PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - The Palm Springs International ShortFest celebrated its 20th anniversary over the weekend. It's the largest short film festival and only short film market in North America, according to organizers.
On Sunday, officials announced the winners for this year's event.
Over 3,000 filmmaker submissions were made at the 2014 festival and 330 short films were screened. More than $115,000 in prizes, including $21,000 in cash awards, were awarded in 21 categories.
Organizers said the festival, which took place from June 17-23, had another record-breaking year in attendance for ticket buyers, filmmakers and film industry delegates.
"The 2014 Palm Springs ShortFest far surpassed all of our expectations," said Festival Director Kathleen McInnis. "Our audience, filmmaker and industry attendance all soared, as did the striking talent we were able to showcase during our 20th anniversary year. Well over 800 filmmaker and industry guests made our filmmaker forums one of the most dynamic we have ever had, and most of the screenings had all filmmakers in attendance; a great bonus for our audience who love their q/a sessions.
McInnis also said filmmakers came from over 37 countries, which is the most the festival has ever had.
- Best of Festival Award - Carry On (China), Yatao Li. During the brutal withdrawal of Japanese forces at the end of WWII, a Chinese Father does whatever he can to save his family.
- Greater Palm Springs Convention & Bureau Grand Jury Award - Joanna (Poland), Aneta Kopacz. An intimate portrayal of a young mother who must contemplate what she wants to leave behind for her toddler son and husband.
- Future Filmmaker Award - Whisker (New Zealand), Steven Saussey. A homeless hobo wants to feed his dog but has nothing to give him, until he notices a 'beard-growing contest' at a local pub that presents a way to get the dog what he needs.
- Panavision Best North American Short - 90 Days (9O?) (Canada/Hong Kong), Timothy Yeung. Armedwith a 90-day tourist Visa, a young Chinese girl arrives in Hong Kong. She is quickly led by her guide to the big city's seedy back alleys, where she is prepared to work as a prostitute in a series of red light hotels with the hopes of earning money for her family.
- Best Live Action Short - Dragula (USA), Frank Meli. A young guy with an all-American father, jock older brother and an understanding mother (Missi Pyle), comes to terms with his inner voice when he performs a drag number at the high school talent show, after being taken under the wing of a famous old drag performer (Barry Bostwick) in a gay bar.
- Runner-up - Young Americans (USA), Kevin Lacy
- Best Documentary Short - Showfolk (USA), Ned McNeilage. Showbiz vets residing at the Motion Picture & Television Fund Home share wisdom and inspiration (and a little song and dance) garnered over lifetimes in the business.
- Runner-up - The War Photographers (USA), Steven Kochones
- Best Animation Short - Bendik & the Monster (Norway), Frank Mosvold. A monster dreams of being a cabaret singer. Bendik dreams of a better relationship with his mom and her boyfriend. The two of them can hardly dream of what will happen if they work together.
- Runner-up- The Gulf (Canada), Carl Beauchemin, Thomas Chrétien, David Forest
- Shortfest Online Audience Award - Juliet (Australia), Martin H?gberget. Obsessed with Shakespeare and Alex, the hottest guy in school playing Romeo in the school play, Brooke is convinced the way to her Romeo's heart is to star opposite him in the school play...and she will do anything to get the part.