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Palm Springs International Festival of Shorts opens 11th

Palm Springs International Festival of Shorts Opened with specail screenings of awarding winning films from around the world to a excited audiance. Now in its 11th year the Festival run from September 20th to the 26th at the Camelot Theatres in Palm Springs, CA. With a roster of 324 films, selected from more than a record-setting 2,400 worldwide entries, up ten percent from last year. The Festival will showcase 86 World Premieres, 27 North American Premieres and 15 U.S. Premieres. With a star studded selection of films for screening and competition features as well as award-winning films from around the world this years Festival truly makes it's mark on the short film festivals.

The opening night was highlighted by award-winning live-action and animated films from Cannes Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival, AFI Fest, BAFTA, Berlin Film Festival, New York International Children’s Film Festival, Seattle International Film Festival and many others followed by an opening night reception at Las Casuelas Terraza restaurant. The films include The Act, The Banker, The Chase, Dying of Love, Jellybaby, Joyride, Milk, The Natural Route, The Raftman’s Razor, The Ten Steps and Through My Thick Glasses.

Festival attendees will be able to see a roster of films featuring familiar faces from film including Academy Award winner Brenda Fricker in Razor Fish and Berlin Golden Bear winner Milk, Academy Award nominee Stephen Rea in Fluent Dysphasia, Jake Gyllenhaal narrating The Man Who Walked Between the Towers, Rosario Dawson narrating God Sleeps in Rwanda, Selma Blair in The Big Empty, Sandra Oh in Kind of a Blur, Christopher Lloyd, Peter Facinelli and Leslie Zemeckis in Enfants Terrible, Oliver Hudson in Mr. Dramatic, Eric Stoltz in Hello, Kevin Pollak in Our Time is Up, Steve Buscemi in a cameo role in Who’s the Top?, Joe Mantegna and Jennie Garth in Til Death, Emily Deschanel in That Night and Mute, Alison Eastwood in Flatbush, Lukas Haas in The Youth in Us, Dylan Baker in Live at Five, Dana Delany and Ann Ramsey in Getting to Know You, Stellan Skarsgard in Torte Bluma and Melissa Leo in No Shoulder. Also in the Festival are shorts directed by Tiffani Thiessen (Just Pray), Stephen Collins (Next of Kin) and Melissa Joan Hart (Mute).

Darryl Macdonald, the Festival’s executive director commented, "The overall quality of the short film submissions this year was remarkable, and definitely kicked the bar up a notch in terms of the selection process. This broad-based emergence of new voices and new visions in the short film field heralds a new generation of filmmaking talent that bodes well for the film industry in years to come. I don’t think it is an exaggeration to say that short films may become the new hot format – just as documentaries have emerged as a hot commodity in recent years."

Kathleen McInnis, is the new ShortFest Programming Director this year with a wealth of experiance from tenures at Slamdance and Seattle International Film Festival. She states "With the 324 films selected for public screening, we barely scratched the surface of the extraordinary talent seen in films that were submitted to us from all over the world. Luckily all the film submissions will be included in the marketplace so the industry can see and experience these remarkable films."

The Festival has 45 themed programs this year with something for everyone. They include subjects including gay and lesbian lifestyles, crime and punishment, families, current events, love, marriage, music, table manners, water, cars, siblings, Iraq, World War II, motherhood, the future and a collection of award-winning shorts from the internationally acclaimed Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival. This year is a "Down Under" presentation with shorts from Australia and New Zealand presnted in a specail hihglighted program.

A jury of five industry professionals will screen this year’s short films selected for competition in nine categories for a total of $14,000 in prizes including Best Animation, Best Documentary, Best Live Action, Best of Festival and the Future Filmmaker Award. The Festival has also announced a new special prize called the Alexis Award, named in honor of Alexis Echavarria. Echavarria was age 16 when he made his film 18 Minutes, which will screen in this year’s Festival. He died suddenly upon returning from volunteer work in Thailand a few weeks ago, just as the Festival had accepted his film. The Alexis Award will recognize emerging student filmmakers who show great potential in honor of Echavarria’s promise that was untimely extinguished. The recipient will receive a Final Cut Pro package, courtesy of Apple Computer. Also new to the Festival this year, is the Panavision Grand Jury Award, which will present a digital or film camera package valued at $30,000. An additional $6,000 in Kodak film stock will be presented to the film winners in the student award categories.

Jury members include John Anderson, film critic, Amy Lillard Dee, IMDb business editor and Fly Filmmaking Challenge producer at the Seattle International Film Festival, Roger Gonin, organizer of Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival, and Teri Schwartz, award-winning Hollywood producer and Loyola Marymount University School of Film/TV Dean. First place winners will automatically become eligible for consideration by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for a possible Academy Award nomination. Last year’s ShortFest featured the premiere of Andrea Arnold’s Wasp, which received the 2004 Best of the Festival Award and an Academy Award in the Best Live Action Short Film category. The Best Animated Short Film Academy Award winner, Ryan, also screened at the Festival and received first place in the Best Animation category. In total, the Festival presented six of last year’s short film Academy Award nominees. Over the past ten years, the Festival has presented 46 films that have gone on to receive Academy Award nominations.

Designated by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as an award-qualifying Festival and accredited by the International Short Film Conference, the Palm Springs International Festival of Short Films and Short Film Market is the largest and most prominent short film showcase in North America. The Festival and its concurrent 2,400-film Film Market has captured Hollywood’s attention as a scouting ground for new filmmaking talent and is well attended by those in the business of buying and selling short films.

Several seminars and panels comprised of industry representatives will be assembled to discuss trends and provide advice on short filmmaking. "The Successful Short Filmmaker’s Game Plan" is a seminar that will discuss the steps to guarantee success in filmmaking. "Is Your Short Television-Friendly?" is a workshop where sales agents and television acquisition executives will explain what filmmakers need to do to make their shorts ready for television. "Selling Yourself to Hollywood" will shed light on what writers, directors and producers need to know about getting a foot in the door. "Next Step: Feature Film" is a panel discussion on the variety of options available to make a feature length film. "New Opportunities for Short Filmmakers" is a panel detailing new possibilities in funding, exhibition and distribution. "Saving Money on Your Film: Pre Through Post Production Workflow Guidelines," presented by Kodak, will explore some of the key issues filmmakers face in the production process. "Festival Circuit Secrets Revealed" will offer tips from those most experienced in the festival world. "What Every Short Filmmaker Should Know" is a panel to answer filmmakers’ questions.

The Palm Springs International Festival of Short Films is supported by a growing number of local and national sponsors. Renewing their support of this year’s Festival is the Title Sponsor, The City of Palm Springs and Presenting Sponsors including Spencer’s Restaurant, The Desert Sun and the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians. This year’s major sponsors are Kodak, Las Casuelas Terraza restaurant, the Palm Springs Mall, CBS2 Television, The Bottom Line, Crazy Bones Retaurant, GES Exposition Services, Santa Monica Video, Q Television, Panavision and the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional sponsors include Time Warner Cable, Filmmaker Magazine, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Morris Desert Media, Metromint Water, KESQ-TV, KMIR 6 & Manny the Movie Guy, Travelhost Magazine, Apple and Toucan’s Tiki Lounge.

To purchase tickets and passes visit online at or by calling (760) 322-2930. the Palm Springs International Festival of Shorts continues to September 26th, 2005 and is one of the largest Short Film Festivals in North America

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