News in 2007

2007 Palm Springs International Festival Of Short Films & Short Film Market Announces Festival Winners
8/29/2007
2007 Palm Springs Festival of Short Films
Soft Receives Best of Festival Award; Pop Foul Receives Panavision Grand Jury Award; Pariah Receives Future Filmmaker Award & Best Student Live Action Award

Palm Springs, CA – Filmmakers and industry representatives from around the world put on their shorts to watch the shorts at the 2007 Palm Springs International Festival of Short Films & Short Film Market (ShortFest). Now in its 13th year, the largest short film festival and market in North America announced its Festival award winners on Tuesday, August 28, 2007. Setting new records all around, 332 short films screened in competition featuring 73 World Premieres, 22 North American Premieres and 17 U.S. Premieres and along with more than 2,500 filmmaker submissions, from over 40 countries, in the film market. Held from August 23-29, 2007, the Festival saw a large rise in attendance this year on all fronts, including ticket buyers, filmmakers and film industry delegates, surpassing its total box office for all of the 2006 event by half way through day three of its current run. As of press time, the Festival looks set to see a jump of 20% from the previous year in its overall box office for the 2007 edition.

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 Las Casuelas Terazza. 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 eleven years, the Festival has presented 53 films that have gone on to receive Academy Award nominations.

Commenting on the success of this year’s Festival and Market, Festival Director Darryl Macdonald said, “ShortFest has been a huge success this year on all fronts due chiefly to the quality of the films on view and the caliber of the short filmmakers who participated. Market activity has been frenzied, and the audiences have responded rapturously to the programming mix. On the evidence of this year’s Festival and Film Market, short films are clearly undergoing a huge upsurge in popularity, and with it, we are witnessing a new era of creativity and opportunities for the young filmmakers involved.”

The 2007 ShortFest jury made the following statement. "The jury would like to recognize the diversity of ideas and the strong, unique visions of the 2007 Palm Springs Short Fest filmmakers: the films represent a refreshing change of pace from the usual movie-by-committee Hollywood style of filmmaking. The clarity of vision and the filmmakers’ commitment to a creative excellence serves filmmakers and audiences alike, and to this end the jury would like to commend each and every filmmaker for staying true to a creative voice."

The 2007 Palm Springs International Festival of Short Films 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.
Soft (UK), Simon Ellis
A weak father encounters a gang of teenage thugs in this frighteningly realistic take on violence that deftly blends emotional complexity with a keen understanding of the darker side of youth culture.

Future Filmmaker Award - $2,000 & Showbiz Software Package
Dee Rees, Pariah (USA)
Winner of the L. A. OutFest Audience Prize for Best Short Film, Pariah tells the story of a 17-year-old black student who is grappling with the conflicting pressures placed upon her by her family, her schoolmates and her best friend, an ‘out’ butch lesbian who chides her for trying to hide her sexuality.

Panavision Grand Jury Award – Panavision Camera Package valued at $60,000 & two days studio time courtesy of Casablanca Studios, Palm Springs, CA
Moon Molson, Pop Foul (USA)
This Student Academy Award-winning short film relates the ways in which the sins of a father manifest themselves in tragic and unexpected ways on a child.

Audience Awards


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

Audience Favorite Live Action Short
I Hate Musicals (USA), Stewart Schill – Brad, a heartless insurance executive, has to learn to love Musicals if he's to save his relationship with his lovely fiancée Melissa.

Audience Favorite Documentary Short
Freeheld (USA), Cynthia Wade - Laurel Hester, a policewoman with 25 years of service on the Ocean County police force, faces a form of discrimination that confronts too many people in contemporary America. This incredibly moving documentary draws attention to the issue of domestic partnership benefits for same-sex couples in a way that no mere newspaper story could ever do.

Audience Favorite Animation Short
The Needful Head (USA), Zeth Willie - Fed up with his lack of control over the things that come out of his mouth, a ghoulish character decides that the best solution is to simply get rid of it, in this twisted animated story about what can happen when you lose your head

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.

Best Live Action Under 15 Minutes
First Place ($2,000) – Contact/Raak (Netherlands), Hanro Smitsman
Everything happens for a reason, and bad things come full circle – two lessons underlined to fascinating effect in this cautionary tale of a bad day in the lives of a number of people whose fates are interconnected by circumstance and chance.

