palm springs shortfest

Facing Mecca Tops Films at Palm Springs ShortFest

Switzerland-based film exploring Syrian refugee facing Swiss bureaucracy to bury his Muslim wife wins pair of awards.

Site Staff Arts & Entertainment

palm springs shortfest
Director Jan-Eric Mack (left) and writer Anna Schinz accept the Best of Festival Award at the June 25 closing ceremony to the Palm Springs International ShortFest.
PHOTO BY JIM POWERS

Facing Mecca captured a pair of awards, including Best of Festival, at the 2017 Palm Springs International ShortFest during the June 25 closing ceremony at the Camelot Theatres in Palm Springs.

Palm Springs ShortFest, the largest festival of its kind and featuring the only short film market in North America, screened 338 short films along with more than 4,200 filmmaker submissions available in the film market. More than $115,000 in prizes, including $20,000 in cash awards, were awarded in 21 categories. 
 
“Filmmakers are making movies about the changing world around them. I think our award winners showcase an understanding and compassion for people, and it’s a great thing to see,” said festival director Lili Rodriguez. 

Facing Mecca director Jan Eric-Mack was also awarded for Best Student Live Action Short Over 15 Minutes.

VIDEO: View the acceptance speech of Facing Mecca director Jan-Eric Mack for the Best of Festival award.

The Best of Festival, Grand Jury and best North American Short were selected by Palm Springs ShortFest jury members David Ansen (film critic/PSIFF lead programmer), Lindsey Bahr (Associated Press), Kate Bosworth (actress/producer), Ian Durkin (Vimeo), Sam Lansky (Time Magazine) and Heidi Zwicker (Sundance). The jury member also presided over awards in the non-student and student competition categories.
 
The rest of the award winners are:

BEST OF FESTIVAL AWARD

Winner received $5,000 cash prize courtesy of the Greater Palm Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau. The winner of this award may be eligible to submit their film to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for Oscar consideration.

Facing Mecca (Switzerland), Jan-Eric Mack
Pensioner Roli comes to Fareed’s assistance when the Syrian refugee is faced with a bewildering forest of Swiss bureaucracy before he can bury his Muslim wife.

GRAND JURY AWARD

Winner received a $2,000 cash prize.

The Head Vanishes (France/Canada), Franck Dion
Jacqueline, no longer quite in her right mind, still goes on her annual summer trip. This year, she’s followed by some woman who claims to be her daughter

PANAVISION BEST NORTH AMERICAN SHORT

The use of a camera package valued at $60,000 courtesy of Panavision.

Dekalb Elementary (USA), Reed Van Dyk
Inspired by an actual 911 call placed during a school shooting incident in Atlanta, Georgia.

NON-STUDENT COMPETITION AWARDS

All first place winners in the non-student categories received a cash award of $2,000 and may be eligible to submit their film to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for Oscar consideration.

BEST ANIMATED SHORT

The Head Vanishes (France/Canada)
Franck Dion

katebosworth

PHOTO BY JIM POWERS
Actress Kate Bosworth announces winners at the Palm Springs International ShortFest closing ceremony.

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT OVER 15 MINUTES

Retouch (Iran), Kaveh Mazaheri
Maryam’s husband does weightlifting at home. When a weight falls on his throat and puts him near death, Maryam makes a decision.

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT 15 MINUTES AND UNDER

Great Choice (USA), Robin Comisar
A woman gets stuck in a Red Lobster commercial.

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT

Edith + Eddie (USA), Laura Checkoway
Ninety-something Edith and Eddie are America’s oldest interracial newlyweds, whose unusual and idyllic love story is disrupted by a family feud that threatens to tear them apart.
 

STUDENT COMPETITION AWARDS
FUTURE FILMMAKER AWARD

Winner received a $2,000 cash prize. 

Where You Found Refuge (France), Guillaume Legrand
After Didier finds his daughter living in a cult, he decides to bring her home by force.
 
