The 2020 Palm Springs International ShortFest announced its festival juried award winners from the 332 shorts films that were part of the Official Selection. A number of those films were made available online to screen from June 16-22. Awards and cash prizes worth $25,000 including five Academy Award qualifying award will be presented to the winners.
Oscar Qualifying Awards:
The winner of these awards may be eligible to submit their short to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for Oscar consideration.
Greater Palm Springs CVB Best of the Festival Award – Winner received $5,000 cash prize courtesy of the Greater Palm Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Jury: Megan Halpern (Black List), Marie-Louise Khonndji (Le Cinéma Club), Jacqueline Lyanga (Global Cinematheque)
Matriochkas (Belgium/France), Directed by Bérangère Mc Neese
Anna is 16, and lives with her young mother, Rebecca. It is the end of another summer defined by her mom’s flings and conquests, but during which Anna begins to discover her own sexuality. As Anna learns she is pregnant, her mother sees herself in her daughter, at the same age, facing the same choices.
Jury statement: “Writer/Director Bérangère Mc Neese brings a complex and bold point of view to the page and screen, drawing unexpected turns from the script and nuanced performances from her cast, including a remarkable debut from lead actress Héloïse Volle.”
Special Mention (for Creative Vision):
Stay Awake, Be Ready (Vietnam/South Korea/USA), Directed by Pham Thien An
A motorbike crash happening before the street stalls on a street corner was embedded in the mysterious story of three young men.
Special Mention (for Direction):
Mizaru (India/USA), Directed by Sudarshan Suresh
In a suburb of Mumbai, India, a young couple tries to steal some private time in a very public place when they’re paid a visit by the moral police.
Best Animated Short – Winner received a $1,000 cash prize.
Jury: Lizzy Hogenson (Director), K.J. Relth (UCLA Film & Television Archive), Siqi Song (Director/Animator)
The Fabric of You (UK), Directed by Josephine Lohoar Self
In the Bronx in the era of 1950s McCarthyism, everybody wants to look the same. Michael, a gay twenty-something-year-old mouse, hides his true identity while he works as a tailor. When Isaac enters the shop one day, he offers the escapism and love Michael craves.
Jury statement: “Weaving together strong thematic elements with keen attention to simple detail and a tangible, textural aesthetic, stop-motion animator Josephine Lohoar Self masterfully breathes life into this fully-realized story of love and loss that is both visually impactful and emotionally resonant.”
SH_T Happens (Czech Republic/Slovakia/France), Directed by Mihalyi and David Stumpf
The caretaker exhausted by everything, his frustrated wife and one totally depressed deer. Their mutual despair leads them to absurd events, because… shit happens all the time.
Best Documentary Short – Winner received a $1,000 cash prize.
Jury: Rowena Santos Aquino (CSU Professor), Harry Vaughn (Sundance Film Festival), Sandra Winther (Director)
The Heart Still Hums (USA), Directed by Savanah Leaf and Taylor Russell
A documentary short following five women as they fight for their children through the cycle of homelessness, drug addictions and neglect from their own parents. Unique, yet undoubtedly familiar to many; a story about fear, sacrifice and the unconditional love between a mother and her children.
Jury statement: “The Best Documentary Short award goes to The Heart Still Hums for its expansive yet still intimate examination of mothers in crisis and the Sacramento collectives who work with them to enable agency and hope.”
Dead Woman’s Pass (Peru/Qatar), Directed by Lali Houghton
An indigenous woman embarks on a journey to her ancestral home in the Andes that will force her to confront the horrors from her past.
Huntsville Station (USA), Directed by Jamie Meltzer and Chris Filippone
Every weekday, inmates are released from Huntsville State Penitentiary, taking in their first moments of freedom with phone calls, cigarettes, and quiet reflection at the Greyhound station up the block.
Best Live-Action Short Over 15 Minutes – Winner received a $1,000 cash prize.
Jury: Megan Costello (Hamptons International Film Festival), Violet Lucca (Harper’s Magazine), Berthold Wahjudi (Director)
Birth Right (Israel), Directed by Inbar Horesh
Natasha is participating in The Way Home Journey, organized to encourage immigration of descendants of Jews to Israel. On the second day, the group arrives to a Bedouin camp in the Israeli desert, where two soldiers join them for the night.
Jury statement: “Inbar Horesh’s exquisitely composed film balances satire and subtlety to explore pressing questions of identity and nationhood.”
Henet Ward (Egypt), Directed by Morad Mostafa
Halima, a Sudanese henna painter, and her seven-year-old daughter Ward get caught up in the craziness at a Giza home as they prepare a bride for her wedding.