News in 2007

2007 Palm Springs International Festival Of Short Films Announces Line-Up
8/15/2007
Festival to Showcase Shorts Directed by Jennifer Aniston and Bryce Dallas Howard; and Featuring Margaret Cho, James Gandolfini, Louis Gossett, Jr., Kris Kristofferson, Joanna Lumley, Ron Livingston, Wendie Malick, Joe Mantegna, Alfred Molina, Patrick Stewart, Hugo Weaving and Robin Wright Penn

Steven Wilson / Ron Hofmann
B|W|R Public Relations, 310.550.7776
swilson@bwr-la.com / rhofmann@bwr-la.com

Palm Springs, CA – If you dare wear short shorts, then wear them to the 2007 Palm Springs International Festival of Short Films & Short Film Market (ShortFest), held from August 23-29, 2007 at the Camelot Theatres in Palm Springs, CA. Now in its 13th year, the Festival has announced its roster of 332 films, selected from more than 2,500 worldwide entries. The Festival will showcase 54 World Premieres, 12 North American Premieres and 20 U.S. Premieres. The selection of films for screening and competition features star-studded casts as well as award-winning films from 40 countries around the world. All selections are structured into 50 themed programs covering a wide array of issues for specific and general audiences to enjoy. See attached or visit www.psfilmfest.org for a complete list of this year’s film programs.

Festival Director Darryl Macdonald commented, “this year’s line-up exemplifies the exciting surge of new vitality and talent emerging in the field of short filmmaking worldwide. Both the official Festival line-up and the Film Market are overflowing with smart, provocative and entertaining new work – a testament to the huge number of exceptional young talents flooding into the world of filmmaking. Whether that is due to the expanding number of strong film schools, cheaper access to technology or simply the influence of outlets like YouTube and iTunes, we can’t know, but the results will mean a richer and more diverse future for the cinema in general.”

The selected short films are organized into 50 themed programs covering a variety of topics including war stories, security issues, immigration, animation, crime, romance, sex, friendship, work, travel, horror, musicals, westerns, mothers, the Jewish experience, gay and lesbian lifestyles, and a special focus on films from the United Kingdom. ShortFest viewers will also be able to experience shorts from Kenya, Russia, Croatia, Greece, Iran, Hungary and Poland, which submitted films to the Festival for the first time. Eighty-three of the films in the Festival line-up have won awards at major film events and competitions worldwide including Berlin, Sundance, Annecy, Clermont-Ferrand, Aspen, Tribeca, Los Angeles, Montreal Melbourne, Brussels, Rotterdam, Flanders, Chicago, USA, CineVegas and South by Southwest Film Festivals as well as the Toronto Worldwide Short Film Festival.

This year’s opening night screening on Thursday, August 23 at 6:30 p.m. will be highlighted by award-winning live-action and animated films including Contact/Raak (Netherlands), Everything Will Be OK (USA), Fair Trade (Germany/Morocco), Tanghi Argentini (Belgium), Love and War (Sweden) and The Pearce Sisters (UK).

Festival attendees will be able to see a roster of films featuring familiar faces in front of and behind the camera including Jennifer Aniston directing Room 10 (USA) starring Robin Wright Penn and Kris Kristofferson and Palm Springs International Film Festival Rising Star recipient Bryce Dallas Howard marking her directorial debut with Orchids (USA) starring Alfred Molina and Katherine Waterson (Sam Waterson’s daughter). Other star-studded shorts include James Gandolfini, Louis Gossett, Jr., Joe Mantegna and Steven R. McQueen (Steve McQueen’s son) in Club Soda (USA); Patrick Stewart and Joanna Lumley in The Audition (UK); Hugo Weaving narrating The Girl Who Swallowed Bees (Australia) starring Pia Miranda; Ron Livingston in Life Happens (USA); Margaret Cho and Jane Lynch in Love is Love (USA); David Morse in A.W.O.L. (USA); Ron Silver and JoBeth Williams in Call it Fiction (USA); Wendie Malick in Waiting For Yvette (USA); Richard E. Grant in Always Crashing in the Same Car (UK); John Hannah in Stone (UK); and Ruta Lee and Steve Rossi in Sadie and the Slot Machines (USA).

