Chinese Film Collects Palm Springs Best of ShortFest Award

Poland's 'Joanna' captures Jury Award

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Carry On, a Chinese film focusing on a father’s efforts to save his family during the brutal withdrawal of Japanese forced at the end of World War II, captured the Best of Festival Award as the 2014 Palm Spring International ShortFest drew to a close June 22.

The director, Yatao Li, received a $2,000 cash prize, and a camera package valued at $10,000 courtesy of Radiant Images, and Final Cut Pro X courtesy of Apple Computer. More importantly, the film may be eligible for submission to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for Oscar consideration.

More than $115,000 in prizes, including $21,000 in cash awards, was awarded in 21 categories at the 20th annual ShortFest. Festival officials say they 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. “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. Filmmakers brought themselves here from 37 countries, the most we have ever had, which speaks directly to the success of our targeted outreach to world cinema.”

Also named ShortFest award winners were:

Greater Palm Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau Grand Jury AwardJoanna (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. Winner received $5,000 cash prize courtesy of the Greater Palm Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Future Filmmaker Award – Winner received a $2,000 cash prize. 
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 Short90 Days (9O天) (Canada/Hong Kong), Timothy Yeung
Armed with 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. Camera package valued at $60,000 courtesy of Panavision.

Audience Awards
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-upYoung 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-upThe War Photographers (USA), Steven Kochones

Best Animation Short
Bendik & the Monster (Norway), Frank Mosvold
A monster dreams of a 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 Høgberget
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.

Jury Category Awards
ShortFest jury members Nigel Daly (Screen International), Steven Gaydos (Variety) and Katie Holly (Blinder Films) selected the non-student and student categories. All first place winners in the non-student categories received a cash award of $2,000. First place winners in the non-student Animation and Live Action categories may be eligible for Academy Awards consideration. Second place recipients received a $500 cash prize. 

Best Animation Short
First Place ($2,000)Los Rosales (Italy), Daniel Ferreira
A humble and solitary robot is stuck in a repetitive life, turning wheels and cogs all day to produce his only means of survival—until he finds a way to feed his heart instead.

Second Place ($500)Dwarf Giant (Nain Geant) (France/Switzerland), Fabienne Giezendanner

Best Live Action short over 15 minutes
First Place ($2,000)That Music (Esa Música) (Colombia), Darío Vejarano
Omar, a construction worker, receives a recorded message on his cell phone from an unknown caller. Even though nobody speaks in the message, he vaguely recognizes a melody amidst the noise of the recording. From that moment on, he starts a search to find out the name of the song in an attempt to remember the life he once led.

Second Place ($500)The Nostalgist (UK), Giacomo Cimini

Best Live Action short 15 Minutes and Under
First Place ($2,000)The Chicken (Germany/Croatia), Una Gunjak
On her sixth birthday, Selma receives a chicken from her dad, a soldier away at the front, but her joy is quickly squashed when she realizes her mother has other plans for the new pet.

Second Place ($500)Oranges (Naranjas) (Colombia), Iván D. Gaona

Honorable MentionThrough the Breaking Glass (A través del espejo) (Spain), Iván Mena

Best Documentary short:
First Place ($2,000) 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.

Second Place ($500) The Dogwalker (Hundvakten) (Sweden), Caroline Ingvarsson

Honorable Mention A Paradise (Un Paraiso) (Cuba/UK), Jayisha Patel

Student Categories
All first place winners in these categories received a 1-year download membership to Videoblocks, AudioBlocks or GraphicStock.

Best Student Animation
First PlaceMend and Make Do (UK), Bexie Bush
A woman’s memories of her youth, love and family life come alive through everyday household objects.

Second Place – The Little Cousteau (Maly Cousteau) (Czech Republic), Jakob Kouril

Best Student Live Action Short Over 15 Minutes
First Place The Aftermath of the Inauguration of the Public Toilet at Kilometer 375 (Egypt), Omar El Zohairy
A mistimed sneeze at a government ceremony dedicating a new public toilet unleashes a nightmare for one civil servant in this beautifully shot dark comedy.

Second PlaceSerori (Japan/Netherlands), Pedro Collantes

Best Student Live Action short 15 Minutes and Under
First PlaceSiham (Lebanon/USA), Cyril Aris
A young couple struggles with impending news as they spend time at the husband’s childhood home.

Second PlaceHere (UK), Colum Eastwood

Best Student Documentary Short
First PlaceTyres (Myanmar), Kyaw Myo Lwin
Amazingly gorgeous look at an unusual place and people who serendipitously create beautiful art along the way as they recycle old tires into functional fashionware.

Second PlaceThe Immaculates (Gil immacolati) (France), Ronny Trocker

Best Student Cinematography
First PlaceAung Ko Ko (cinematographer), Tyres (Myanmar)
Amazingly gorgeous look at an unusual place and people who serendipitously create beautiful art along the way as they recycle old tires into functional fashionware.

Second Place – Jeff Wong (cinematographer), 90 Days (9O天) (Canada/Hong Kong)

Best U.S. Film School Student Film Award – $2,000 cash prize courtesy of KQED, San Francisco.
Pigs (Singapore/USA), Laura Mohai
A boy with Down’s syndrome tries to help his grieving mother.

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, a young filmmaker, 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 Computer.

First PlaceSun Can Blind (O Sol Pode Cegar) (Brazil), Toti Loureiro
Terrible consequences follow when Paulo shares with his friends that he lost his virginity to the housekeeper who lives in his home.

Runner-upHe Took His Skin Off For Me (UK), Ben Aston.

HP Bridging the Borders Award Presented by Cinema Without Borders – The winner received the award’s diploma and an HP ZBook Mobile Workstation with a color critical HP DreamColor display and Thunderbolt™2, an approximately $3,000 value.  The runner received a certificate for an upcoming Method Acting Intensive Workshop provided by The Lee Strasberg Theater and Film Institute with a value of $2,000.

First Place Foad (Norway), Farzad Samsami
A street smart Moroccan boy devises a business opportunity with the desperate refugees at his seaside town in this film about dreaming of a better life.

Runner-up – Kush (India), Shubhashish Bhutiani.

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