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Palm Spring International ShortFest Awards

by Sydney Levine
June 28, 2011 2:30 AM
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Shorts are having an impact on new digital media and new types of distribution. Their importance and their filmmakers' importance has long been recognized by the top festivals (Cannes, Berlin, Sundance, TIFF) and among the trade, agents keep an eye on the top shorts filmmakers. So too, certain leading shorts film festivals and markets, the leaders of which are Clermont Ferrand in France and Oberhausen in Germany (for more cutting edge shorts), festivals like the Guanajuato International Film Festival, Expresión en Corto, held during the final week of July in the cities of San Miguel de Allende and Guanajuato Capital, Mexico and the Palm Spring Shortfest, NeXt in Bucharest and the Cannes Film Festival's Shorts Corner are increasingly important as are their winners who are the talents to watch.

The winner of Best of the Festival Award, writer/ director Zaid Abu Hamdan of Jordan with his short, Bahiya & Mahmoud, (now eligible for Academy Award consideration) is an especially interesting talent. His film training was completed in the U.S. He himself is a native of Jordan and his producing partner,also a director, is Heba Abu Musaed ♀ and she is based in Dubai. Zaid has won many prizes for his shorts and was chosen to be among the prestigioius 350 participants in last year's Berlinale's Talent Campus. He is definitely one to keep an eye on, for his talent, vitality and interest in bridging the cultures between America and the Arab world. Congratulations!!

The other winners also reflect the multicultural world we are all suddenly 100% included within today. Read below the jump for more.

PALM SPRINGS INTERNATIONAL SHORTFEST ANNOUNCES FESTIVAL WINNERS


Bahiya & Mahmoud Receives Best of Festival Award; UMOJA: No Men Allowed Receives Panavision Grand Jury Award; Tsuyako Receives Future Filmmaker Award


The 2011 Palm Springs International ShortFest, the largest short film festival and market in North America, announced its Festival award winners on Sunday, June 26, 2011. 331 short films screened throughout the Festival along with more than 3,000 filmmaker submissions available in the film market. A total of $128,800 in prizes, including $14,000 in cash awards, were awarded in 18 categories. Held from June 21-27, 2011, the Festival saw a large rise in attendance this year on all fronts, including ticket buyers, filmmakers and film industry delegates.


Festival Director Darryl Macdonald said, “It’s been a remarkable year for ShortFest, with record attendance and a rapturous response to the programming by audiences, industry and filmmakers alike. The Film Market and industry programs were particularly active, adding hugely to the Festival’s success. I’m confident a number of major future filmmakers emerged here this year and will go on to enliven the feature film world.”
“The extraordinary number of filmmakers attending both the festival and the market with their films this year, nearly 400 in total, added such a dynamic layer to ShortFest,” said Kathleen McInnis, Festival Curator and Director of Industry Programming. “This is what it is all about for us: bringing these emerging filmmakers into the spotlight of ShortFest where we hope they are inspired and empowered by their audience reception, industry interaction and peer to peer networking.”


The 2011 Palm Springs International ShortFest award winners are:


JURY AWARDS


BEST OF FESTIVAL AWARD - $2,000 cash and Software Package courtesy of The Showbiz Café & Store; Ultimate Stock Footage Collection courtesy of FootageFilm; Post Production award courtesy of Greenhouse Studios; and Final Cut Pro courtesy of Apple. The winner of this award is eligible to submit their film to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for Oscar consideration.
Bahiya & Mahmoud (Jordan/USA), Zaid Abu Hamdan (email: ZaidAbuHamdan AT gmail.com)
Aging couple Bahiya and Mahmoud have fallen into a reliable routine of bickering and making one another miserable until the morning that Mahmoud wakes and finds Bahiya gone.


PANAVISION GRAND JURY AWARD – Panavision Camera Package valued at $60,000.
UMOJA: No Men Allowed (Australia), Elizabeth Tadic ♀
Fed up with being abused by the men in their village, a group of tribal Samburu women in Northern Kenya create their own successful community where no men are allowed. But will the jealous men they left behind leave them in peace?


