The 2006 Palm Springs International Festival of Short Films & Short Film Market, also known as ShortFest, concluded its 12th annual event Tuesday night with its winners ceremony at the Camelot Theatre in the California desert resort community. Award winners receiving a first place prize are automatically eligible to submit their films to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for Oscar consideration. Norwegian director Hisham Zaman's "Bawke" won the festival's best of the festival award in the jury prizes, which includes $2,000 and a package of software.
A winner of the best narrative short at the Toronto Worldwide Short Film Festival, "Bawke" is the story of a father and son who are illegal immigrants to Scandinavia who traverse the maze of challenges with the hope that the son can have a better life than his father. Alex Weil's "One Rat Short" (USA) took the Future Filmmaker Award in the jury category, which also includes $2,000 and a software package. The CG animated film traces the lives of laboratory rats who are up against the forces of giant scientific testing labs. Canadian short "Aruba" by Hubert Davis took the Panavision Grand Jury Award. The film is the story of a young boy who finds an inventive way to solve two major problems in his life with the help of an exotic postcard and his own native intelligence. The prize includes a Panavision camera package valued at $60,000 and two days studio time at Casablanca Studios in Palm Springs.
In other prizes American director Vince Marcello and Israeli Leonid Prudovsky tied for the audience favorite live action short for "Zombie Prom" and "Dark Night" respectively, while the nod for documentary went to Desiree Handall's "Chicken" (US). Canadians Cameron Hood and Kyle Jefferson's "First Flight" won the audience prize for animated short.
The prize for best live action under 15 minutes, meanwhile, went to comedy "Happiness" by Sophie Barthes ($2,000) and best live action over 15 minutes went to Swedish director Jens Assur's "The Last Dog in Rwanda" ($2,000). British director Run Wrake's "Rabbit" won best animation ($2,000), and Sam Green's "Lot 63, Grave C" won best doc. Australian cinematographer Adam Arkapaw won the Kodak Award for best student cinematography for "The City Eats its Weak" ($1,000), while best student doc went to "Going Home" by Hung P. Nguyen (US) and Juliet Porter's "Breathe" and Andrea Janakas' "Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves" took best student live action prizes in the "under 15 minutes" and "over "15 minutes" categories respectively.
ShortsFest, one of North America's largest short film festival and markets in North America, screened 333 short films, featuring 74 world, 56 North American and 16 U.S. premieres. The event took place August 24 - 30 and had a reported 8% attendance increase reaching 16,200 during the seven-day fest.