It’s time to get your shorts on for the 2008 Palm Springs International ShortFest, held from August 21-27, 2008 at the Camelot Theatres in Palm Springs, CA.

Now in its 14th year, the Festival has announced its roster of 317 films, selected from a record of more than 2,700 worldwide entries. ShortFest will showcase 53 World Premieres, 47 North American Premieres and 24 U.S. Premieres. The selection of films for screening and competition features star-studded casts as well as award-winning films from 40 countries around the world. All selections are structured into 51 themed programs covering a wide array of issues for specific and general audiences to enjoy. The complete list of this year’s film programs will be available on on August 11.

Festival Director Darryl Macdonald commented, “This year’s ShortFest line-up reflects a return to more personal themes in the world of short film storytelling, and a move away from the ‘big issue’ themes of recent years, like the Iraq War, immigration and 9/11. That and the increasingly sophisticated use of technical innovations in the short filmmaking process are the two big stories that emerge from the short film world this year.”

“The quality of work from these films has been remarkable to watch, especially from countries where film production is on the rise,” said ShortFest Film Curator Kathleen McInnis. “For example, we have strong and vital narrative stories from more African countries than we’ve ever seen before. Filmgoers will be inspired by the wealth and breadth of storytelling from the global diversity in our film line-up.”

The selected short films are organized into 51 themed programs covering a variety of genres — including thrillers, horror, animation, documentaries, and comedies — and themes, including boy meets girl, siblings, security issues, crime, sins, romance, lust, friendship, parenthood, culture clashes, performance, travel, the Jewish experience, gay and lesbian lifestyles, and the event will feature a special focus on films from France. ShortFest viewers will also be able to experience shorts from Kenya, Colombia, Romania, Chile, Burkina Faso, the Philippines, Malaysia and other exotic locales. This year’s opening night screening on Thursday, August 21 at 6:30 p.m. will be highlighted by award-winning live-action and animated films including Life’s Hard (Romania), Manon on the Asphalt (France), Procrastination (U.K.), Sikumi (On the Ice) (USA), Tadeo Jones and the Basement of Doom (Spain) and The Wednesdays (Ireland).

Festival attendees will be able to see a roster of films featuring familiar faces in front of and behind the camera, including Kate Hudson directing Cutlass (USA) starring Dakota Fanning, Virginia Madsen, Kurt Russell and Chevy Chase; Kirsten Dunst directing Welcome (USA) starring Winona Ryder; and Matthew Modine directing and starring in I Think I Thought (USA). Other star-studded shorts include past Palm Springs International Film Festival Rising Star recipient Jessica Biel who stars in and produced Hole in the Paper Sky (USA); Dana Delany in Flying Lessons (USA) directed by Janet Grillo; David Arquette in Nosebleed (USA) directed by Jeff Vespa; Jordan Belfi and Rainn Wilson in Missing Pieces (USA); Tony Shalhoub in LA Actors (USA); Whoopi Goldberg narrating The Descendant (Germany); Sir Ian McKellan voicing a character in the animated For the Love of God; and Robert Redford narrating The New Environmentalists (USA).

A jury of five industry professionals will screen this year’s short films selected for competition in eighteen categories including Best Animation, Best Documentary, Best Live Action, Best of Festival and the Future Filmmaker Award. A total of $86,000 in money and production prizes, including $14,000 in cash awards will be given out. The Panavision Grand Jury Award winner will receive a digital or film camera package valued at $60,000 and two days studio time courtesy of Casablanca Studios. An additional $7,500 in Kodak film stock will be presented to the film winners in the student award categories. Other prizes will include copies of filmmaking software from Showbiz Software Store and Entertainment Partners, Apple Final Cut Studio 2, and the Ultimate Stock Footage Collection.

Confirmed jury members to date include actor Bill Pullman; Eileen Arandiga, Festival Director of the Worldwide Short Film Festival in Toronto; Dana Harris, editor; Sydney Levine of Film Finders; and Dragan Milinkovic, Serbian film academic and producer. First place winners 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 its first 13 years, the Festival has presented 58 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 ShortFest and its Short Film Market, are the largest and most prominent short film showcase in North America. The Festival and its concurrent 2,700-film Film Market continues to serve as a scouting ground for new filmmaking talent and is well attended by those in the business of buying and selling short films. Companies attending this year’s Market include Mini Movie Channel, Kodak, Nickelodeon, Panavision, Famous Frames Mobile Interactive, Metacafe, Big Film Shorts, Hollywood Shorts, Echo Lake Entertainment, Moviela, Current TV, Atom Films, Shorts International, Senator Films and more.

Several seminars and panels comprised of industry representatives will be assembled to discuss trends and provide advice on short filmmaking. The Festival will feature three separate master classes, one with actor Bill Pullman and another with Academy Award nominated cinematographer William Fraker presenting and discussing their work with filmmakers. The third master class will be taught by film critics David Ansen (Newsweek) and Claudia Puig (USA Today) on film criticism. Tribeca Film Festival Short Film Programmer Sharon Badal will attend to discuss her new book Swimming Upstream along with several of her collaborators.

Workshops planned include Kodak Presents “Stop By. Shoot Film.,” a hands on experience in using Super 16 mm film; Taking Your Short to Market; and Investigating New Media Opportunities. The Nickelodeon Writer’s Lab is an invitation only event that will prepare applicants for submission to the Nickelodeon Writing Fellowship. For those who prefer a more personal environment, the Festival will continue its popular “One-on-One Program,” an opportunity for participants to meet individually with publicists, agents, distributors, producers, exhibitors and festival programmers to answer any questions filmmakers may have.

For more information, contact The Hacienda
From Within US:
1-800-359-2007 or 1-760-327-8111
From Outside US:
01-800-359-2007 or 01-760-327-8111 .