Pair of French Films Sweep Top ShortFest Awards

Audience favorites play on final day of Palm Springs film festival

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Two French films swept the top awards at the 2013 Palm Springs International ShortFest, the largest short film festival and only short film market in North America, at Sunday’s (June 23) awards event.

Delicate Gravity (Délicate Gravité), starring Yvan Attal and Anne Parillaud, captured Best of Festival Award. The film revolves around two lonely spirits who come together by chance when a cell phone call to a wrong number provides the catalyst for a meeting.

Director Philippe Andre received $2,000, camera package courtesy of Radiant Images valued at $10,000, and Final Cut Pro X courtesy of Apple Computer. He may be eligible to submit the film to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for Oscar consideration.

Stranger Brothers, directed by Lucas Delangle, collected the Panavision Grand Jury Award. The story details Guillaume’s return to the village where he grew up to pick up the car he inherited from his father years before. Once there, he encounters his stepbrother, and things get a little more complicated.

Delangle received a Panavision camera package valued at $60,000.

More than 300 short films screened at Camelot Theatres in Palm Springs since June 18. Audience favorites in animation (noon), documentaries (12:30 p.m.), shorts (3:30 p.m.) and LGBT films (6:30 p.m.) will be shown today (June 24) at Camelot to close out the film festival.

A total of $110,000 in prizes, including $16,000 in cash awards, was awarded in 19 categories. The festival enjoyed another record-breaking year in attendance for ticket buyers, filmmakers and film industry delegates.

“This has been a spectacularly successful year for ShortFest on all fronts,” said Darryl Macdonald, ShortFest programming and executive director.

Kathleen McInnis, ShortFest film curator and director of industry programming added, “Our spectacular increase in filmmaker and industry attendance brought an extraordinary breadth of creative talent to ShortFest 2013 – encouraging our belief that visual storytelling not only thrives, but is indeed an increasingly vital part of the human condition worldwide.”

The 2013 Palm Springs International ShortFest award winners are:

Jury Awards

Future Filmmaker AwardRhino Full Throttle (Nashorn Im Galopp) (Germany), director Erick Schmitt.

Bruno roams the streets of Berlin, gazing behind the many facades and surfaces as he seeks the soul of the city. Unexpectedly, he meets an ally in his quest and immediately falls in love. But she is also on a quest, and it’s one that has her leaving Bruno and Berlin very soon.

Schmitt received a $2,000 cash prize and a GoPro Hero 3 Camera courtesy of Radiant Images.

Jury Special Mention: The Wall from Norway for its grit, humanity and creativity.
Audience Awards

Live Action Short

First Place: Walking the Dogs (UK), director Jeremy Brock.
Emma Thompson stars as Queen Elizabeth in this delicious rendering of the infamous 1982 incident in which a man broke into the Queen’s bedroom while her security guard was out in the palace grounds walking the dogs.

Runner-upGreat (Germany), director Andreas Henn.

Documentary Short
First Place: Not Anymore: A Story of Revolution (USA), Matthew VanDyke
Shot on the ground with a hand held camera and told in striking first person, the Syrian struggle for freedom as experienced by a 32-year-old rebel commander, Mowya, and a 24-year-old female journalist, Nour, in Aleppo, Syria is exposed like no TV newscast could do.

Runner-upSLOMO (USA), director Josh Izenberg.

Animation Short

First Place: A Girl Named Elastika (Canada), director Guillaume Blanchet.
A spirited girl made of rubber bands journeys across her corkboard universe in this delightful stop-motion film.

Runner-upChopper (Netherlands), directors Lars Damoiseaux and Frederik Palmaers.

Online Award

Returning for a second year, the Palm Springs International ShortFest (PSIFF) continued the ShortFest Online Film Festival. Ten films were chosen to represent the Festival online. The ShortFest Online Audience Award went to Shelved (New Zealand), directed by James Cunningham. The film will be available to view on the PSIFF website for the next three months.

Jury Category Awards

ShortFest jury members Sydney Netter (Founder, SND Films), Missi Pyle (Actress) and Betsy Sharkey (Film Critic, Los Angeles Times) selected the awards in the non-student and student categories. First-place winners in the non-student categories received $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 $500.
Best Animation Short

First Place ($2,000) – Arts & Crafts Spectacular #2 (Germany), directors Ian Ritterskamp and Sébastien Wolf.
This surreal claymation extravaganza wryly celebrates the close encounter of such disparate pop figures as Popeye and Yoko Ono during a be-in at a museum somewhere in time.

