Kate Winslet, Ian McKellen, Valerie Harper Among Stars in Palm Springs ShortFest Films

More than 300 films will screen plus 55 curated programs featuring film industry movers and shakers.

Site Staff Arts & Entertainment

(From left) Harmony Santana, Valerie Harper, and Liz Torres star in My Mom and the Girl, which will screen at the Palm Springs International ShortFest.

The Palm Springs International ShortFest will showcase 338 films including 46 World Premieres, 12 International Premieres, 42 North American Premieres and 16 U.S. Premieres for its 23rd edition, June 20-26.

The selection of films for screening and competition features star-studded casts and award-winning films from 60 countries around the world.  There are 55 curated programs, which will screen June 20-26, at the Camelot Theatres in Palm Springs.  More than 4,200 of the festival submissions will be available in the Film Market for industry attendees to view.  The complete line-up is available at

This year’s star-studded shorts feature Academy Award® winners and nominees, as well as film and television stars including Summer Phoenix in Across My Land (USA/France); Thomas Lennon and Lennon Parham in All Exchanges Final (USA); Tatiana Maslany in Apart From Everything (Canada); The Dark of Night (USA) directed by Robin Wright and starring Leslie Bibb and Sam Rockwell; Sir Ian McKellen in Edmund the Magnificent (UK); Toby Jones in The Entertainer (UK); Julian Sands in The Escape (UK); Idris Elba in Five by Five (UK); Rick Fox in Game (USA); Carrie Coon in Great Choice (USA); Kate Winslet in The Lost Letter (Ireland); Rose Byrne and Bobby Cannavale in Martha Monster (Australia); Valerie Harper in My Mom and the Girl


Valerie Harper, who starred in The Mary Tyler Moore Show and her own sitcom, Rhoda, takes the lead in My Mom and the Girl.

(USA); Helena Bonham Carter in Poles Apart (UK); Show Business (USA) directed by Clark Duke; and Super Sex directed by Matthew Modine and starring Kevin Nealon, Edward Asner, Elizabeth Perkins and Efren Ramirez.

ShortFest jurors include: 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). Over $115,000 in prizes, including $20,000 in cash awards, will be given out in 21 categories to this year’s short films in competition. The Panavision Best North American Short Award winner will receive the use of a camera package valued at $60,000. First place winners in five categories will automatically become eligible for consideration by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for a possible Academy Award nomination.  Over the course of 22 years, the Festival has presented 101 films that have gone on to receive Academy Award nominations. Winners will be announced June 25 at a Closing Night screening and reception.
In addition to ShortFest’s award-winning short films, each year the festival also welcomes a long guest list of filmmakers and industry attendees for the ShortFest Forums of panels and roundtables.  Other prominent industry figures from AMPAS®, Anonymous Content, CAA, Cartoon Network, FX Networks, ICM Partners, NASA, Preferred Content, Seed&Spark, UTA, Vimeo and other organizations will participate in three days of ShortFest Forums covering a wide range of emerging trends and new practices in the global film community.

June 22

11 a.m.      The Real Deal About Virtual Reality

The future is already here. As virtual reality comes into its own as a new frontier for exploring emotion, narrative and character in thrilling new ways, hear from these experts on the latest trends, tech and storytelling applications in VR, and find out how you can get involved in this unique platform for short films. Guests: Ian Forester, VRPlayhouse; James Kaelan, WeVR; Sasha Samochina, NASA. Moderator: Rich DeMuro, KTLA.
12:30 p.m.      Composing for Film (Roundtable)

When you are weary of watching endless cuts of your film, with its ability to change the emotional impact, music can make you fall in love with your film all over again… If you get the right composer. Using multiple examples, composer and Professor Peter Neff will teach you how to collaborate with composers to make your vision come to life on screen.
2 p.m.        Funding, Funding, Funding . . .

