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Entertainment | Palm Springs International ShortFest Details

Entertainment | Palm Springs International ShortFest Details

The Palm Springs International ShortFest is best known for its award-winning film shorts, but each year the Festival also welcomes a long guest list of filmmakers and industry attendees.  Prominent industry figures will participate in three days of ShortFest Forums, panels and master classes, to discuss emerging trends in the film community.  This year’s Festival has been awarded a $20,000 grant from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to be applied to the 2012 ShortFest Forums.  The Festival will take place June 19-25, 2012.

This year, well-known American director and screenwriter Gus Van Sant will be presented with the ShortFest Spirit of Short Film Award, as part of a special Directing Master Class presentation celebrating his work in film.  On Saturday, June 23rd at 2:30 p.m., a selection of his shorts will be screened and a moderated discussion will take place with Festival Director Darryl Macdonald.  Van Sant is a two-time Best Director Oscar nominee for Good Will Hunting and Milk, both of which were also nominated for Best Picture.  In addition to his impressive body of feature film work, he has also directed several short films.  He was been previously honored at the Palm Springs International Film Festival in 2009, when he received the Sonny Bono Visionary Award.

“I’m thrilled that Gus Van Sant will be joining us to share his expertise and unique perspective with filmmakers and audiences attending the Festival,” said ShortFest Programming and Executive DirectorDarryl Macdonald.  “Over the course of his distinguished career, Gus has been a groundbreaking force in his field, and he’s an incredibly gifted artist working at the peak of his craft.  The support we’ve received from the Academy has enabled us to greatly expand our programming devoted to filmmakers through the ShortFest Forums, an essential element in the educational mission of the Festival, and, together with the Short Film Market and public exhibition of shorts, an integral part of what makes ShortFest a vital launchpad for new filmmaking talent.”

Also attending the festival this year is Academy Award® winning cinematographer Robert Elswit (There Will Be Blood, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, Good Night and Good Luck, Salt, Michael Clayton, Syriana).  He will be there to conduct a Master Class on Cinematography on Saturday, June 23rd at 12:30pm.  Robert’s most recent film is The Bourne Legacy starring Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz and Edward Norton and set for release in August.

“We are astonished at the level and number of industry attending ShortFest Forums this year throughout our Industry Weekend,” said Kathleen McInnis, ShortFest Film Curator and Director of Industry Programming.  “This just reinforces what we already suspected—that the film industry is excited to have ShortFest as a scouting arena for new talent as well as being committed to giving back to the new generation of filmmakers that they meet here.  The Academy’s support has meant we can increase our abilities to put the industry and ShortFest filmmakers together in intimate, meaningful ways.  In turn, we have more than ever before to offer our attending filmmakers, especially for those who are planning their first features, are thinking of breaking into the North American market, or who want to use the festival circuit to their best advantage.  Along with Gus Van Sant, having Robert Elswit conduct a Cinematography Master Class will mean two Oscar© winners will be working with our filmmakers.”

The schedule for this year’s ShortFest Forums include:

Friday, June 22nd

11:00 a.m.         Meet the Programmers: Programmers from all arenas—festivals, broadcast, theatrical and online—will be on hand to talk about what it takes to be seen, and picked up, by them for exhibition in their particular venues.

Panelists confirmed at press time: Sharon Badal (Tribeca Film Festival), Beth Barrett (Seattle International Film Festival), Andrew Crane (American Cinemathique), Scott Dwyer (KQED-TV), Claudette Godfrey (SXSW), Brad Horvath (Ouat Media), David Nugent (Hamptons International Film Festival), Paul Sloop (Cleveland International Film Festival).

Moderator: John Anderson

1:00 p.m.           Mythbusters: Filmmakers who have already been through the festival circuit with their first features and award-winning shorts (and some who are going through it now) will share their stories from the front lines, as well as look back to what they wished they had known before it all began.

Panelists: Robert Bella (Director/Producer), Blerim Gjoci (Writer/Producer/Actor), Matthew Lillard (Director), Katherine Lindberg (Writer/Director), Glenn Lund (Producer).

Moderator: Kathleen McInnis

3:00 p.m.           Producers’ Landscape            : This panel is designed for independent producers to talk about the current landscape for all things film including the creative, financial, marketplace and logistical aspects of making and marketing films.

Panelists confirmed at press time: Oorlagh George (Independent Producer, Academy Award Winner The Shore), Chris Goodwin (Head of Content, sister of Fox Digital Studios), Kevin Iwashina (Producer, Narrative Features), Ted Kroeber (Producer, Narrative Features/TV), Amy Lillard (Producer/Financier), Michael Roiff (Producer, Narrative Features).

