‘Gold Mine’ Tops Palm Springs ShortFest

Largest North American short-film fest qualifies winners for Oscar consideration

The Mexican film “The Gold Mine” (“La Mina de Oro”) won three awards, including the Best of Festival honor, at the 2010 Palm Springs International ShortFest, North America’s largest short film festival.

The victory makes that film, by director Jacques Bonnavent, eligible for Acadmy Awards consideration in the Live-Action Short Film category. 

Other first-place winners that become Oscar eligible by virtue of the Palm Springs wins include the German/UK production “Hermann,” which was named Best Live Action Short Over 15 Minutes, and the Norwegian film “Angry Man” (Sinna Mann”) (below), which was honored as Best Animated Short.

Angry ManIn the past, 68 PSISF winners went on to receive Oscar nominations.

“Wish 143,” “Ormie” and “Born Sweet” won Audience Awards in the live-action, animation and documentary categories, respectively.

The awards were handed out at a ceremony at the Camelot Theater in Palm Springs, along with $14,000 in cash prizes and $76,000 in film stock, software prizes and camera equipment.

The full list of awards, from the festival press release:

JURY AWARDS

BEST OF FESTIVAL AWARD – $2,000 cash, Software Package courtesy of The Showbiz Software Store. The winner of this award becomes eligible for Academy Awards consideration.
The Gold Mine“The Gold Mine” (“La Mina de Oro”) ( Mexico ) (right), Jacques Bonnavent Betina, a lonely spinster, meets what appears to be the man of her dreams online, and in the course of time he proposes to her. After quitting her job and selling her apartment, she makes the arduous trip to be with him, but what awaits her is a wholly unexpected fate.

FUTURE FILMMAKER AWARD – $2,000 cash, Software Package courtesy of The Showbiz Software Store, Ultimate Stock Footage Collection courtesy of Footagefilm.com, Final Cut Studio provided by Apple.
Pierre Ferrière, “The Story of My Life” (“Toute ma Vie”) ( France ) After calling her husband to tell him the good news (they’re having twins!) a woman heads for home on foot, when a stranger accosts her on the street claiming to know everything about her.

PANAVISION GRAND JURY AWARD – Panavision Camera Package valued at $60,000.
“Off Season” (Canada/USA), Jonathan van Tulleken Stealing from summer cottages during the brutal off-season winter months, a transient and his faithful dog make a tragic discovery.

JURY SPECIAL CITATION – The jury presented a special mention to “Flawed” ( Canada ) directed by Andrea Dorfman “for the originality of its artistic expression, its genre-defying aesthetic and its emotional resonance.” Artist/filmmaker Andrea Dorfman’s drawings burst colorfully into life as she animates the story of her long distance relationship with a man whose profession (plastic surgeon) gives her (and us) plenty of fodder.

AUDIENCE AWARDS

AUDIENCE FAVORITE LIVE ACTION SHORT
“Wish 143” ( UK ), Ian Barnes A young man, desperate to come of age before time runs out, has nothing to lose but his virginity.

Runner-up“The Butterfly Circus” ( USA ), Joshua Weigel

AUDIENCE FAVORITE DOCUMENTARY SHORT
“Born Sweet” ( Cambodia ), Cynthia Wade Gorgeously photographed in Cambodia , “Born Sweet” tells the courageous and inspirational story of Vinh, a 15-year-old boy stricken with arsenic poisoning. Directed by Cynthia Wade, whose “Freeheld” won the 2007 ShortFest Audience Award and Jury Awards and an Academy Award in 2008.

Runner-up“Flawed” ( Canada ), Andrea Dorfman

AUDIENCE FAVORITE ANIMATION SHORT
“Ormie” ( Canada ), Rob Silvestri Ormie the Pig has a simple, obsessive goal, to get the cookies just out of reach on top of the refrigerator.

Runner-up“The Gruffalo” ( UK ), Jakob Shuh and Max Lang

JURY CATEGORY AWARDS
All first place winners in these categories received a cash award of $2,000 and Software Package courtesy of The Showbiz Software Store. First place winners in the Animated and Live Action categories become eligible for Academy Awards consideration. Second Place recipients received a $500 cash prize.

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT 15 MINUTES AND UNDER
First Place ($2,000) – “The Gold Mine” (“La Mina de Oro”) ( Mexico ), Jacques Bonnavent Betina, a lonely spinster, meets what appears to be the man of her dreams online, and in the course of time he proposes to her. After quitting her job and selling her apartment, she makes the arduous trip to be with him, but what awaits her is a wholly unexpected fate.