FUTURE FILMMAKER AWARD - $2,000 cash and Pipeline Filmmaker prize courtesy of Film Source LA, Smart Post Sound, Rushes and The Pipeline. (Japan/USA) Mitsuyo Miyazaki Tsuyako (Remember the actress in Memoirs of a Geisha? This is her USC School of Cinematic Arts Masters Thesis Film) ♀
In Japan, 1952, Tsuyako tries to live the life that has been set out for her—husband, children, work at the factory and care for her family. Yet when her friend arrives from Tokyo, Tsuyako finds herself entranced by the dream of a different life.


JURY SPECIAL CITATION – The jury presented a special citation for Excellence in Filmic Storytelling to Nullarbor (Australia), co-director and writer Patrick Sarell and co-director Alistair Lockhart.
The Eyre Highway through Australia’s Nullarbor Plain has the longest stretch of straight road in the world—perfect for passing that slow motorist alongside you. When two cars meet in this desolate landscape, will it be the tortoise or the hare who wins the day?


AUDIENCE AWARDS
AUDIENCE FAVORITE LIVE ACTION SHORT
dik (Australia), Christopher Stollery
When a young boy draws a picture of what appears to be him rubbing his best friend’s ‘dik’, his parents are thrown into paroxysms of guilt and self doubt, accusing each other of all manner of sexual peccadilloes.


Runner-up – Tsuyako (Japan/USA), Mitsuyo Miyazaki ♀


AUDIENCE FAVORITE DOCUMENTARY SHORT
Johnny & Lyman: A Life Together (USA), Paul Detwiler, Michael Chen
Having met on the beach in Santa Monica in 1945, Johnny and Lyman have been partners for more than 60 years. In 2008, they joined 18,000 other gay and lesbian couples in America in applying for a marriage license. This is their story.


Runner-up – The Unforgettable Hampton Family (USA), Julie Cohen ♀


AUDIENCE FAVORITE ANIMATION SHORT
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore (USA), William Joyce, Brandon Oldenburg
A gorgeously rendered allegory about the curative effects of story, this animated tale concerns a man who has built his whole life around his love of books.


Runner-up – Danny & Annie (USA), Dave Isay, Tim Rauch


SHORTFEST ONLINE AUDIENCE AWARD
New this year, the Palm Springs International ShortFest debuted the ShortFest Online Film Festival. Ten films were chosen to represent the festival online to receive the ShortFest Online Audience Award. The film will be available to screen online for the next three months.
Stephany + Me (USA), Peter Shanel
Ben has no luck at love until he meets a woman in the most unexpected place – a massage parlor!


JURY CATEGORY AWARDS

All first place winners in these categories received a cash award of $2,000. First place winners in the Animation and Live Action categories become eligible for Academy Awards consideration. Second Place recipients received a $500 cash prize.


BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT (15 MINUTES AND UNDER)
First Place ($2,000) – Cat and Mice (Kattenkwaad) (Netherlands), Nova Van Dijk ♀
A young thief, who steals local cats then returns them for reward money, suspects his brutish neighbor of kidnapping a local girl, but finds that appearances can be dangerously deceptive.


Second Place ($500) – Nowhere Elsewhere (Au Milieu de Nulle Part Ailleurs) (Canada), Annick Blanc ♀


Jury Special Citation - Pass the Salt, Please (USA) for Best Onscreen Pairing


BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT (OVER 15 MINUTES)
First Place ($2,000) – The Hours' Home (A Casa das Horas) (Brazil), Heraldo Cavalcanti
While the employees of a phone sales company think they’ve hooked a sucker in the form of a lonely little old lady who’s interested in their sales pitch, they soon learn that she can work the phone even better than they do…


Second Place ($500) – The Shore (UK), Terry George


BEST ANIMATION SHORT:
First Place ($2,000) – The Lost Town of Switez (Poland/Canada), Kamil Polak ♀
A spectacularly animated story about a traveler whose journey is diverted when his carriage driver falls asleep. An epic tale across wild lands and towns that glimmer like jewels, about a man who becomes a hero.


