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The 6-day Palm Springs ShortFest held at Camelot Theaters (Palm Springs Cultural Center), from June 20 to June 26, officially came to an end yesterday. The festival screened “50 curated programs showcase 299 films including 53 World Premieres, 10 International Premieres, 33 North American Premieres and 18 U.S. Premieres.”

2023 Palm Springs International ShortFest

Juried award winners has been announced on Sunday, June 25 from the official selection presenting them with awards and cash prizes worth $25,000. And the categories including:

Oscar®Qualifying Awards: Best of the Festival Award, Best Animated Short, Best Documentary Short, Best Live-Action Short Over 15 Minutes and Best Live-Action Short 15 Minutes and Under.

Student Short Awards: Best Student Animated Short, Best Student Documentary Short, Best Student International Short, Best Student U.S. Short.

Special Jury Awards: Best International Short, Best U.S. Short, Best Comedy Short, Best LGBTQ+ Short, Best Midnight Short, Local Jury Award, Young Cineastes Award, Kids’ Choice Award, MOZAIK Bridging the Borders Award.

------Best of the Festival Award------

Jury: Angel An (VP of Acquisitions, Roadside Attractions); Kiva Reardon (Vice President of Film, PASTEL); Clay Pruitt (Head of Programming, Impact Distribution, Impact Distribution, Seed&Spark).

The old young crow

Winner: The Old Young Crow

Director: Liam LoPinto

Country: Japan/USA

Prize: $5,000 cash

Plot: An Iranian boy befriends an old Japanese woman at a graveyard in Tokyo.

48 Hours

Special Mention: 48 Hours

Director: Azadeh Moussavi

Country: Iran

Plot: After three years in prison, Nader is given a furlough to go home. He has 48 hours to become a father to his four years old daughter.

Special Mention: Away

Director: Ruslan Fedotow

Country: Hungary/Belgium/Portugal

Plot: Andrey and Alisa are a couple of 16 y.o. refugee artists from Ukraine that were forced to leave the country because of the war and found a temporary home in Budapest, Hungary. While Russians keep bombing Kharkyv, their hometown, Andrey and Alisa teach in the school for refugee kids and express their protest through performance on the streets of Budapest. This naive performance unveils painful points in Hungarian citizens. Hungary still cannot decide which side of the military conflict to choose.

------Best Festival Award------

Jury: Geoff Marslett (Animator/Director/Writer/Producer); Irene Soriano (Writer/Film Curator); Gabe Van Amburgh (Film Programmer and Senior Manager, SXSW).

Way Better

Winner: Way Better

Director: Skirmanta Jakaitė

Country: Lithuania

Prize: $1,000 cash

Plot: A man is waiting for a test results. He expects the worst but at the same time hopes for the best. Distressed and afraid he spends a week in a limbo of his own creation, neither here nor there, dreading the things that haven’t happened yet.


Special Mention: Ashkaska

Director: Lara Maltz

Country: Spain/Argentina

Special Mention: Eeva

Director: Lucija Mrzljak and Morten Tšinakov

Country: Croatia/Estonia

Plot: It's a sad day in Eva's life. The rain is pouring down at her husband's funeral. A woodpecker delivered a message code on the coffin is killed. There is a lot of crying, too much wine, and a couple of dreams that fill in the gaps.

------Best Documentary Short------

Jury: Eugene Yi (Director/Editor/Writer, Free Chol Soo Lee); Maria Santos (Funds Program Officer, International Documentary Association); Opal H. Bennett (Producer, American Documentary | POV Shorts)

Winner: Will You Look At Me

Director: Shuli Huang

Country: China

Prize: $1,000 cash

Plot: As a young Chinese filmmaker returns to his hometown in search of himself, a long-due conversation with his mother dives the two of them into a quest for acceptance and love.


Special Mention: Birdsong

Director: Omi Zola Gupta and Sparsh Ahuja

Country: UK/Laos

Plot: Birdsong is an intimate portrait of the dying whistled language of the Hmong people in northern Laos.

------ Student Short Awards------

Jury: Christine Davila (Head of Development and Production, Ojalá); Florentina Almonte (Content Acquisitions Executive at Shorts TV International); Lauren Lopez de Victoria (Film Producer).

The Rainbow Dung Beetle

Award: Best Student Animated Short

Winner: The Rainbow Dung Beetle

Director: Ellen Moway and Cole Dupzyk

Country: USA

Prize: $1,000 cash

Plot: Accustomed to camouflaging himself with mud to hide from predators, Desmond the dung beetle learns from his new neighbors that his true colors can be used to his advantage.

A Dead Marriage

Award: Best Student International Short

Winner: A Dead Marriage

Director: Michel Toczek

Country: Poland

Prize: $1,000 cash

Special Mention: Between Her

Director: Bar Cohen

Country: Israel

Plot: Aya is a trans girl who is frustrated by her love life and experiences with men. An accidental encounter with a man from her distant past causes her to reconnect with her identity.

Virtual best of fest 2023

In addition, a virtual Best of the Festival will run from July 7-13, featuring a collection of ShortFest's juried award winners available to stream at a packaged price online. You may click here to know more details about Virtual Best of Fest. To view the full list of the winners, please click here.

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