Palm Springs ShortFest Sends 4 Films to Oscar

"Nuru," "The Devil's Ballroom," "Dura Lex and best-of-fest winner "Behind the Mirrors" win in Oscar-qualifying categories at Palm Springs International ShortFest

After five days and more than 300 short films, the Palm Springs International ShortFest has qualified four shorts for Academy Awards consideration.

The festival, the largest short film festival and market in North America, serves as one of about 70 Oscar-qualifying festivals in the short film categories. Its four top jury award winners become eligible for Academy Awards, provided they meet the Academy's other criteria, including technical specs and release dates.

Behind the MirrorsOnly the Los Angeles International Short Film Festival qualifies more winners for the Oscars, and only two other festivals and the Student Academy Awards qualify the same number.

Julio O. Ramos's "Behind the Mirrors" (left), a Peruvian/U.S. co-production about the owner of a brothel, received the Best of Festival Award, and was also named the best student live-action short of 15 minutes or under.

Other winners in the Oscar-qualifying categories were Michael Palmaers's animated film "Nuru," about a zookeeper looking after a giant gorilla, and the live-action shorts "Dura Lex" from Anke Blondé and "The Devil's Ballroom" from Henrik Martin Dahlsbakken.

The former film, which was also named runner-up in the Bridging the Borders category, deals with the subject of illegal immigration in Belgium through the character of a young mother who receives an unexpected visit from a pair of detectives. The latter (below) recreates the frigid world of an expedition to the North Pole.

The Devil's BallroomThe winning films received a total of $16,000 in cash awards and more than $100,000 in prizes.

Audience awards went to the live-action short "A Curious Conjunction of Coincidences" from the Netherlands, the Irish animated short "The Boy in the Bubble" and the documentary "Mr. Christmas."

Four films received two awards each. In addition to the pair for "Behind the Mirrors" and "Dura Lex," Andrew Nackman's "Paulie" won the Panavision Grand Jury Award and second place in one of the student categories; and Christoph Kuschnig's "Hatch" was named the best student live-action short over 15 minutes, and the best from a U.S. film school. 

The 22 winning films represented 16 different countries, including the United States with eight winners, Germany with four, the U.K. with three and Spain, Belgium and Australia with two each.

The winning films, with asterisks indicating the Oscar-qualifying categories:

JURY AWARDS
* Best of Festival Award: "Behind the Mirrors" ("Detras del Espejo"), Julio O. Ramos
Panavision Grand Jury Award: "Paulie," Andrew Nackman
Future Filmmaker Award: "Khaana, Rajinder Sawhney

AUDIENCE AWARDS
Live Action Short: "A Curious Conjunction of Coincidences," Joost Reijmers
Runner-up: "Talking Dog For Sale , 10 Euros" ("Se Vende PerroQue Habla, 10 Euros"), Lewis-Martin Soucy
Documentary Short: "Mr. Christmas," Nick Palmer
Runner-up: "The Little Team" ("L’Equip Petit"), Robert Gomez
Animation Short: "The Boy in the Bubble," Kealan O’Rourke
Runner-up: "The Gruffalo’s Child," Uwe Heidschötter, Johannes Weiland

ShortFest Online Audience Award: "Lost & Found," Sam Washington.

JURY CATEGORY AWARDS
* Best Animation Short: "Nuru," Michael Palmaers
   Second Place: "Amen!," Moritz Mayerhofer
* Best Live Action Short Over 15 Minutes: "Dura Lex," Anke Blondé
   Second Place: "Light Years" ("Lichtjahre"), Florian Knittel
* Best Live Action Short 15 Minutes and Under: "The Devil’s Ballroom" ("Mannen fra isødet"), Henrik Martin Dahlsbakken
   Second Place: "The Moment," Troy Bellchambers
Best Documentary Short: "The Record Breaker," Brian McGinn
   Second Place: "The Globe Collector," Summer DeRoche

STUDENT CATEGORIES
Best Student Animation: "Bear Me," Katarzyna Wilk
   Second Place: "Flamingo Pride," Tomer Eshed
Best Student Live Action Short Over 15 Minutes: "Hatch," Christoph Kushnig
   Second Place: "Good Night," Muriel d’Ansembourg
Best Student Live Action Short 15 Minutes and Under: "Behind the Mirrors" ("Detras del Espejo"), Julio O Ramos
   Second Place: "Paulie," Andrew Nackman
Best Student Documentary Short: (tie) "The Battle of the Jazz Guitarist," Mark Columbus;  "Julian," Bao Nguyen
Best Student Cinematography: Saro Varjabedian (cinematographer), "Jesus Loves Youssef"
   Second Place: Anand Kishore (cinematographer), "Mong"
Best Student Award from a U.S. Film School: "Hatch," Christoph Kuschnig

ADDITIONAL PRIZES
Alexis Award for Best Emerging Student Filmmaker: "Kiss Me," Jules Nurrish. 
Bridging the Borders Award: "Road to Peshawar," Hammad Rizvi. 
   Runner-up: "Dura Lex," Anke Blondé.

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