We’ve been putting our shorts on for two decades

Long established as the largest short film event in North America and the only Film Market, year after year Shortfest continues to earn its reputation as a filmmaker’s festival and a premiere scouting ground for new talent. How did we get here? Read on...

A short history (of course)

Launched in 1995, ShortFest was conceived as a platform for emerging talent and a high profile showcase for a format that had all but disappeared from theatrical exhibition. This included our own theatrical exhibition, since the organizers of the Palm Springs International Film Festival at that time believed that the short films were being overshadowed by the features. From the beginning, it challenged conventional wisdom. The initial audience of 2,400 adventurous pioneers paid $5 to see 80 short films by unknown directors. Almost immediately, ShortFest found its audience having received enthusiastic promotion from the media and the support of the Hollywood community. In its 2nd year, more than 200 filmmakers were accredited, up from 40 the first year, the first panels debuted and attendance doubled.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences designated ShortFest as an Oscar®-qualifying event in 1996 i.e., winners in several juried categories are eligible to submit their films to the Academy® for nomination consideration. Not surprisingly, by the new millennium all previous entry and attendance records were broken. In 2006, our audience grew to more than 16,000, we saw a record shattering 2,500 submissions and nearly 300 filmmakers made the journey to Palm Springs.

At ShortFest, films not selected for theatrical programming are placed in the Film Market, giving those filmmakers a rare opportunity for self-promotion. And, participation in the Film Market also provides entrée to the full schedule of Forum programs. The ShortFest Forums – panels, master classes, roundtable discussions and special presentations – are a key element of the festival’s ongoing appeal to young filmmakers. Collectively, they provide filmmakers with the opportunity to learn from and network with working industry professionals.

As we enter our 20th anniversary year, we’re still growing! ShortFest 2014 will screen over 320 films from a record smashing 80 countries selected from 3,100± submissions for an audience of 25,000+ short film enthusiasts and more than 600 filmmaker and industry attendees. We benefit from the support and participation of local, regional and national press and are proud of the more than 100 films that have screened here and go on to receive Oscar® nominations and awards.