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The Christmas Gift directed by Bogdan Muresanu
The Christmas Gift directed by Bogdan Muresanu

The 2019 Palm Springs International ShortFest announced its Festival juried award winners with the Romanian film The Christmas Gift, directed by Bogdan Muresanu, winning the Best of Festival Award. The prize for Best International Short went to Guaxuma directed by Nara Normande; and Manila is Full of Men Named Boy directed by Andrew Stephen Lee won for Best U.S. Short.

369 short films screened throughout the Festival along approximately 5,600 of filmmaker submissions available in the film market. More than $86,000 in prizes, including $26,750 in cash awards were awarded in 22 categories.

2019 Palm Springs International ShortFest Jury Awards

BEST OF FESTIVAL AWARD – Winner received $5,000 cash prize courtesy of the Greater Palm Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau. Awarded by the International Jury to a student or non-student short. The winner of this award may be eligible to submit their short to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for Oscar® consideration.

The Christmas Gift (Romania/Spain), Directed by Bogdan Muresanu
A few days after Ceausescu’s bloody repression in Timisoara, a father’s quiet evening turns to panic as he finds out that his son has mailed a letter to Santa that includes something for him — his wish to see Ceausescu dead.

BEST INTERNATIONAL SHORT – Winner received a $2,000 cash prize. Awarded by the International Jury to the best student or non-student short produced outside of North America.

Guaxuma (Brazil/France), Director Nara Normande
Grains of sand in motion capture happy childhood memories on the beach of a special friendship.

BEST NORTH AMERICAN SHORT – Winner received $1,000. Awarded by the International Jury to the best student or non-student short produced in North America.

King Wah (I Think I Love You) (USA), Director Horatio Baltz
A disgruntled delivery man, a woman with chronic déjà vu, Pat Sajak, and a slow dance in a Chinese takeout restaurant.

BEST U.S. SHORT Winner receivedcamera package courtesy of Panavision, valued at $60,000. Awarded by the International Jury to the best student or non-student short produced in the U.S.

Manila is Full of Men Named Boy (USA/Philippines), Director Andrew Stephen Lee
Manila, July 7, 2009. As Michael Jackson’s televised funeral plays throughout the country despite terrorist attacks in the south, an estranged son, to impress his father, purchases a child who can drink and smoke

For the following awards all first-place winners received a cash award of $2,000 and may be eligible to submit their film to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for Oscar® consideration.

BEST ANIMATED SHORT (Awarded by the Animation Jury)

Dani (USA), Director Lizzy Hogenson
A 30-year-old woman, feeling obligated to wear a brave face, delivers her grim breast cancer prognosis to her mother over a simple phone call.

Special Mention:

Caterpillarplasty (Canada), Director David Barlow-Krelina
In an advanced technological society where the caterpillar has special significance, the people desire metamorphosis.

BEST LIVE-ACTION SHORT OVER 15 MINUTES (Awarded by the International Jury)

Summer Hit (Germany), Director Berthold Wahjudi
Laia from Spain and Emil from Iceland are enjoying their semester abroad in Munich. While Laia feels perfectly fine just having sex with Emil, his profession of deeper feelings puts her on the defensive.

BEST LIVE-ACTION SHORT 15 MINUTES AND UNDER (Awarded by the International Jury)

Youth (Egypt/USA), Director Farida Zahran
A teenage girl takes a step toward adulthood in contemporary Cairo.

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT (Awarded by the Documentary Jury)

Inferno (Australia/Mexico), Director Patrick Fileti
An explosive portrait of the lives of artisans and their families in the lead up to the festival of San Juan de Dios, when blazing revelry engulfs the town of Tultepec, Mexico, famous for its pyrotechnics industry.

Special Mention:

Brother, Move On (Switzerland/India), Director Antshi von Moos
A taxi service “for women by women” offers a small step towards gender equality in Delhi.

All first-place winners in these categories received a $500 cash prize.

BEST STUDENT ANIMATED SHORT (Awarded by the Animation Jury)

Nosis (Germany), Director Vincenz Neuhaus
When a boy with an exceptionally long nose accidentally falls into a cake, his life changes in unforeseen ways and drives him to re-explore life no matter the dark consequences.

