PALM SPRINGS, Calif. -

The 18th annual Palm Springs International ShortFest and Film Market will open Tuesday night at Camelot Theatres in Palm Springs.

The festival will kick off with "Make `Em Laugh," a screening of comedy shorts from around the world.

The event is sold out, but movie fans can check at the door for standby tickets, according to the festival's website. A reception at Wang's in the Desert, 424 S. Indian Canyon Drive, will follow the screening.

The festival, which ends June 25, will showcase more than 320 films chosen from more than 3,000 worldwide entries. The selections, which cover 52 countries, will be divided into 53 themed programs. All festival submissions will be available at the ShortFest Market.

A total of $118,800 in prizes, including $16,000 in cash, will be given out in 19 categories. First-place winners in four categories will be automatically eligible for consideration by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for a possible Academy Award nomination.

Winners will be announced at a closing night screening and reception on Sunday.

Director and screenwriter Gus Van Sant will be honored Saturday with the ShortFest Spirit of Short Film Award, as part of a directing master class presentation about his work. Some of his shorts will be screened, and festival director Darryl Macdonald will moderate a discussion. Van Sant, a two-time Oscar nominee for directing ``Good Will Hunting'' and ``Milk,'' has also helmed some short films.

Robert Elswit, an Oscar-winning cinematographer, will give a master class on cinematography on Saturday. His credits include ``There Will Be Blood,'' Mission: Impossible -- Ghost Protocol,'' ``Michael Clayton'' and ``The Bourne Legacy,'' which will be released in August.

The festival's forums include ``Mythbusters'' with filmmakers sharing their experiences on the festival circuit; ``Producers' Landscape'' for independent producers; a panel with agents, managers and actors; and ``Meet the Press'' with film journalists.

Another facet of the festival is the ShortFest Online Film Festival, offered for the second straight year. Online voting for 10 films on the festival's website will continue through the festival, with the ShortFest Online Audience Award announced on closing night. Some of the online films will also be screened during the festival, and all of them will be online for two months after the festival.

There are individual event and screening tickets, a ``Reel Deal'' six-pack for $51 and ``insider passes'' for $185 or $200. For information and tickets, go to www.psfilmfest.org or call (800) 898-7256.