PALM SPRINGS — “Tulip,” written and directed by Aussie actress Rachel Griffiths (“Hilary and Jackie”), was named best of the fest at the fifth annual Palm Springs Intl. Film Festival.
“Dolphins,” Farhad Yawari’s magic-realist film about an institutionalized young woman who longs to escape into the subaquatic world of dolphins, won in the category of live-action film over 15 minutes.
Other winners at the shorts fest included “Please” (live action under 15 minutes) and “Shellfish” (animation). Top student prizes included “My Mother Dreams the Satan’s Disciples in New York” (live action over 15), “The Calling” (under 15) and “Idolle” (animation).
The 12-member jury issued a special commendation to “My Daughter’s Face,” named “Ciro Norte” best experimental film, bestowed an acting award to Agnes Bernelle for her role in “Still Life” and honored “Edithvale” with a best cinematography citation.
The six-day festival, which ended Sunday, showcased more than 250 films from more than 40 countries, with 36 U.S. and 53 world premieres. The awards recognize first and second place in each category. First-place winners receive cash prizes of $1,000 and are automatically submitted to the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences for Oscar consideration.
Fest officials said attendance for this year’s festival was up 20% over last year, even as auds withstood temperatures of 100-plus in this desert resort town.
“The increase in attendance is due to the increase in industry participation in the festival,” said director of programming Jennifer Stark. “This year the number of filmmakers attending the festival doubled, in addition to the attendance of all the major short film distributors in North America.”
Fest bills itself as the largest short film festival in North America.
(This report was written by Variety staff member Steve Chagollan, who also served on the Palm Springs jury.)