The Palm Springs International Festival of Short Films and Short Film Market concluded on September 26, with the "Best of Festival Award" - accompanied by a cash prize of $2,000 - going to American filmmaker Benjamin Ross' "Torte Bluma," about the relationship between a German commandant and the Jewish prisoner who cooks his meals in a concentration camp during World War II.
The event is North America's largest short film festival and market. This year, 324 short films were screened, and 22 awards in 13 categories and six audience favorites were handed out, totalling $14,000 in cash prizes. The festival is known for screening shorts that go on to receive Academy Award nominations (46 films over the past 10 years, according to festival representatives).
Josh Staub from the U.S. won the Future Filmmaker Award - with a cash prize of $2,000 - for his short "The Mantis Parable," which also won for Best Animation. The Panavision Grand Jury Award, which included a Panavision Camera Package worth $30,000 - was given to Diego Postigo from Spain for "La China." American Stevo Chang won the Alexis Award for Best Emerging Student Filmmaker for his short "Fields of Mudan."
The Audience Awards went to John Mitchell"'s "Goodnight Bill" for Live Action Short, Kimberlee Acquaro and Stacy Sherman's "God Sleeps in Rwanda" for Documentary Short and Peter Lepeniotis' "Surly Squirrel" for Animation Short.
Among the section award winners, each of whom received $2,000 in cash, were: Joshua Leonard's "The Youth in Us" for Best Live Action Under 15 Minutes, Taika Waititi's "Tama Tu" for Best Live Action Over 15 Minutes (second place went to actress Tiffani Thiessen for "Just Pray") and Dawn Khoo's "Search for Her" for Best Documentary.
[For more information, please visit the festival's website.]