C Productions, The Hard C Hi Five to Lo-Fi Award for Best Low Budget Short went to My Rabit Hoppy (Australia), directed by Anthony Lucas, where young Henry's Show and Tell school project about his pet rabbit goes horribly awry.  The Cinema Without Borders Best International Film Award went to Angels Die in the Soil (Iran), directed by Babak Amini.  On the border between Iran, Kurdistan and Iraq, a headstrong young woman who survived Saddam's chemical warfare attacks during the Iran/Iraq war encounters an American soldier, who's been shot and left for dead by his terrorist captors.

Jury members include actor Bill Pullman; Eileen Arandiga, Festival Director of the Worldwide Short Film Festival in Toronto; Dana Harris, editor Variety.com; Sydney Levine of Film Finders; and Dragan Milinkovic, Serbian film academic and producer.

Designated by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as an award-qualifying Festival and accredited by the International Short Film Conference, the Palm Springs International ShortFest and its Short Film Market, are the largest and most prominent short film showcase in North America.  The Festival and its concurrent 2,700-film Film Market continues to serve as a scouting ground for new filmmaking talent and is well attended by those in the business of buying and selling short films.  Companies attending this year's Market include Mini Movie Channel, Kodak, Nickelodeon, Panavision, Famous Frames Mobile Interactive, Metacafe, Big Film Shorts, Hollywood Shorts, Echo Lake Entertainment, Moviela, Current TV, Atom Films, Shorts International, Senator Films and more.

The Palm Springs International ShortFest is supported by a growing number of sponsors with local, national and international prominence.  The Title Sponsor is the City of Palm Springs with Presenting Sponsors The Desert Sun, Spencer's, the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians and Wessman Development Company.  Major Sponsors include Mini Movie Channel, Kodak, Nickelodeon, Panavision, Famous Frames Mobile Interactive, The Bottom Line, Metacafe, CBS2 and the Kaiser Restaurant Group.  Supporting foundations include the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. The official host hotel and media center is located at the Hilton Palm Springs Resort.



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