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Palm Springs Shorts brings a long list of awards

The best things in life are short, especially those screened at the 2005 Palm Springs International Festival of Short Films & Short Film Market (ShortFest), the largest short film festival and market in North America, now in its 11th year. Setting new records all around, more than 500 filmmakers and industry representatives from around the world participated in this year’s Festival which screened 324 short films in competition and included more than 2,400 of the filmmaker submissions, from over 45 countries, in the film market. Held from September 20-26, 2005, Festival attendance was up 15% from last year’s 15,000 attendees.

A total of 22 festival awards in 13 categories and six audience favorites were announced Sunday evening at the Awards Presentation held at the Camelot Theatre in Palm Springs, CA. A total of $14,000 in cash prizes, $7,500 in Kodak film stock, $6,000 in software prizes and a $30,000 Panavision camera package were awarded. Award winners receiving a first place prize are automatically eligible to submit their films to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for Academy Award consideration: the Festival presented six of last year’s short film Academy Award nominees, including two winners. Over the past ten years, the Festival has presented 46 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, “It’s been a watershed year for this Festival. The huge filmmaker and industry attendance has now certified this event as the most important Short Film Festival in North America, and the audience response – along with the filmmakers attending screenings – have validated our programming work with a major stamp of approval, voicing their appreciation of the short film choices and packages with constant verbal praise and loud applause at virtually every screening.”

Commenting on the talent and films screened at this year’s Festival, ShortFest Director of Programming Kathleen McInnis said, “It’s been an extraordinary privilege and honor to screen these films this year. The talent we’ve come to expect at the ShortFest has been eclipsed this year by filmmakers who have reached far beyond any festival circuit standard and dipped into territories uncharted, unexpected and delightfully unusual. Our tradition of ShortFest films going on to win other Festival awards-even Oscars® -is well in hand with the ShortFest Class of 2005.”

The 2005 Palm Springs International Festival of Short Films award winners are:

“Torte Bluma,” Benjamin Ross – USA
Real-life Franz Stangl, the Commandant of the Treblinka extermination camp in 1942-43, enjoyed a most unusual relationship with the Jewish slave who cooked his meals. Teetering on the brink of insanity, their daily rituals were held together by a tenuous tread—until the cargo train brought a surprising arrival.

Josh Staub, “The Mantis Parable” – USA
Made by the creator of popular video games ‘Myst’ and ‘Ravens,’ this ravishing animated parable tells the story of a caterpillar trapped in a collector’s specimen jar, and the insects who come to his aid.

PANAVISION GRAND JURY AWARD – Panavision Camera Package valued at $30,000
Diego Postigo, “La China” – Spain
Two young addicts embark on a transcendental dialogue about the laws of nature, the nature of existence, and natural order.

Named in honor of Alexis Echavarria, who at age 16 made his film 18 Minutes, which screened in this year’s Festival. Echavarria died suddenly upon returning from volunteer work in Thailand a few weeks before the Festival had accepted his film. The Alexis Award will recognize emerging student filmmakers who show great potential in honor of Echavarria’s promise that was untimely extinguished. The recipient will receive a Final Cut Pro package, courtesy of Apple Computer and two days of studio time at Casablanca Studios in Palm Springs, CA.

Stevo Chang, “Fields of Mudan” – USA
Mudan, a young Asian girl, is forced into modern day slavery by the brutal child brothel owner, Madam Zhao. Mudan finds solace only through the memory of her mother and the promise that her mother will one day return to take her away with her to America.

All first place winners in these categories will receive a copy of Gorilla Pro Edition Software.

“Goodnight Bill,” John Mitchell – USA (Winner)
“Our Time is Up,” Rob Pearlstein – USA (Runner-up)

“God Sleeps in Rwanda,” Stacy Sherman – USA (Winner)
“From Philadelphia to the Front,” Judy Gelles, Marianne Bernstein – USA (Runner-up)

“Surly Squirrel,” Peter Lepeniotis – Canada (Winner)
“Smile,” Chris Mais – USA (Runner-up)


All first place winners in these categories received a cash award of $2,000 and 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) – “The Youth in Us,” Joshua Leonard – USA
Starring Lukas Haas as a young man deeply connected with his girlfriend. What seems to be their first time being intimate shifts direction as his girlfriend finds her own kind of peace about their impending action.