Moderator: John Anderson

Saturday, June 23rd

10:30 a.m.         Agent, Managers and Actors: Agents, managers and actors will debate, expose and illuminate the process by which projects get considered for attachments and packaging, and what elements filmmakers should be thinking about first to get to the best talent for their project.

Panelists confirmed at press time: Raul Castillo (Actor), Miles Levy (James Levy Mgt.), Brent Sexton (Actor, “The Killing”), Bec Smith (UTA), Peter Trinh (ICM).

Moderator: Kathleen McInnis

12:30 p.m.         Cinematography Master Class with Robert Elswit, DP: Academy Award® winning cinematographer Robert Elswit shot one of the most amazing and daring scenes in motion picture history. The film was last year’s Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol and the scene showed star Tom Cruise hanging from the world’s tallest building in Dubai—and the camera crew was right there with him. Elswit was awarded his Oscar® for the 2008 There Will Be Blood. He has been director of photography on more than 60 films, going back more than 30 years includingThe Town, Good Night and Good Luck, Salt, Michael Clayton, Syriana and Tomorrow Never Dies.  Robert’s most recent film is The Bourne Legacy starring Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz and Edward Norton and set for release in August.

Moderator: John Anderson

Sunday, June 24th

10:00 a.m.         Filmmakers and Industry Brunch

12:00 p.m.         Meet the Press: Chroniclers, purveyors, assessors of the film industry at large, these top film journalists will speak about trends in storytelling, advances in technologies, the value of awards, and the festival circuit.

Panelists confirmed at press time: John Anderson (New York Times, Variety), Steve Gaydos (Variety), Dana Harris, (IndieWire), John Horn (LA Times), Gregg Kilday (The Hollywood Reporter), Steve Pond (The Wrap).

Moderator: Kathleen McInnis

Industry Roundtables

New this year, the Industry Roundtables consist of three industry experts and seven filmmakers meeting together for an unscripted, no-holds-barred, private conversation. These roundtables are meant to be unfettered, unstructured, intimate and casual opportunities for our filmmakers to pick the brains of the industry representatives attending.

Those scheduled at press time to participate include: Scilla Andreen (Buyer, IndieFlix), Kalman Apple (Buyer, Shorts International), Sharon Badal (Programmer, Tribecca), Beth Barrett (Programmer, Seattle), Robert Bella (Post Production Supervisor/Filmmaker), Kimberly Browning (Programmer, Hollywood Shorts), Ezra Buzzington (Actor/Filmmaker), Nancy Collet (Festival Consultant), Alessandro Cortini (Composer), Mike Dallatorre (Services, Panavision), Scott Dwyer (Buyer/Exhibition KQED/Imagemakers), Steve Gaydos (Variety), Asher Goldstein (Distribution/Acquisition Traction Media),Chris Goodwin (Head of Content Digital Studios), Eliza Hajek (SAG), Steven Hein (VP Production, Fox Digital Studios), Brad Horvath (Buyer, OUAT Media), Jon Korn (Programmer, Sundance), Ted Kroeber (Producer), Lisa Landi (Mgr Program Distribution, KQED),   Amy Lillard (Financier, Washington Filmworks), Katherine Lindberg (Writer/Director),  Kathy A. McDonald(Journalist), David Nugent (Programmer, Hamptons Film Festival), MJ Peckos (Distribution/Exhibition), Robert Ramsey (Screenwriter), Michael Roiff (Producer), BC Smith (Composer), Katherine Tulich(Journalist), Kim Yutani (Programmer, Sundance).

Panel only tickets are available for $10 each, Master Class tickets are $11 each.  The Festival also offers the ShortFest Film School Weekend Pass for student filmmakers priced at $100 (with student ID).  The pass provides access Friday, June 22 through Sunday, June 24 for regular film screenings, all panels and master classes and one festival-sponsored party on Saturday, June 23.  Tickets can be purchased by calling (760) 322-2930 or visiting

About Palm Springs International ShortFest

Designated by AMPAS as an award-qualifying festival, and accredited by the International Short Film Conference, the Palm Springs International ShortFest and its Short Film Market are the largest and most prominent short film showcase in North America.  The Festival and its concurrent 3,000-film Market continue to serve as a scouting ground for new filmmaking talent and are well attended by those in the business of buying and selling short films.

The Palm Springs International ShortFest is supported by an ever-growing number of new and longtime sponsors with local, national and international prominence. The Title Sponsor is the City of Palm Springs with Presenting Sponsors The Desert Sun and Spencer’s.  Major Sponsors include, Panavision, The BottomLine, Stampede Post Productions, Greenhouse Studios, KQED San Francisco and TheAustralian Consulate General in Los Angeles.  Special support has been provided by The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.  The official host hotel and media center is the Renaissance Palm Springs.  More information is available online at or by calling (800) 898-7256.


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