A jury of five industry professionals will screen this year’s short films selected for competition in nine categories for a total of $14,000 in cash prizes including Best Animation, Best Documentary, Best Live Action, Best of Festival and the Future Filmmaker Award. The Panavision Grand Jury Award winner will receive a digital or film camera package valued at $60,000 and two days studio time courtesy of Casablanca Studios. An additional $7,500 in Kodak film stock will be presented to the film winners in the student award categories. Other prizes will include filmmaking software from Showbiz Software Store and Entertainment Partners.

The Festival will continue to present two special prizes. The Alexis Award, named in honor of Alexis Echavarria, who died suddenly upon returning from volunteer work in Thailand two years ago, just as the Festival had accepted his film. The Alexis Award will recognize emerging student filmmakers who show great potential in honor of Echavarria’s talent that was untimely extinguished. The recipient will receive a Final Cut Studio 2 package, courtesy of Apple Computer. Created at last year’s Festival, The Hard C Hi Five to Lo Fi Award for Best Low Budget Short will be presented by director Jason Reitman’s production company Hard C Productions.

Jury members include John Dahl, director You Kill Me; Bijan Tehrani from Cinema Without Borders; Rebecca Winters Keegan, “Time” magazine; Kimberly Yutani, associate director of programming Outfest; and Amotz Zakai from Echo Lake Entertainment. First place winners will automatically become eligible for consideration by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for a possible Academy Award nomination. Over the past eleven years, the Festival has presented 53 films that have gone on to receive Academy Award nominations.

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 Festival of Short Films and Short Film Market is the largest and most prominent short film showcase in North America. The Festival and its concurrent 2,500-film Film Market has captured Hollywood’s attention as a scouting ground for new filmmaking talent and is well attended by those in the business of buying and selling short films.

Several seminars and panels comprised of industry representatives will be assembled to discuss trends and provide advice on short filmmaking. The Festival will feature two separate master classes one with director John Dahl (You Kill Me, The Last Seduction)and another with master animator, two-time Academy Award nominee and winner of two major Cannes International Film Festival prizes Bill Plympton presenting and discussing their work with filmmakers. Workshops planned include Kodak Presents “Stop By. Shoot Film.” a hands on experience in using Super 16 mm film; The Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film One Day Workshop for Directors, providing practical techniques to get superior performances from actors; What Every Filmmaker Should Know about Rights and Clearances; and How to Craft a Pitch, looking at the basic steps of pitching projects to Hollywood production companies.

Panels include Panavision Presents “How to Talk to the Big Guys When You’re a Little Guy”, for filmmakers to find out how small independent films and student productions without large budgets can obtain products and services; “Hyping Yourself: How to Get Noticed Without Hiring a Publicist,” a look at how to draw attention to your film; “The Sexy Stuff: iTunes, Cellphones and Internet Opportunities,” experts will assess the many opportunities now available through these medias, “Film Festival Programmers Uncensored,” a talk about what to do to get the most out of the Festival experience. For those who prefer a more personal environment, the Festival will continue its popular “One-on-One Program,” an opportunity for participants to meet individually with publicists, agents, distributors, exhibitors and festival programmers to answer any questions filmmakers may have.

The Palm Springs International Festival of Short Films is supported by a growing number of local and national sponsors. The Title Sponsor is the City of Palm Springs with Presenting Sponsors Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, The Desert Sun, Spencer’s and Wessman Development Company. Major Sponsors include Bandit Cinema, The Bottom Line, CBS2, Kaiser Restaurant Group, Kodak, Las Casuelas Terraza, Nickelodeon, Palm Springs Women in Film & Television and Panavision. The official host hotel and media center is located at the Hilton Palm Springs Resort. Advance tickets and passes can be purchased online at www.psfilmfest.org or by calling (800) 778-8979.