ShortFest Announces 2016 Festival Winners

Home Receives Best of the Festival Award;
La Laguna, Limbo and Minh Tâm Receives Top Jury Awards;
The Chop, Phil’s Camino and Taking Flight Receive Audience Awards

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Palm Springs, CA (June 26, 2016) - The 2016 Palm Springs International ShortFest, the largest short film festival and only short film market in North America, announced its Festival award winners on Sunday, June 26, 2016.  327 short films screened throughout the Festival along with more than 4,100 filmmaker submissions available in the film market.  More than $115,000 in prizes, including $20,000 in cash awards were awarded in 21 categories. 

“A common thread of immigration and compassion dominates our award winning films this year – echoing current issues around the world,” said Festival Director Helen du Toit. “After a stimulating and energizing week of storytelling and networking between the next generation of filmmakers, we leave with a sense of hope for a world that, despite some setbacks, does seem to be evolving slowly but surely.”

The 2016 Palm Springs International ShortFest award winners are:

Jury Awards and awards in the non-student and student competition categories were selected by ShortFest jury members David Ansen, Jeremy Boxer, Zorianna Kit (Huffington Post), Molly Parker (actress, House of Cards), Rachel Samuels (Condé Nast) and Alison Willmore (BuzzFeed).

BEST OF FESTIVAL AWARD – Winner received $5,000 cash prize courtesy of the Greater Palm Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau, and Final Cut Pro X courtesy of Apple.  The winner of this award may be eligible to submit their film to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for Oscar® consideration.
Home (Kosovo), Daniel Mulloy
A young, happy family seems to be going on holiday but is instead on a journey similar to millions of others in this speculative and provocative film.

Jury Statement: “The winner of the Best of the Fest Award goes to a film that devastated the jury with its portrayal of a family escaping danger.  This surprising and incredibly powerful film deftly elicits not just our compassion, but more importantly, our empathy.” 

GRAND JURY AWARD – Winner received a $2,000 cash prize.
Minh Tâm (France), Vincent Maury
At the age of 33, Minh Tâm has given up on love. Devoted to the education of her autistic son, overwhelmed by a domineering mother, she uses men just to escape briefly from daily life. Until the day she meets Olivier, who causes her to question her certainties.

Jury Statement: “For its honest, haunting and subtly devastating depiction of an emotionally damaged woman struggling to reconnect her body and her soul.”

PANAVISION BEST NORTH AMERICAN SHORT – The use of a camera package valued at $60,000 courtesy of Panavision.
La Laguna (Mexico), Aaron Schock
Deep in the rainforest of southern Mexico, a young Mayan boy lives a life of freedom and joy until confronted by family problems and the realities of growing up that might push him out into the world.

Jury Statement: “This film really took the Jury on a gorgeous journey into another world.  It is so beautifully photographed and edited, and shows an impressive level of intimacy with its subjects.  It felt like a Terrence Malick film- to have this much aesthetic control in a documentary situation is truly impressive.”

FUTURE FILMMAKER AWARD – Winner received a $2,000 cash prize. 
Limbo(Greece), Konstantina Kotzamani
The leopard shall lie down with the goat. The wolves shall live with the lambs. And the young boy will lead them.

Jury Statement: “This haunting film displays a level of mastery in terms of directing that feels truly visionary. Every frame is exquisitely composed, and also perfectly expresses the film’s tone of deep mystery and otherworldliness.”

All first place winners in the non-student categories received a cash award of $2,000.  First place winners in the non-student Animation and Live Action categories may be eligible to submit their film to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for Oscar® consideration.

BEST Animated short
Glove (US), Alexa Lim Haas & Bernardo Britto
An astronaut loses a glove in space and contemplates where it will go.

Jury Statement: “In five deceptively simple minutes, this animated film takes us from a factory in Delaware to the farthest reaches of space, transforming a real event into a delightfully speculative meditation on our place in the universe.”

 BEST Live Action short over 15 minutes
Bon Voyage (Switzerland), Marc Wilkins
A couple’s compassion is put to the test when they come across a sinking ship of refugees while on a pleasure trip across the Mediterranean.

Jury Statement: “A superbly directed thriller that explores the current dilemma of the refugee crisis. The film challenges the audience at every turn, implicating the viewer asking them to think what would they do if faced with the same situation.”

BEST Live Action short 15 MINUTES AND UNDER
Filip(Sweden), Nathalie Álvarez Mesén
A naturalistic story about a young boy and his older brother. Both are on journeys of self-discovery and revelation.

Jury Statement: “We loved the intimacy, sensitivity and delicacy of this family portrait, and were impressed by the nuanced performance of the young star; and we felt truly immersed in his point of view.”

BEST Documentary short
Clínica de Migrantes: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness (US), Maxim Pozdorovkin
Everyday, Puentes de Salud, a volunteer-run clinic in South Philadelphia, serves the uninsured Latino immigrants of the community. A moving and human examination of immigration and health care in America today.

Jury Statement: “For its immensely empathetic and measured approach to capturing the workings of a volunteer-run clinic servicing the uninsured and undocumented in Philadelphia. It's a film that's both urgent in its timeliness and warmly human in its approach to the doctors and patients it follows.”

All first place winners in these categories received a $500 cash prize. 

Mr. Madila (UK), Rory Waudby-Tolley
This hilarious and creative gem of an animated documentary brings to life interviews with a highly opinionated spiritual healer. Not content with talking about his craft, he also has plenty to say about filmmaking.

