World War II Drama ‘Carry On’ Wins Top Award at Palm Springs ShortFest

Dark film about the Japanese occupation of China qualifies for short-film Oscar with win at 20th annual festival

Last Updated: July 16, 2014 @ 4:32 PM

The harrowing Yatao Li short “Carry On,” which deals with a father trying to protect his young daughter during the brutal Japanese occupation of China during World War II, was named the best film of the 20th Palm Springs International ShortFest on Sunday in the desert resort east of Los Angeles.

“Carry On” (photo at top) was the top choice of the jury at the festival, which screened 330 short films and gave out more than $115,000 in prizes. By winning the Best of Festival Award, Li’s film qualified for the Academy Award for live-action short, provided it meets other AMPAS eligibility requirements.

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Top audience awards went to the live-action film “Dragula,” featuring Missi Pyle and Barry Bostwick, the animated film “Bendik & the Monster” and the documentary “Showfolk,” set at the Motion Picture & Television Fund Home.

Three films — the Polish documentary “Joanna,” the Canada/Hong Kong coproduction “90 Days” and the student film “Tyres” — received two awards each.

While almost all the jury prizes went to foreign-made shorts, more than half the audience winners were American films.

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The 2014 ShortFest drew more than 800 filmmakers and industry guests from 37 countries, and included a short-film market at which more than 3,000 films were submitted.

The winners:

Best of Festival Award
: “Carry On,” Yatao Li (China)
Greater Palm Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau Grand Jury Award: “Joanna,” Aneta Kopacz (Poland)
Future Filmmaker Award: “Whisker,” Steven Saussey (New Zealand)
Panavision Best North American Short: “90 Days,” Timothy Yeung (Canada/Hong Kong)

Best Live Action Short
: “Dragula,” Frank Meli (USA)
Runner-up: “Young Americans,” Kevin Lacy (USA)
Best Documentary Short: “Showfolk,” Ned McNeilage (USA)
Runner-up: “The War Photographers,” Steven Kochones (USA)
Best Animation Short: “Bendik & the Monster,” Frank Mosvold (Norway)
Runner-up: “The Gulf,” Carl Beauchemin, Thomas Chrétien and David Forest (Canada)
Online Audience Award: “Juliet,” Martin Høgberget (Australia)

Best Animation Short, First Place: “
Los Rosales,” Daniel Ferreira (Italy)
Second Place: “Dwarf Giant” (“Nain Geant”), Fabienne Giezendanner (France/Switzerland)
Best Live Action Short Over 15 Minutes, First Place: “That Music” (“Esa Música”), Darío Vejarano (Colombia)
Second place: “The Nostalgist,” Giacomo Cimini (UK)
Best Live Action Short 15 Minutes and Under, First Place: “The Chicken,” Una Gunjak (Germany/Croatia)
Second Place: “Oranges” (“Naranjas”), Iván D. Gaona (Colombia)
Honorable Mention: “Through the Breaking Glass” (“A través del espejo”), Iván Mena (Spain)
Best Documentary Short, First Place: “Joanna,” Aneta Kopacz (Poland)
Second Place: “The Dogwalker” (“Hundvakten”), Caroline Ingvarsson (Sweden)
Honorable Mention: “A Paradise” (“Un Paraiso”), Jayisha Patel (Cuba/UK)

Best Student Animation, First Place:
“Mend and Make Do,” Bexie Bush (UK)
Second Place: “The Little Cousteau” (“Maly Cousteau”), Jakob Kouril (Czech Republic)
Best Student Live Action Short Over 15 Minutes, First Place: “The Aftermath of the Inauguration of the Public Toilet at Kilometer 375,” Omar El Zohairy (Egypt)
Second Place: “Serori,” Pedro Collantes (Japan/Netherlands)
Best Student Live Action Short 15 Minutes and Under, First Place: “Siham,” Cyril Aris (Lebanon/USA)
Second Place: “Here,” Colum Eastwood (UK)
Best Student Documentary Short, First Place: “Tyres,” Kyaw Myo Lwin (Myanmar)
Second Place: “The Immaculates” (“Gil immacolati”), Ronny Trocker (France)
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,” Laura Mohai (Singapore/USA)

Alexis Award for Best Emerging Student Filmmaker, First Place: “Sun Can Blind” (“O Sol Pode Cegar”), Toti Loureiro (Brazil)
Runner-up: “He Took His Skin Off For Me,” Ben Aston (UK)
HP Bridging the Borders Award, Presented by Cinema Without Borders, First Place: “Foad,” Farzad Samsami (Norway)
Runner-up: “Kush,” Shubhashish Bhutiani (India)