How do you build your audience, crowdfund, attract a financier, or find a way to get your film off the ground? The industry’s leading experts are here to discuss the realities of independent producing, fundraising and getting your project made. Our panel of experts will walk you through the basics and give you the tools you need to get started. Guests: Emily Best, Seed&Spark; Natalie Difford, Cinereach; Peter Van Steemburg, ICM Partners; Hailey Wierengo, United Talent Agency.
3:30 p.m.        Episodic and the Small Screen

We live in a new golden age of television. With more content than ever being produced for the small screen, and opportunities for both established auteurs and fresh voices. In these uncertain times for film, how can you break into the episodic medium? Guests: Barbara Crawford, FX Networks; Katie Krentz, Cartoon Network; Kim Sherman, Stage 13; Caleb Ward, SeriesFest. Moderator: Katherine Tulich, HFPA/

June 23

11 a.m.      Short Film Festival Strategy (Roundtable)

So, you have a film and are ready to hit the festival circuit. What festivals do you hit? Do you send a cover letter?  Should you put your film online? Come find out from our festival insiders. Guests: Kimberley Browning, Hollywood Shorts; Eileen Chiao, USC School of Cinematic Arts; Nancy Collet, Collet Cinema; Paul Sloop, Cleveland Film Fest.
12:30 p.m.      How to Pitch Like a Pro (Workshop)

Do you have an idea you’re ready to pitch? Then you need to know how. Our industry panel will show you the ropes, and share stories on the do’s and don’ts of making your pitch. Perfect training for anyone signed up for Saturday’s speed pitching roundtable. Don’t miss this workshop. Guests: Emily Best, Seed&Spark; Nick Ogiony, CAA; Peter Trinh, ICM. Moderator: Liz Marion, Palm Springs ShortFest.
2 p.m.        All About the Docs

After all these years, short-form documentary filmmaking is still a thriving art form and tool for change and justice. The right length and topic in skilled hands can be just as transformative as a feature length or televised counterpart. Learn the ins and outs of short-form documentary filmmaking, and how to get your work seen by those who need to see it. Guests: Hussain Currimbhoy, Sundance Film Festival; Abby Davis, Preferred Content; Raegan Hodge, CARE; Tom Oyer, Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences; AJ Schnack, Bonfire Films of America
Moderator: Jeremy Kay, Screen International.

3:30 p.m.        In Conversation with . . . Kate Bosworth

Moderated by Gregg Kilday from The Hollywood Reporter, join us in conversation with actress/producer Kate Bosworth and get some insight into navigating a hyphenated career path and making the move from the spotlight to behind the camera with her new production company, Make Pictures Productions.

June 24

10 a.m.       Speed Pitching

Have a feature script up your sleeve? If you’re ready to venture out into the world, our collection of industry professionals – agents, studio executives, financiers, producers and filmmakers – are ready to meet with you one-on-one. You pitch. They respond. After 10 minutes it’s musical chairs.
Guests: Emily Best, Speed&Spark; Kimberly Browning, Hollywood Shorts; Abby Davis, Preferred Content; Adam Galen, Preferred Content; Kate Hurwitz, Cinetic Media; Matthew Lessall, Lessall Casting; Nick Ogiony, CAA; Linda Olszewski, Shorts HD; Morgan O’Neil, Southland Productions; Michael Polish, director, The Astronaut Farmer; Luke Rivett, Anonymous Content; Peter Trinh, ICM; Peter Van Steemburg, ICM Partners
12:30 p.m. Meet the Programmers

Navigating the festival circuit can be challenging, but with a cool head and a strategic plan, you can maximize your film’s visibility, make amazing connections and drive your filmmaking career forward. A group of programmers from top U.S. festivals will provide candid insights into the programming process, deciding which festivals are best for your project, and making sure you make the most of your festival experience. Guests: Sarah Harris, Denver Film Festival, Dallas Intl. Film Festival, Seattle Intl. Film Festival; Adam Piron, Sundance Institute; Amanda Salazar, San Francisco Intl. Film Festival; Paul Sloop, Cleveland Film Festival. Moderator: Sudeep Sharma.
2 p.m. Meet the Press

Who is behind film and festival reviews? Learn from industry pros about how to catch the attention of the top writers and get your films reviewed. Guests: Jeremy Kay, Screen International; Malina Saval, Variety; Anne Thompson, Indiewire. Moderator: Lili Rodriguez, festival director.
3:30 p.m. Short Film Postpartum

So you’ve made a short, or maybe a few, and perhaps you’ve been lucky enough to play the festival circuit. What happens next? And where do you go from here?  Learn about the many paths your short can take beyond film festival screenings and how to make the most of your audience and future opportunities from a panel of experienced industry experts here to help keep the dream alive. Guests: Jeff Deutchman, NEON; Ian Durkin, Vimeo; Kate Hurwitz, Cinetic; Linda Olszewski, Shorts HD. Moderator: Malina Saval, Variety.