Jury Statement: “We loved this highly inventive and imaginative film. We were completely drawn into Mr Madila’s hilarious and wild world.”

BEST STUDENT Live Action short over 15 minutes
Peacock (Czech Republic), Ondrej Hudecek
A twisted gay romance set in 19th-century Bohemia tells the true story of the birth of one of the nation's most influential writers. Suspense, laughter, violence, hope, heart, nudity, sex and a mostly happy ending.

Jury Statement: “For its incredible style, visual élan, and droll sense of humor in telling the strange, funny, and true story of the early days of famous Czech writer. We had trouble believing that this was a student film, but we have no trouble at all believing that Ondrej Hudecek is the successor to Wes Anderson.”

Gabber Lover(France), Anna Cazenave-Cambet
Laurie doubles on the back of Mila’s motorbike to a lake where they dance with abandon. Her gaze harbors longing but will the friendship sustain this transition?

Jury Statement: ““Energetic and stylish, this film examines the fear and courage implicit in a proclamation of new love. The jury was stuck by this films pacing and use of color and music. Clearly, this student is a filmmaker to watch”

I, Destini(US), Nicholas Pilarski & Destini Riley
In an animated diary, Destini Riley reflects on her life in Durham, N.C., a city divided by class and race. For Destini, whose brother is in prison, the carceral environment is difficult to escape.

Jury Statement: “This urgently timely story of incarceration and its effects on a family employs a spare animation style and an eloquent metaphor to transform a deeply personal tale into a cinematic language that speaks to us all.”


Thunder Road (US), Jim Cummings
Jimmy Arnaud eulogizes his mother.

Jury Statement: “The jury would also like to give a special mention to a film that in one breathtaking, surprising and hilarious take revealed the extraordinary talent of its writer director and star, Jim Cummings, a filmmaker and actor we are sure we'll be seeing much more of.”

People of the Delta (Ethiopia), Joseph Lawrence
In Ethiopia's Lower Omo Valley, a young man comes of age in a harsh time.

Jury Statement: “Beautifully shot with a dual storyline that intersects, the film is made all the more poignant by having real tribesmen, not actors, taking the viewer through this fictional narrative.”

The Chop (UK), Lewis Rose
In this “kosher comedy,” a skilled and charming Jewish butcher must expand his horizons after he loses his job.

Runners-up: Millions of Tears, Bon Voyage, Thanks for Dancing, The Babysitter Murders and Zoya

Phil’s Camino(USA), Annie O’Neil and Jessica Lewis
When a Stage 4 cancer patient is told he cannot accomplish his bucket-list goal to walk the 500-mile Camino de Santiago in Spain, he decides to create his own camino in his backyard.

Runners-up: Clinica de Migrantes: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, These C*cksucking Tears and Alzheimer’s: A Love Story

Taking Flight (USA), Brandon Oldenburg
A bored child stuck with his grandfather for the day stumbles across a photo of his father in a magic wagon, unleashing an unforgettable adventure.

Runners-up: Violet and Alike

High Chaparral (USA), David Freid
In this documentary, a theme park celebrating America’s mythic Wild West in wintery Sweden becomes a welcoming home for refugees fleeing the Syrian civil war.


ALEXIS AWARD FOR BEST EMERGING STUDENT FILMMAKER – The Alexis Award is selected by the Festival’s programming team and was created in honor of Alexis Echavarria, whose talent as a budding filmmaker and gift for inspiring excellence among his fellow students were cut short suddenly in 2005 at age 16.  The recipient received Final Cut Pro X courtesy of Apple. 
Peacock (Czech Republic), Ondrej Hudecek
A twisted gay romance set in 19th-century Bohemia tells the true story of the birth of one of the nation's most influential writers. Suspense, laughter, violence, hope, heart, nudity, sex and a mostly happy ending.

HP BRIDGING THE BORDERS AWARD PRESENTED BY CINEMA WITHOUT BORDERS - The winner received the award’s diploma and an HP ZBook 17 Mobile Workstation valued at $3,000. 
French (France), Josza Anjembe
Teenage Seyna faces unexpected obstacles on her mission to become a French citizen, from the disapproval of her Cameroonian father to the limitations of the camera lens. 

YOUTH JURY AWARD – The winner received a $500 cash prize.  
Taking Flight (US), Brandon Oldenburg
A bored child stuck with his grandfather for the day stumbles across a photo of his father in a magic wagon, unleashing an unforgettable adventure.

About Palm Springs International ShortFest
Designated by AMPAS, BAFTA and BIFA as an award-qualifying festival, and accredited by the International Short Film Conference, the Palm Springs International ShortFest & Short Film Market, one of the most acclaimed short film showcases in the world, was held on June 21-27. Now in its 22nd year, the 2016 ShortFest showcased over 327 short films from 54 countries. The concurrent Short Film Market, the only one in North America, featured a library of more than 4,100 films available to film buyers, industry and press. The ShortFest Forums, a four-day schedule of seminars, panel discussions, roundtables and master classes, were staged free of charge for attending filmmakers. 

The Palm Springs International Film Festival will be held January 5-16, 2017 and the Palm Springs International Film Festival Awards Gala will be held January 2, 2017.

For more information, call 760-322-2930 or 800-898-7256 or visit

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

Steven Wilson / Ashley Patterson
B|W|R Public Relations
212-901-3920 / 310-550-7776 / 

David Lee
Palm Springs International Film Society