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Palm Springs ShortFest and its Winners

Festivals
by Sydney Levine
July 5, 2012 1:28 PM
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The Palm Springs International Shortfestthe largest short film festival and market in North America, announced its Festival award winners on Sunday, June 24, 2012.  324 short films screened throughout the Festival along with more than 3,000 filmmaker submissions available in the film market.  A total of $118,800 in prizes, including $16,000 in cash awards, were awarded in 20 categories.  Held from June 19-25, 2012, the Festival had another record-breaking year in attendance for ticket buyers, filmmakers and film industry delegates.

Darryl Macdonald, ShortFest Programming and Executive Director, said, “It's been a great year for ShortFest, with record crowds, a spectacular lineup of provocative and engaging new films and a banner year for the ShortFest Forums, with acclaimed talents like  Robert Elswit, Gus Van Sant and Oorlagh George participating. All in all, we've achieved everything we set out to accomplish with this year's Festival. I'm confident we've provided a fitting springboard for the astonishingly accomplished young filmmakers who participated.”

Returning for a second year, the Palm Springs International ShortFest continued the ShortFest Online Film Festival.  Ten films were chosen to represent the Festival online.  The ShortFest Online Audience Award went to Lost & Found (UK), directed by Sam Washington.  The film will be available to view online for the next three months.

JURY CATEGORY AWARDS

Awards in the non-student and student categories were selected by ShortFest jury members Richard Abramowitz (President of Abramorama, distribution and marketing company), Lael Loewenstein, (President of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and a critic for Variety) and Jane Schoettle (International Programmer for the Toronto International Film Festival).  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 for Academy Awards consideration.  Second place recipients received a $500 cash prize.

Designated by AMPAS 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 3,000-film Market continue to serve as a scouting ground for new filmmaking talent and are well attended by those in the business of buying and selling short films.

The Palm Springs International ShortFest is supported by an ever-growing number of new and longtime sponsors with local, national and international prominence. The Title Sponsor is the City of Palm Springs with Presenting Sponsors The Desert Sun and Spencer’s.  Major Sponsors include, Panavision, The BottomLine, Stampede Post Productions, Greenhouse Studios, KQED San Francisco and The Australian Consulate General in Los Angeles.  Special support has been provided by The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.  

The 2012 Palm Springs International ShortFest award winners are:

JURY AWARDS

BEST OF FESTIVAL AWARD – Winner received $2,000 cash prize, Software Package courtesy of The Showbiz Café & Store, Post Production award courtesy of Greenhouse Studios 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.

Behind the Mirrors (Detras del Espejo) (Peru/USA), Julio O. Ramos

A young husband, and soon-to-be father, manages a local brothel with his wife.  When one of the night’s customers leaves behind an unexpected mess, the husband's keen eye for opportunity and quick thinking may change their fortunes forever.

PANAVISION GRAND JURY AWARD – Winner received a Panavision Camera Package valued at $60,000.

Paulie (USA), Andrew Nackman 

Paulie is a nine year old in the seventh grade. Used to being the smartest kid in the room Paulie aces every test, wins every spelling bee and science fair, and does not lose. So when bully Tony beats him one day at an essay contest, Paulie refuses to let it go.


FUTURE FILMMAKER AWARD – Winner received a $2,000 cash prize and a post production package courtesy of Greenhouse Studios. 

Khaana (UK), Rajinder Sawhney

A pregnant, orthodox Muslim woman living in London has an appetite for life as well as for food, in this delightful exploration of the ways in which her homeland’s culture intersects with her still novel foreign surroundings.

AUDIENCE AWARDS

AUDIENCE FAVORITE LIVE ACTION SHORT

A Curious Conjunction of Coincidences (Netherlands), Joost Reijmers 

An absurdist journey through time with an explosive ending in the heart of Amsterdam, this Dutch treat won the Best Comedy Award at the recent Aspen ShortsFest, and rightly so: its inventive tale links up three hapless heroes living in different centuries whose worlds collide unexpectedly in the present day.

Runner-up – Talking Dog For Sale, 10 Euros (Se Vende PerroQue Habla, 10 Euros) (France/Spain), Lewis-Martin Soucy

AUDIENCE FAVORITE DOCUMENTARY SHORT

Mr. Christmas (USA), Nick Palmer

Bruce Mertz is the kind of guy who lights up the lives of those around him -- quite literally -- when every holiday season he transforms his house into a beacon with 50,000 colorful lights and himself into Mr. Christmas.

Runner-up – The Little Team (L’Equip Petit) (Spain), Robert Gomez

AUDIENCE FAVORITE ANIMATION SHORT

The Boy in the Bubble (Ireland), Kealan O’Rourke

Young Rupert Shelley utilizes magic to win the heart of his true love at school and save his own heart from breaking. The magic works, but not in quite the way that Rupert had expected.

Runner-up – The Gruffalo’s Child (UK), Uwe Heidschötter, Johannes Weiland

BEST Animation short

First Place ($2,000) – Nuru (Belgium), Michael Palmaers

In this dazzling, CG-enhanced story about an abandoned zoo and its lone animal inhabitant, a zookeeper looks after a giant gorilla who is being subjected to a dark experiment run by an opportunistic director.