Second Place ($500) – Offside (Israel), Erez Tadmor &Guy Nattiv

Best Live Action Over 15 Minutes:
First Place ($2,000) - The Tonto Woman (UK/Spain), Daniel Barber
Based on a short story by Elmore Leonard, this brilliant film recounts the fateful meeting of a cattle rustler and a singular woman on the harsh frontier of the American West during a time when virtue and vice were relative values, depending upon the circumstances.

Second Place ($500) Deface (USA), John Arlotto

Best Animation
First Place ($2,000) – Madame Tutli-Putli (Canada), Chris Lavis, Maciek Szczerbowski
Madam Tutli-Putli boards the night train and finds herself drawn into a desperate metaphysical adventure with an undertow of mystery and suspense.

Second Place ($500) – Love at First Sight (De la Vista Nace el Amor) (Mexico), Miguel Anaya

Best Documentary:
First Place ($2,000) – Freeheld (USA), Cynthia Wade
Laurel Hester, a policewoman with 25 years of service on the Ocean County police force, faces a form of discrimination that confronts too many people in contemporary America. This incredibly moving documentary draws attention to the issue of domestic partnership benefits for same-sex couples in a way that no mere newspaper story could ever do.

Second Place ($500) – Salim Baba (India), Tim Sternberg

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 Under 15 Minutes
First Place – Clear Cut, Simple (USA), Vineet Dewan
Following orders and friendship collide as an American soldier in Iraq must call into question the loyalty of his translator.

Second Place – Pleasance (Australia), Amy Gebhardt

Best Student Live Action Over 15 Minutes
First Place – Pariah (USA), Dee Rees
Winner of the L. A. Film Festival Audience Award for Best Short Film, Pariah tells the story of a 17-year-old black student who is grappling with the conflicting pressures placed upon her by her family, her schoolmates and her best friend, an ‘out’ butch lesbian who chides her for trying to hide her sexuality.

Second Place – Cricket Head (USA/South Africa), Grant Greenberg

Best Student Animation
First Place – The Needful Head (USA), Zeth Willie
Fed up with his lack of control over the things that come out of his mouth, a ghoulish character decides that the best solution is to simply get rid of it, in this twisted animated story about what can happen when you lose your head

Second Place – Windows Masks Doors (USA), Sarah Orenstein

Best Student Documentary
First Place – Left in Baghdad (USA), Peter Jordan, John Kane
What is everyday life like for a 32-year-old husband and father who has just been sent home from Walter Reid Medical Hospital after losing his left arm in the Iraq war? This remarkable short documentary provides some surprising answers to that question.

Second Place – Unattached (USA), J.J. Adler

Kodak Award For Best Student Cinematography
First Place ($1,000 in Kodak film stock.)
Andrew McLeod (cinematographer), Pleasance (Australia)
The relationship between two brothers who reside on a farm in the remote countryside takes a subtle turn when Marie, the former lover of the younger brother, turns up at the farm to rekindle old feelings.

Second Place ($500 in Kodak film stock)
Carlos Davis Colin Calderón (cinematographer), If Eyes Can’t See (Ojos que no Van) (Mexico)

Three special awards were presented at this year’s Festival. The Alexis Award for Best Emerging Student Filmmaker went to Cricket Head (USA/South Africa) directed by Grant Greenberg. The film follows a forty-something teacher, who goes to ever-increasing lengths to win a student’s affections. 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 Egg Love (Canada/USA) directed by Jonah Bekhor and Zach Math. The film recounts an amusing love story involving nothing more than a man, a woman and an egg. The Cinema Without Borders Best International Film Award went to Milan (Germany/Serbia/Montenegro) directed by Michaela Kezele, which tells the story of a family whose farm lies on the receiving end of the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia during the siege of Sarajevo.

Jury members include John Dahl, director You Kill Me; Bijan Tehrani from Cinema Without Borders; Rebecca Winters Keegan, “Time” magazine; Kimberly Yutani, short film programmer for the Sundance Film Festival; and Amotz Zakai from Echo Lake Entertainment.

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 important 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.

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. More ShortFest information is available online at www.psfilmfest.org or by calling (800) 778-8979.

The 2008 Palm Springs International Film Festival runs January 3-14, 2008. For additional information, call the Festival headquarters at (760) 322-2930 or visit www.psfilmfest.org.

Digital images from the Festival and from films screened during the Festival are available upon request.