A total of 27 festival awards were announced Sunday evening at the Awards Presentation held at the Camelot Theatre in Palm Springs, CA, followed by the Closing Night Party at Ace Hotel. A total of $100,000 in cash and production prizes was awarded, including $14,000 in cash prizes, $7,500 in Kodak film stock, $6,000 in software prizes, five days of free studio time and a $60,000 Panavision camera package. Award winners receiving a first place prize in four categories are automatically eligible to submit their films to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for Academy Award® consideration. Over the past 14 years, the Festival has presented 64 films that have gone on to receive Academy Award nominations.
Festival Director Darryl Macdonald cited the collective talent of the young filmmakers attending this year’s event, stating “We’ve never had such a large and accomplished group of young filmmakers gathered together at this event at one time, and the positive critical and audience acclaim for the films on view at ShortFest this year is a testament to the wealth of new film talent emerging around the world right now.”
The 2009 Palm Springs International ShortFest award winners are:
BEST OF FESTIVAL AWARD – $2,000 cash, Software Package courtesy of The Showbiz Software Store and Movie Outline software. The winner of this award is eligible to submit their film to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for Oscar consideration.
The Dinner (Vacsora) (Hungary), Karchi Perlmann. This Venice Film Festival award winner tells the wry tale of a hapless pig farmer whose minor domestic accident turns into a wholly unexpected catastrophe for all involved.
FUTURE FILMMAKER AWARD – $2,000 cash, Software Package courtesy of The Showbiz Software Store, Ultimate Stock Footage Collection courtesy of Footagefilm.com, Final Cut Studio 2.0.1 provided by Apple and Movie Outline software.
Katie Wolfe, This is Her (New Zealand). The anatomy of a relationship is strikingly examined in painstaking detail as a family’s history unfolds onscreen.
PANAVISION GRAND JURY AWARD – Panavision Camera Package valued at $60,000 and five days studio time courtesy of DST Studios, Palm Springs, CA.
Jonathan’s Home (Japan/Singapore), Nathanael Carton. An unflinching look at the young au pair charged with the caretaking of even younger Jonathan, whose unique challenges distance him from his family.
All first place winners in these categories will receive Movie Outline software.
AUDIENCE FAVORITE LIVE ACTION SHORT
Dandelion Dharma (USA), Veronica DiPippo. Every ending leads to a new beginning in this fabulous and funny tale about a young woman who’s about to end it all in a shared community garden.
AUDIENCE FAVORITE DOCUMENTARY SHORT
Claiming the Title: Gay Olympics On Trial (USA), Jonathan Joiner, Robert H. Martin. A groundbreaking Supreme Court decision at the heart of the Gay Rights movement in the 80’s shares much in common with the equal rights struggle the LGBT community confronts in America today.
AUDIENCE FAVORITE ANIMATION SHORT
Lost and Found (UK), Philip Hunt. In this captivating CG animated film, a young boy in a seaside village is faced with the problem of helping a penguin get back to his home in the South Pole, even if it means rowing all the way there.
JURY CATEGORY AWARDS
All first place winners in these categories received a cash award of $2,000, Software Package courtesy of The Showbiz Software Store and Movie Outline software. First place winners in the Animated and Live Action categories 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 short UNDER 15 minutes
First Place ($2,000) – The Stars Don’t Twinkle in Outer Space (UK), Peter Thwaites. In this prize-winning short from the recent Venice Film Festival, a young boy’s fantasy about a trip to a strange planet in a rocket ship morphs into a different kind of trip altogether as reality sets in.
Second Place ($500) – The Man Inside (Ireland), Rory Bresnihan.
BEST Live Action short over 15 minutes:
First Place ($2,000) – The Taxidermist (UK), Bert & Bertie. An unusual elixir has extended the life of all the pets in the desolate village of Gibworth. This is good news for the pet food shop owner, but not so good for the taxidermist next door.