Second Place ($500) – Chopper (Netherlands), directors Lars Damoiseaux and Frederik Palmaers.

Best Live Action Short Over 15 Minutes

First Place ($2,000) – Wild Horses (USA), director Stephanie Martin.
Mireille Enos stars in this story of cruelty, courage, love and memory as two generations of women bear witness to the brutality common to wild horse roundups in the American West.

Second Place ($500) – Spring Tides (Les Grandes Marées) (France), director Mathias Pardo.

Best Live Action Short 15 Minutes and Under

First Place ($2,000) – We Keep On Dancing (Australia), director Jessica Lawton.
Two distinctly disparate characters come together over a broken down Volkswagen Beetle in this sweet, amusing tale of love, loss and… car trouble.

Second Place ($500) – Not Funny (No Tiene Gracia) (Spain), director Carlos Violadé.

Best Documentary Short

First Place ($2,000)Letters from Pyongyang (Canada),  director Jason Lee.
The tragedy of a divided Korea is powerfully evoked in this profound personal journey undertaken by filmmaker Jason Lee, who ventures with his father from South to North, across the Korean peninsula, in search of clues of his family’s unsettled past.

Second Place ($500)December 25 (Australia), director Wendy Dent.

Student Categories
All first place winners in these categories received a stock footage DVD set courtesy of Footage Firm.

Best Student Animation
First PlaceHarald (Germany), director Moritz Schneider.
Harald is a champion wrestler with a monster mother for his coach. Though his true love is growing flowers, coach mom doesn’t wanted him distracted by such trifles, so when she takes away his latest plant, Harald is forced to seize the day.

Second PlaceThe Magnificent Lion Boy (UK), director Ana Caro.

Best Live Action Short Over 15 Minutes

First Place –  Magma (Poland), director Pawel Maslona.
Dedicated furniture salesman Janusz always knows just how to close a sale but after an extremely rare accident at work, he finds his carefully constructed life unraveling.

Second Place – Pauline in a Beautiful World (USA), director William Thompson.

Best Live Action Short 15 Minutes and Under
First PlaceJump (Australia), director Aimee Lee Curran.
In a visually dazzling story about the importance of family when pursuing your dreams, Jump tells the tale of 12-year-old Edwin, a circus clown like his father, who dreams of becoming a trapeze artist.

Second Place Relics (USA), director Jennie Allen.

Best Documentary Short
First PlaceEmpty Nest (Myanmar), director Zaw Naing Oo.
In one small pocket of Yangon, the urban center of Myanmar, Daw Ni Lang lives very modestly with her husband and young son. It’s a hard life, but she’s managed to raise four children who are all well educated… if only they would call home a little more often.

Second Place  – Jonathan (Ecuador), director Abe Zverow.

Best Cinematography
First Place: Daniel Leigh (cinematographer), The Boy Scout (USA).
Trapped in their car for days after an unexpected snowstorm strands them on a remote mountain road during an impromptu trip, Grant and Leah confront a life-or-death choice…  With another storm on the way, should they stay or should they go.

Second Place – Tam Morris (cinematographer), Jump (Australia).

Best U.S. Film School Student Film Award: $2,000 courtesy of KQED, San Francisco.

First PlaceMy Father’s Truck (Xe Tai Cua Bo) (Brazil/Vietnam), Mauricio Osaki.
10-year-old Mai Vy skips school one day to help her father with his passenger truck for hire. Set along the countryside of Northern Vietnam, Mai Vy is soon confronted with varying shades of morality and harsh realities as she learns how things outside the classroom really are.

Additional Prizes
The Alexis Award for Best Emerging Student Filmmaker went to OstrichLand (USA), directed by David McCracken. The recipient received Final Cut Pro X courtesy of Apple Computer; one-year download membership to and stock footage DVD set courtesy of Video Block and Footage Firm.

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.

Bridging the Borders Award, presented by Cinema Without Borders, went to That Wasn't Me (Aquel No Era Yo) (Spain), directed by Esteban Crespo.

The winner received the award’s diploma and an HP Elitebook Mobile Workstation with a built-in HP DreamColor display, an approximately $5000 value. The runner-up received a certificate for an upcoming Method Acting Intensive Workshop provided by The Lee Strasberg Theater and Film Institute with a value of $2000. The runner-up was Tryouts (USA), directed by Susana Casares.

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