Second Place ($500) – Interregnum (Canada), Nick Fox-Gieg


Jury Special Citation - The Cord-Woman (La Femme Á Cordes) (France) for Best Sound Design


BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT:
First Place ($2,000) – 75 Watts (Canada), John Cullen
A young man’s body betrays him on a daily basis, until he picks up the one thing that can calm his mind and enliven his spirit.


Second Place ($500) – Collaboration Horizontale (Ireland), Ciaran Cassidy


STUDENT CATEGORIES
All first place winners in these categories will receive a software package courtesy of The Showbiz Café & Store. All student filmmakers in Festival competition are eligible for these awards.


BEST STUDENT LIVE ACTION SHORT (15 MINUTES AND UNDER)
First Place - The Promised Land (Israel), Vanessa Knutsen ♀
An Israeli woman gives shelter to an illegal Nigerian émigré and her son in this moving story about family and fealty.


Second Place – Kiss (Australia), Alex Murawski


BEST STUDENT LIVE ACTION SHORT (OVER 15 MINUTES)
First Place – Bekas (Sweden/Iraq), Karzan Kader
Winner in the Best Foreign Film category at the 2011 Student Academy Awards. Two brothers living on the streets in Kurdistan hatch a daring plan to get to American—which they are pretty sure lies just across the border.


Second Place – Negative (Israel), Yoav Hornung


BEST STUDENT ANIMATION:
First Place – The Birds Upstairs (USA), Christopher Cinq-Mars Jarvis
Exquisite animation exposes a couple’s despair when, after years of trying, they at last have a child who, to their dismay, doesn’t look anything like them. A beautifully disturbing examination of familial expectations.


Second Place – Heavy Heads (Denmark), Helena Frank ♀


BEST STUDENT DOCUMENTARY SHORT:
First Place – Goodbye Mandima (Kwa Heri Mandima) (Switzerland), Robert-Jan Lacombe
Robert-Jan Lacombe’s moving remembrance of the wrenching moment when his family boarded a plane and left behind the vivid world of the rural African village that shaped his childhood.


Second Place – Wajeh (Israel/Palestinian Territories), Murad Nassar


BEST STUDENT CINEMATOGRAPHY
Taj Musco (cinematographer), EhJeung (South Korea)
The bond of two sisters gets in the way as that fine line between lust and love gets blurred.


The Alexis Award for Best Emerging Student Filmmaker went to EhJeung (South Korea), directed by Matte Chi. The recipient will receive Final Cut Pro 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 Bekas (Sweden/Iraq), directed by Karzan Kader. The winner will receive a HP professional mobile workstation, EliteBook 8760w; prize and promotional support provided by HP. Runner-up was The Promised Land (Israel), directed by Vanessa Knutsen. The winner will receive Adobe Premiere Pro CS 5.5.


Allison Anders ♀ (Director – Border Radio, Gas Food Lodging, Mi Vida Loca), Effie T. Brown ♀ (Producer - Real Women Have Curves, Rocket Science) and Kirsten Smith ♀ (Producer/Writer - Legally Blonde, 10 Things I Hate About You, The House Bunny) served on the ShortFest jury.


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 ShortFest and its Short Film Market, are the largest and most prominent short film showcase in North America. Over the course of its first 16 years, the Festival has presented 80 films that have gone on to receive Academy Award nominations. The Festival and its concurrent 3,000-film Film Market continues to serve 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 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 Persol, MAKE, Panavision, The BottomLine, Greenhouse Studios, KPSP Local 2, The Pipeline, Australian Consulate General in Los Angeles and Palm Springs Life. The official host hotel and media center is the Renaissance Palm Springs. More information is available online at www.psfilmfest.org or by calling (800) 898-7256.


The Palm Springs International Film Festival will be held January 5-16, 2012.
# # #


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


About The Palm Springs International Shortfest
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 Persol, MAKE, Panavision, The BottomLine, Greenhouse Studios, KPSP Local 2, The Pipeline, Australian Consulate General in Los Angeles and Palm Springs Life. The official host hotel and media center is the Renaissance Palm Springs. More information is available online at www.psfilmfest.org or by calling (800) 898-7256.

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