Second Place ($500) – “Going Postal,” Suzi Ewing – UK

BEST Live Action over 15 minutes:
First Place ($2,000) “Tama Tu,” Taika Waititi – New Zealand
Even at war, boys will be boys. Six Maori Battalion soldiers wait for night to fall in the ruins of an Italian home. Forced into silence, they keep themselves amused like any boys would, with jokes and laughter. As they try to ignore the reminders of war surrounding them, a sign brings them back to the world of the dying.

Second Place ($500) “Just Pray,” Tiffani Thiessen – USA

BEST Animation:

First Place ($2,000) – “The Mantis Parable,” Josh Staub – USA
Made by the creator of popular video games ‘Myst’ and ‘Ravens’, this ravishing animated parable tells the story of a caterpillar trapped in a collector’s specimen jar, and the insects who come to his aid.

Second Place ($500) – “The Mysterious Geographic Explorations of Jasper Morello,” Anthony Lucas – Australia

BEST Documentary:

First Place ($2,000) – “Search for Her,” Dawn Khoo – Singapore
The emotional journey taken by Yang, a closeted Malaysian Chinese lesbian, to come to terms with her sexual orientation.

Second Place ($500) – “From Philadelphia to the Front,” Judy Gelles, Marianne Bernstein – USA


All first place winners in these categories will receive $1,000 in Kodak film stock and will be eligible to submit their films to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences for Oscar consideration. Second Place recipients receive $500 in Kodak film stock. All student filmmakers in competition are eligible for these awards.

BEST STUDENT Live Action UNDER 15 minutes:

First Place – “Calm,” Jeff Smith – USA
Young Shauna and her little brother Grub embark on a dream-like odyssey through their devastated neighborhood amid the surreal calm that comes in the eye of a hurricane.

Second Place – “The Natural Route,” Alex Pastor – Spain

BEST STUDENT Live Action over 15 minutes:

First Place – “Twilight,” Victor Gamburg – USA/Russia
A woman desperately searches for her missing daughter during the mysterious northern twilight of St. Petersburg’s white nights. In her anguish, she reaches out to a young street girl who may be able to save her.

Second Place – “When the Moon is Full,” Marc Lesser – USA


First Place – “Mural,” Jose Luis Osorio – Canada
A visually ravishing rendering of an artists work, with the artist himself – who is haunted by the images of his own mind – as the subject of the film’s dazzling imagery.

Second Place – “Seed,” Bennett Cain – USA


First Place – “Under the Roller Coaster,” Lila Place – USA
To thousands, the Thunderbolt Roller Coaster was a Coney Island icon, but for Mae Timpano it was home. This enchanting film examines the true-life experience of one woman and her unique relationship to Coney Island living under the famed Thunderbolt Roller Coaster.

Second Place – “Unhitched,” Erin Hudson – USA


First Place ($1,000 in Kodak film stock.)
Eduard Grau (cinematographer), “The Natural Route” – Spain
When Divad wakes up after a strange accident, he can’t remember anything. Although he can’t pin it down, there’s something wrong and sinister about this new world that surrounds him, so he tries to retrace his steps.

Second Place ($500 in Kodak film stock)
Magela Crosignani (cinematographer), “Breached” – USA

Jury members include John Anderson, film critic, Amy Lillard Dee, film publicist and Fly Filmmaking Challenge producer at the Seattle International Film Festival, Roger Gonin, organizer of Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival, and Teri Schwartz, award-winning Hollywood producer and Loyola Marymount University School of Film/TV Dean.

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 2,400 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 2006 Palm Springs International Film Festival will be held January 5-16, 2006. For additional information, call the Festival headquarters at (760) 322-2930 or visit


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