The Palm Springs Film Festival’s 2020 ShortFest has been moved from an in-person event to a virtual one, the Palm Springs International Film Society announced on Thursday.
In a letter to the ShortFest Community, artistic director Lili Rodriguez and managing director Rhea Lewis-Woodson wrote that the festival was “fully committed to doing our part in flattening the curve by following the law and guidelines set by the CDC, State of California, Riverside County and the City of Palm Springs.” As a result, it will not hold the annual short-film festival at its usual theaters and facilities in the desert resort town east of Los Angeles.
In its place, the ShortFest will announce its official selection in early June. Some of those films, which are being selected from more than 6,000 submissions, will screen on the festival website free of charge from June 16 to June 22, the original dates of the festival. Virtual classes and panels with industry guests will also take place during that time.
The festival will still hand out awards worth $25,000 in a number of categories, including five that qualify films in the Academy Awards’ short-film categories.
In addition, ShortFest will issue full refunds to all filmmakers who submitted films to the festival through the FilmFreeway platform.
The Palm Springs International ShortFest is one of the largest festivals for short films in the United States, with a program that typically consists of more than 350 shorts.