Second Place ($500) – “Pretty Little Doggie” ( USA ), E. Ivan Infante

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT OVER 15 MINUTES:
First Place ($2,000) – “Hermann” (Germany/UK), Hana Geissendorfer Hermann is 67 years old and lonely. He does have his Budgie, Gloria. He distracts himself from his solitude with his love for Ornithology and rigidly structured days, yet he is still full of desire–until he meets Jorge.

Second Place ($500) – “Aquarium” ( Norway ), Bard Rossevold

BEST ANIMATED SHORT:
First Place ($2,000) – “Angry Man” (“Sinna Mann”) ( Norway ), Anita Killi The film portrays the fable of a young boy who enlists the help of the King to deal with his father’s anger management problems.

Second Place ($500) – “The Lost Thing” (Australia/UK), Andrew Ruhemann & Shaun Tan

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT:
First Place ($2,000) – “The Shutdown” ( Scotland ), Adam Stafford An explosion at a BP plant leaves dead and injured — including writer Alan Bissett’s father. This is not the Gulf but Falkirk , Scotland .

Second Place ($500) – “Cohen on the Bridge: Rescue at Entebbe” (Israel/UK), Andrew Wainrib

Jury Special Citation – The jury presented a special mention to “The Lucky Ones” (“Szczesciarze”) (Poland ), directed by Tomasz Wolski “for transforming a routine look at bureaucratic procedures into a wry, poignant and subversive exploration of the human experience.”

STUDENT CATEGORIES
All first place winners in these categories will receive $1,000 in Kodak film stock and Movie Outline software. Second Place recipients receive $500 in Kodak film stock. All student filmmakers in Festival competition are eligible for these awards.

BEST STUDENT LIVE ACTION SHORT 15 MINUTES AND UNDER
First Place ($2,000) – “Daughters” (China/USA),Chloé Zhao
Pregnant with her third child – a boy – a Chinese woman must get rid of one of her two daughters when her impoverished sister can no longer afford to raise one of them.

Second Place($500) – “Side by Side” (“Nebeneinander”)( Germany ),Christoph Englert

BEST STUDENT LIVE ACTION SHORT OVER 15 MINUTES:

First Place($2,000) – “The Road Home” (India/USA), Rahul Gandotra
Sent by his parents in England to an international boarding school in the Himalayas , Pico grapples with his Indian heritage in this engrossing tale of a young boy in search of the road home.

Second Place($500) – “God of Love”( USA ),Luke Matheny

BEST STUDENT ANIMATED SHORT:
First Place– “Prayers for Peace” ( USA ), Dustin Grella
An introspective journey through the heart and soul of his brother's death by an IED outside of Fallujah, the artist finds memory indelible as well as fleeting.

Second Place– “Urs”( Germany ),Moritz Mayerhofer

BEST STUDENT DOCUMENTARY SHORT:
First Place– “The Little Snow Animal” (“Lumikko”)( Finland ), Miia Tervo
This fascinating and hauntingly beautiful film pushes the boundary of documentary, animation, and live action to create an impressionistic picture of a 16-year-old girl’s troubled state of mind.

Second Place– “A Moth in Spring”(Canada/USA),Yu Gu

KODAK AWARD FOR BEST STUDENT CINEMATOGRAPHY

First Place($1,000 in Kodak film stock.)
Jaron Henrie-McCrea(cinematographer), “Sinkhole” ( USA )
A smarmy little broker finds himself in the middle of nowhere, in a strange and dangerous land riddled with smoke-spewing sinkholes, and for what? Why, to make the deal, of course.

Second Place($500 in Kodak film stock)
Ilyeon Kim(cinematographer), “A Scene at the Sea” (“Gu Yeo-Rum-Eui Ba-da”)(South Korea/USA)

The Alexis Award for Best Emerging Student Filmmaker went to “Some Boys Don’t Leave” ( USA ), directed by Maggie Kiley.  The recipient will receive Final Cut Studio provided by Apple Computer.  Special citation went to “A Wink of the Eye”(France/USA), directed by Ambarish Manepalli.  The Alexis Award was created in honor of Alexis Echavarria, a young filmmaker, whose talent as a budding filmmaker and gift for inspiring excellence among his fellow students were cut short suddenly in 2005 at age 16. 

The Cinema Without Borders Best International Film Awardwent to “War” (“Uerra”) ( Italy ), directed by Paolo Sassanelli.  Set in Italy in 1949, this delightful comedy revolves around a father and his three sons, who take dad’s war stories a little too much to heart.  “The Gold Mine” (“La Mina de Oro”)( Mexico ) received second place.

This year’s jury members were Dan Ireland, director; Lael Lowenstein, President Los Angeles Film Critics Association; and Guinevere Turner, writer, director and actor