Second Place ($500) – Love Hate (UK), Dylan Ritson, Blake Ritson
BEST Animated short:
First Place ($2,000) – Cages (Mexico), Juan José Medina. As an old man collects his traps in the desert, hunting for any new game he might have caught, an unearthly spirit is stalking his own prey…
Second Place ($500) – Juiced and Jazzed (USA), Justin Webber
BEST Documentary short:
First Place ($2,000) – Irene (Scotland), Lindsay Goodall. Three generations of women, mother/daughter/grandmother, participate in a cinema-verite chronicle of Irene’s week long trip to a nursing home.
Second Place ($500) – Naming Pluto (UK), Ginita Jimenez
All first place winners in these categories will receive $1,000 in Kodak film stock and Movie Outline software. Second Place recipients receive $500 in Kodak film stock. All student filmmakers in Festival competition are eligible for these awards.
BEST STUDENT Live Action short UNDER 15 minutes:
First Place ($2,000) – Cigarette Candy (USA), Lauren Wolkstein. When a young marine just back from a harrowing tour of duty in the Middle East is forced to play the roll of hero at a homecoming party thrown in his honor, he finds himself attracted to a rebellious young woman who appears to be a kindred soul.
Second Place ($500) – My Four Inch Precious (USA), Sou Yun Sim
BEST STUDENT Live Action short over 15 minutes:
First Place ($2,000) – The Lunch Box (USA), Lubomir Mihailo Kocka. Each day, Jozef sets the same routine: wake, go to the factory, eat lunch. Every morning, his wife Ruzena packs his lunch carefully in the box, sets out a clean shirt and sends him off. And then, one day, the routine rhythm collapses.
Second Place ($500) – Gloria & Eric (USA), Nicolas Calzada
BEST STUDENT Animated short:
First Place – The Incident at Tower 37 (USA), Chris Perry. This dazzling CG animated story follows a pair of unorthodox saboteurs as they attempt to blow up a water processing plant in the middle of a dry, desolate wasteland once the site of a lake teeming with life.
Second Place – The Incredible Story of My Great Grandmother Olive (UK), Alberto Rodriguez
BEST STUDENT DOCUMENTARY short:
First Place – Waiting for Women (Esperando Mujeres) (UK), Estephan Wagner. In the remote Spanish village of Riofrio, almost all of the women have left. The village men, desperately seeking female companionship, organize a busload of single women from Madrid with the hope of changing their fortunes in love.
Second Place – Nutkin’s Last Stand (USA), Nicholas Berger
KODAK AWARD FOR BEST STUDENT CINEMATOGRAPHY
First Place ($1,000 in Kodak film stock.)
Alexa Caravia (cinematographer), Rare Fish (Indonesia). The measure of life in a small, remote fishing village is tested when a young boy strives to catch up to the adults.
Second Place ($500 in Kodak film stock)
Nathan Levine-Heaney (cinematographer), My Four Inch Precious (USA)
Three special awards were presented at this year’s Festival. The Alexis Award for Most Promising Student Filmmaker went to A Son’s War (Czech Republic), directed by Steven Edell. A young Czech Jew is forced to choose between his freedom and his mother’s honor, as the Nazi’s tighten their grip on the city of Prague while the war rages on in Europe. The recipient will receive Final Cut Studio 2.0.1 provided by Apple Computer and Movie Outline software. Special mentions went to Brotherhood (USA), directed by Brooke Sebold and Cigarette Candy (USA) directed by Lauren Wolkstein.
The Hard C High Five to Lo Fi Award for Most Entertaining Low Budget Short went Marry, F***, Kill (USA), directed by Douglas Lamore. As a couple sits around their apartment one day bored, the wife suggests a game they can play to kill a little time. The Cinema Without Borders Best International Film Award went to Kingsland #1 The Dreamer (UK), directed by, Tony Grisoni. An engrossing story about a young Kurdish émigré who tries to meld into the teeming world of London unequipped with the language or basic skills he’ll need to make it in this alien new world that he’s entered.
This year’s jury members were Kim Adelman, author and IndieWire contributor; Nigel Daly, Vice President Screen International; and Henry Sheehan from KPCC-FM’s “Film Week.”