Special Mention: Fry Day (USA), Laura Moss
An adolescent girl comes of age against the  backdrop of serial killer Ted Bundy’s execution in 1989.
 
All first place winners in these categories received a $500 cash prize. 
 

BEST STUDENT ANIMATION

Sog (Germany), Jonatan Schwenk
After a flood, the fish are stuck in trees, in danger of drying out. They scream sharply, disturbing the inhabitants of a nearby cave.

BEST STUDENT LIVE ACTION SHORT OVER 15 MINUTES

Facing Mecca (Switzerland), Jan-Eric MackBEST STUDENT LIVE ACTION SHORT 15 MINUTES AND UNDER

Iron Hands (USA/China), Johnson Cheng
A 12-year old girl tries out for the traditionally all-boys’ Chinese youth Olympic weightlifting team. And makes an unlikely connection with the weightlifting gym’s reclusive groundskeeper.

BEST STUDENT DOCUMENTARY SHORT

Searching for Wives (Singapore), Zuki Juno Tobgye
Male migrant workers from South India living in Singapore send photos back home in the hope of finding suitable and willing marriage partners.
 
Special Jury Mention: I Made You, I Kill You (Romania/France), Alexandru Petru Badelita
In a remarkable cinematic diary, by turns touching and disturbing, Badelita looks back at his traumatic childhood growing up in rural Romania.

AUDIENCE AWARDS BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT

Red Light (Bulgaria/Croatia), Toma Waszarow
A bus stops at a village’s only intersection, where the traffic light is stuck on red. The driver refuses to move forward

BEST ANIMATION SHORT

Coin Operated (USA), Nicholas Arioli
Seventy years pass in the life of one naïve explorer.
 

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT

Kayayo (Norway), Mari Bakke Riise
Elementary-school-age Bamunu works as a kayayo (a living shopping cart) at the markets in Accra thousands of miles from her village.

SHORTFEST ONLINE
AUDIENCE AWARD

Lost Face (Australia/Canada), Sean Meehan
Based on a classic story by Jack London set in mid-1800s Alaska, a man makes a deal with a native chief in hopes to save his life.

nicholasarioli

PHOTO BY JIM POWERS
Nicholas Arioli won for Best Animated Short, Coin Operated.

ADDITIONAL PRIZES ALEXIS AWARD FOR BEST EMERGING STUDENT FILMMAKER

The Alexis Award is selected by the Festival’s programming team and was created in honor of Alexis Echavarria, whose talent as a budding filmmaker and gift for inspiring excellence among his fellow students were cut short suddenly in 2005 at age 16. The recipient received Final Cut Pro X courtesy of Apple.

Chebet (Kenya/USA), Tony Koros
A pregnant woman in the Kenyan highlands decides to take drastic action when she finds her husband passed out in front of their house yet again.

HP BRIDGING THE BORDERS AWARD
PRESENTED BY CINEMA WITHOUT BORDERS

The award goes to a film that is most successful in bringing and connecting the people of our world closer together. The winner received an HP ZBook 17 Mobile Workstation valued at $3,000.

Pantheon (France), Ange-Régis Hounkpatin
Son of a Beninese immigrant, cut off from his roots, Solomon is about to donate his deceased father’s Voodoo costume to a museum when a young street-dancer reminds him of the ancestral soul.

YOUTH JURY AWARD

The winner received a $500 cash prize.

Everybody Else is Taken (New Zealand), Jessica Grace Smith
Meet Mika, a girl who refuses to let her gender define her place in one of the harshest environments on Earth-the play-ground.

The Palm Springs International Film Festival will be held January 4-15, 2018, and the Palm Springs International Film Festival Awards Gala will be held Jan. 2, 2018. Visit the website, www.psfilmfest.org for more information and tickets, or call (760) 778-8979.

Facing Mecca Tops Films at Palm Springs ShortFest was last modified: June 26th, 2017 by Site Staff