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Whisker a winner at Palm Springs Shortfest

One of three Kiwis selected for Palm Springs this year, Steven Saussey has won the Future Filmmaker award with the world premiere screening of his short Whisker.

Celebrating its 20th anniversary, Palm Springs ShortFest presented 330 films from 54 countries around the world in 52 thematically curated programmes. Steven Saussey’s Whisker was supported last year as a NZFC Premiere Short via EP pod Short and Sharp (Michelle Turner and Nick Ward).


Lake and The Tide Keeper also had their world premieres at Palm Springs.

Asuka Sylvie’s language-free Lake shot down south and produced by Melissa Dodds ( The Devil’s Rock, Existence). Dodds also produced Louise Leitch’s Blankets, which had its world premiere at Palm Springs last year.

Alyx Duncan’s The Tide Keeper was partially shot by cinematographer Chris Pryor, half of the team that made the successful NZIFF-premiered doco How Far is Heaven. Duncan’s NZIFF-premiered feature The Red House will see a DVD release on 6 August. In the lead-up to palm Springs she did an interview with Palm Springs’ Desert Sun

Competition for selection was stiff this year, organisers noting films whose cast members included Jim Broadbent, Danny Devito, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Carmen Electra, Rutger Hauer, Sally Hawkins and one Sophia Loren.

This year Palm Springs also runs its fourth ShortFest Online Film Festival. The 12 titles available for online screening play until end August. The festival is the largest short film showcase in the US, and runs its own Film Market.

At the awards, Palm Springs Shortfest handed out over US$115,000 in prizes, half of which is a camera package sponsored by Panavision for which consideration is restricted to North American films. Of greater international interest was that the festival offers four titles Oscar qualification.

The Palm Springs Shortfest winners were:

Jury Awards
Best Of Festival Award

Carry On (China), Yatao Li

Greater Palm Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau Grand Jury Award
Joanna (Poland), Aneta Kopacz

Future Filmmaker Award
(Winner Received A $2,000 Cash Prize)
Whisker (New Zealand), Steven Saussey

Panavision Best North American Short
90 Days (Canada/Hong Kong), Timothy Yeung

Audience Awards
Best Live Action Short

Dragula (USA), Frank Meli
Runner-Up – Young Americans (USA), Kevin Lacy

Best Documentary Short
Showfolk (USA), Ned Mcneilage
Runner-Up – The War Photographers (USA), Steven Kochones

Best Animation Short
Bendik & The Monster (Norway), Frank Mosvold
Runner-Up – The Gulf (Canada), Carl Beauchemin, Thomas Chrétien, David Forest

Shortfest Online Audience Award
Juliet (Australia), Martin Høgberget

Jury Category Awards
Animation Short

First Place – Los Rosales (Italy), Daniel Ferreira
Second Place – Dwarf Giant (Nain Geant) (France/Switzerland), Fabienne Giezendanner

Live Action Short Over 15 Minutes
First Place – That Music (Esa Música) (Colombia), Darío Vejarano
Second Place – The Nostalgist (UK), Giacomo Cimini

Live Action Short 15 Minutes And Under
First Place – The Chicken (Germany/Croatia), Una Gunjak
Second Place – Oranges (Naranjas) (Colombia), Iván D. Gaona
Honorable Mention – Through The Breaking Glass (A Través Del Espejo) (Spain), Iván Mena

Documentary Short
First Place: Joanna (Poland), Aneta Kopacz
Second Place – The Dogwalker (Hundvakten) (Sweden), Caroline Ingvarsson
Honorable Mention – A Paradise (Un Paraiso) (Cuba/UK), Jayisha Patel

Student Categories
Best Student Animation

First Place – Mend And Make Do (UK), Bexie Bush
Second Place – The Little Cousteau (Maly Cousteau) (Czech Republic), Jakob Kouril

Best Student Live Action Short Over 15 Minutes
First Place – The Aftermath Of The Inauguration Of The Public Toilet At Kilometer 375 (Egypt), Omar El Zohairy
Second Place – Serori (Japan/Netherlands), Pedro Collantes

Best Student Live Action Short 15 Minutes And Under
First Place – Siham (Lebanon/USA), Cyril Aris
Second Place – Here (UK), Colum Eastwood

Best Student Documentary Short
First Place – Tyres (Myanmar), Kyaw Myo Lwin
Second Place – The Immaculates (Gil Immacolati) (France), Ronny Trocker

Best Student Cinematography
First Place – Aung Ko Ko (cinematographer), Tyres (Myanmar)
Second Place – Jeff Wong (cinematographer), 90 Days (Canada/Hong Kong)

Best US Film School Student Film Award
Pigs (Singapore/USA), Laura Mohai

Additional Prizes
Alexis Award For Best Emerging Student Filmmaker

First Place – Sun Can Blind (O Sol Pode Cegar) (Brazil), Toti Loureiro
Runner-Up – He Took His Skin Off For Me (UK), Ben Aston.

HP Bridging The Borders Award Presented By Cinema Without Borders
First Place – Foad (Norway), Farzad Samsami
Runner-Up – Kush (India), Shubhashish Bhutiani

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