Special Mention:

Wild Love (France), Directors Paul Autric, Quentin Camus, Léa Georges, Maryka Laudet, Zoé Sottiaux, Corentin Yvergniaux
While on a romantic getaway, Alan and Beverly cause a fatal accident. This crime won’t remain unpunished…


A Little Break (France), Director Louise Groult
Accompanying her cousin on a camping trip to coastal Normandy, 16-year-old Charlotte discovers that the path to romantic fulfillment can be painful for a young woman in an insensitive world.

Special Mention:

What Do You Know About the Water and the Moon (China), Director Jian Luo
During an abortion, instead of aborting the fetus, a girl gives birth to a live jellyfish.


Night Swim (USA), Director Victoria Rivera
Three teenage girls break into a closed-off pool on a hot summer night, but when unwanted guests show up, their friendship is tested and one of them is left behind.

Special Mention:

Sir Thomas (Israel), Director Raanan Fogel, Michael Amir
A young man finally gets to go home with the girl he has a crush on. Unfortunately, Sir Thomas does not seem to want to cooperate.

BEST STUDENT DOCUMENTARY SHORT (Awarded by the Documentary Jury)

Seeds of Deceit (Netherlands), Director Miriam Guttmann
In a shocking breach of trust and ethics, famed Dutch fertility doctor Jan Karbaat inseminated dozens of unsuspecting patients with his own sperm. Seeds of Deceit considers the resulting anger, sadness and curiosity through the testimony of two mothers and their children.


VIMEO STAFF PICK AWARD – Selected by Vimeo curators. Films featured in competition are eligible for the award, which includes a $2,500 cash prize.

The Culture (Norway), Director Ernst De Geer
It’s the opening night at the concert house where Arvid works. When his sister steals the spotlight and a resulting confrontation with an important man builds, Arvid’s worst side is revealed.

BRIDGING THE BORDERS AWARD PRESENTED BY CINEMA WITHOUT BORDERS Winner received a $2,500 courtesy of Go Energistics. Awarded by the Cinema Without Borders jury to the short that is most successful in bridging and connecting the people of our world closer together.

Ahmed’s Song (France), Director Foued Mansour
One day Ahmed, employed at the public baths and nearing retirement, encounters Mike, a teenager adrift. Inside the bathhouse walls, in a place on the verge of disappearing, a strange relationship will develop between these two fractured souls.

Special Mention:

Green (USA), Director Suzanne Andrews Correa
An undocumented Turkish pedicab driver unwittingly draws police attention, endangering his brother, his community and himself.

FUTURE FILMMAKER AWARD – Winner received a $1,000 cash prize. Honors a non-student filmmaker whose work demonstrates that they are poised to take a significant next step in their career.

sometimes, i think about dying (USA), Director Stefanie Abel Horowitz
Fran is thinking about dying, but a man in the office might want to date her.

Special Mention:

Magnetic Harvest (France), Director Marine Levéel
Mickaël, a pig farmer in rural France, finds his search for an amorous connection interrupted by the sudden return of the charming and youthful Paul.

BEST EMERGING STUDENT FILMMAKER – Winner received a $1,000 cash prize. Awarded by the ShortFest programmers. Honors a student filmmaker whose work and vision point to a bright, prospective career in cinema.

Stone Age (Switzerland), Director Lou Rambert Preiss
In a vast stone quarry, an explosion reveals an object from the past.

Special Mention:

Truck Slut (USA), Director Ryan Craver
A lonely, gay 13-year-old reflects on his complicated love for his volatile sister, the night she humiliated him, and her disappearance from their small, Southern town.

YOUTH JURY AWARDS – Awarded by ShortFest youth juries composed of local students interested in cinema and the arts. Each winner received a $250 cash prize. The Kids’ Choice jury is composed of students aged 8-13 and the Young Cineastes jury is composed of students aged 14-17.

KIDS’ CHOICE (Ages 13 and under)

All In Good Time (Ireland), Director Bonnie Dempsey
A comic fantasy about two children, one in 1918, the other in 2018, who magically communicate across time through messages in a bottle and help solve each other’s problems.

Special Mention:

Goldie (USA), Director Emily Brundige
A giant girl feels out of scale in her colorful little town, only to realize she takes up just the right amount of space.


Ale y Yose (USA), Director Erin Semine Kökdil
Two undocumented friends struggle with the reality of an unknown future, reimagining what it means to be a teenage girl in the U.S.

Special Mention:

Something About Alex (Netherlands), Director Reinout Hellenthal
A 14-year-old boy develops a close friendship with his older sister’s boyfriend, and must confront the depth of his feelings when the couple announces that they will be moving away.

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