Second Place ($500) – Amen! (Germany), Moritz Mayerhofer

BEST Live Action short over 15 minutes

First Place ($2,000) – Dura Lex (Belgium), Anke Blondé

When two detectives show up at Kristi’s house asking lots of questions about her Albanian maid, she has little time to decide what to think, say, and do – and her answers will have major consequences for all concerned.

Second Place ($500) – Light Years (Lichtjahre) (Germany), Florian Knittel

BEST Live Action short 15 MINUTES AND UNDER

First Place ($2,000) – The Devil’s Ballroom (Mannen fra isødet) (Norway/Greenland), Henrik Martin Dahlsbakken

After burying his last remaining companion, a fearless explorer has to find his way to the North Pole alone, fighting snow-blindness and physical strain. An unexpected encounter forces him to decide between honor and fame in the history books or keeping the moral high ground—a choice which will haunt the rest of his life.

Second Place ($500) – The Moment (Australia), Troy Bellchambers

BEST Documentary short:

First Place ($2,000) – The Record Breaker (Denmark), Brian McGinn 

Climbing Machu Picchu on stilts is not for everybody, but it suits Ashrita Furman just fine. Furman holds the official record for the most Guinness World Records by one individual, and he has set his sights on one more for the books.

Second Place ($500) – The Globe Collector (Australia), Summer DeRoche

STUDENT CATEGORIES

All first place winners in these categories received a software package courtesy of The Showbiz Café & Store along with a one-year download membership to videoblocks.com or stock footage DVD set courtesy of Video Block and Footage Firm.

BEST STUDENT ANIMATION

First Place – Bear Me (Germany), Katarzyna Wilk

A young woman’s object of love, and other desires, is a surprisingly strange choice in her seemingly otherwise quite normal world.

Second Place – Flamingo Pride (Germany), Tomer Eshed

BEST STUDENT Live Action short over 15 minutes

First Place – Hatch (Austria/USA), Christoph Kushnig

On a wintry Vienna night, a young couple makes the decision to give up their child, knowing they cannot raise it and realize their own youthful dreams. Across town, another couple is desperate for a child of their own, with no way to conceive one. When the paths of these two couples briefly cross, fate holds an unexpected lesson for each of them.

Second Place – Good Night (UK), Muriel d’Ansembourg

BEST STUDENT Live Action short 15 MINUTES AND UNDER

First Place – Behind the Mirrors (Detras del Espejo) (Peru/USA), Julio O. Ramos

A young husband, and soon-to-be father, manages a local brothel with his wife. When one of the night’s customers leaves behind an unexpected mess, the husband's keen eye for opportunity and quick thinking may change their fortunes forever.

Second Place – Paulie (USA), Andrew Nackman

BEST STUDENT DOCUMENTARY short

In an unprecedented decision, the ShortFest jury has decided to award first place jointly to two documentaries: The Battle of the Jazz Guitarist and Julian.  The jury issued the following statement: “With strikingly different techniques, each paints a remarkable portrait of family ties. Although we didn’t set out to define the category thematically, we noted that both films raised questions of parental legacy, filial responsibility, and the indelible cost of personal ambition. Each left an unmistakable impression on us. And so, after sustained and impassioned deliberations, we decided that the only real option was to recognize both films.”

First Place (tie) – The Battle of the Jazz Guitarist (USA), Mark Columbus 

Filmmaker Mark Columbus takes an inventive, probing and amusing look at his relationship with his dad, a once famous jazz guitarist from the Fiji Islands, whose career stalled when he moved to the U.S.

First Place (tie) – Julian (USA), Bao Nguyen

When a young man named Julian looks straight into the camera and talks about the lure of joining the Marines and the possibility of not returning home, so begins this riveting portrait of a young soldier and his family.

BEST STUDENT CINEMATOGRAPHY - Software package courtesy of The Showbiz Café & Store.

Saro Varjabedian (cinematographer), Jesus Loves Youssef (Lebanon)

Young Youssef is praying for a bike for a first communion gift, but communion involves confession, and the boy is feeling awfully guilty about something that he doesn’t want to confess to the priest.

Second Place – Anand Kishore (cinematographer), Mong (China)

BEST STUDENT FILM AWARD (FROM A US FILM SCHOOL) - $2,000 cash prize courtesy of KQED, San Francisco.

First Place – Hatch (Austria/USA), Christoph Kuschnig

On a wintry Vienna night, a young couple makes the decision to give up their child, knowing they cannot raise it and realize their own youthful dreams. Across town, another couple is desperate for a child of their own, with no way to conceive one. When the paths of these two couples briefly cross, fate holds an unexpected lesson for each of them.

ADDITIONAL PRIZES

The Alexis Award for Best Emerging Student Filmmaker went to Kiss Me (USA), directed by Jules Nurrish.  The recipient received Final Cut Pro X courtesy of Apple.  The Alexis Award is selected by the Festival’s programming team and was created in honor of Alexis Echavarria, a young filmmaker, whose talent as a budding filmmaker and gift for inspiring excellence among his fellow students were cut short suddenly in 2005 at age 16.

Bridging the Borders Award presented by Cinema Without Borders went to Road to Peshawar (USA), directed by Hammad Rizvi.  The winner received a certificate for an upcoming Method Acting Intensive with a value of $2000 from Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute.  The runner-up was Dura Lex (Belgium), directed by Anke Blondé.

The Palm Springs International Film Festival will be held January 3-14, 2013.

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