Chiwetel-Ejiofor

Chiwetel Ejiofor, Taylor Kitsch, Rose McGowan, Bebe Neuwirth and Michael Urie are among the list of actor-director who will be showing short films at the 20th annual Palm Springs International ShortFest & Short Film Market this month.

The ShortFest will showcase 330 films — including 84 world premieres, 71 North American premieres and 22 U.S. premieres — that together showcase the works of stars like Danny DeVito, Natalie Dormer, Ioan Gruffudd, Jenna Fischer, Ian Hart, Tony Hale, Rutger Hauer, Sally Hawkins, Oscar Isaac, Cheyenne Jackson, Sophia Loren, Nick Offerman, Sarah Paulson and Mark Strong.

“This 20th anniversary edition of Palm Springs ShortFest is the year of ‘more’,” said festival director Kathleen McInnis. “This year we’ve had more films submitted from more countries than ever before. We saw stronger work from all our submissions, as well as a shift in storytelling—away from the angst-ridden drama of the past few years, and more towards hopefulness and sheer fun. There are more high profile actors lending their weight to the short films in our program, which speaks directly to both the quality of filmmaker and filmmaking. And we have more premieres, especially World and North American, than in years past—a direct result, I think, of the active, year-round outreach we do on the festival circuit. All in all, it’s an extraordinary year in which to celebrate our 20th birthday!”

Nigel Daly (VP business affairs, Screen International/Chairman BAFTA-LA), Steve Gaydos (VP/executive editor, Variety) and Katie Holly (managing director, Blinder Films) will serve on the ShortFest jury. Over $115,000 in prizes, including $21,000 in cash awards, will be given out in 21 categories to this year’s recipients. The Panavision Best North American Short Award winner will receive a camera package valued at $60,000. First place winners in four categories will automatically become eligible for consideration by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) for a possible Oscar nomination.

Additionally, 12 films will screen in the ShortFest Online Film Festival. Now in its fourth year, the select films will play on a special section of the festival website. Online voting for these films will open on June 10 and run through June 21, with the ShortFest Online Audience Award announced at the Festival Award Ceremony on Closing Night. The ShortFest Online Film Festival will continue to play online through August after the end of the festival.

The 2014 Palm Springs International ShortFest & Short Film Market runs June 17 to 23 at the Camelot Theatres in Palm Springs.

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