Palm Springs ShortFest starts today

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - The Palm Springs International ShortFest & Short Film Market will get underway Today.

More than 300 films will be screened at the 19th annual festival, which runs through June 24 at Camelot Theatres in Palm Springs. The festival will include shorts from 49 countries and 70 world premieres, 55 North American premieres and 14 U.S. premieres. All 3,000 festival submissions will be available at the ShortFest Market, according to organizers.

``We are so delighted to present new works at ShortFest from so many unique new countries this year, especially the African countries of Burundi, Mali and Burkina Fasso,'' Kathleen McInnis of ShortFest said. ``It means a great deal to us to be supportive of emerging filmmakers from across the globe and to bring their dynamic stories to our ShortFest audience.''

The festival will open with comedic shorts at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Camelot Theatres, followed by a reception at Lulu California Bistro.

Eleven films have been chosen for the ShortFest Online Film Festival and are available via the festival's website. Online voting will continue through the end of the festival.

The Online Audience Award will be announced on closing night.

Some of the online films will be shown during the festival. All 11 films will play online for two months after the festival, according to organizers.

Some notable appearances include the voice of Cate Blanchett in the North American premiere of ``A Cautionary Tale'' (Australia);

  -- Christopher Lloyd in the world premiere of ``The Coin'' (U.S.);
 -- Alan Rickman in ``Dust'' (U.K.);
  -- Ian McKellen in the world premiere of ``The Egg Trick'' (U.K.);
  -- the voice of Bill Nighy in the North American premiere of ``The Hungry Corpse'' (U.K.);
  -- Hugo Weaving in ``No Budget'' (Australia);
  -- Shohreh Aghdashloo in ``Silk'' (U.S.);
  -- Emma Thompson in ``Walking the Dogs'' (U.K.);
  -- and Brooke Shields and Mireille Enos in the world premiere of ``Wild Horses'' (U.S.)

SND Films founder Sydney Netter, actress Missi Pyle and Los Angeles Times film critic Betsy Sharkey will serve on the festival jury.

A total of $110,000 in prizes will be given in 19 categories.

First-place winners in four categories will automatically become eligible for consideration by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for an Academy Award nomination. Winners will be announced June 23.

For information, tickets, a listing of the full lineup or to watch the online films, go to www.psfilmfest.org. Call (800) 898-7256.

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