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Palm laurels go to ‘Wormhole’

21 winners named in Palm Springs shorts fest

See winnersThe Best of Fest Award (a cash prize of $2,000) went to Jessica Sharzer’s NYU student film “The Wormhole” while Alan Brown picked up the Future Filmmaker Award ($15,000) for “O Beautiful” as the eighth annual Palm Springs Intl. Festival of Short Films, handed out 21 kudos in 13 categories Sunday night.

Awards presentation was held on Mt. San Jacinto at the top of the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. A jury of nine members screened more than 290 films from over 25 countries that unspooled during the seven-day event held through Monday.

James Goss nabbed fest’s inaugural Kodak Award for best student cinematography for Swiss short “Jean-Luc’s Calling.” Goss receives an invitation to the 2003 Cannes fest to showcase a clip of the film and $1,000 in Kodak film stock. Runner-up Nathan Wilson receives $500 in film stock for his work on “Up.”

Jeremy Passmore picked up the Casablanca Award of Merit for “Crossing.” Prize is two days of studio time for his next project at Casablanca Studios in Desert Hot Springs. Two special awards of merit went to actors Charlie Adler and Jamie McShane for their performances in “No Prom for Cindy” and “Fine,” respectively.

Fest also handed out traditional section awards with first-place winners receiving $2,000 and AMPAS eligibility for submission in the appropriate shorts categories, as well as student film section awards with first-place winners receiving an additional $1,000 in film stock.

And the winners are . . .


“The Wormhole,” Jessica Sharzer – USA

In this student live-action film, a troubled boy searches for a wormhole to travel back in time and reunite his family.


Alan Brown, “O Beautiful” – USA

First-time filmmaker Alan Brown tells the story of two boys. One straight and one gay; one brutal and one brutalized. One seeks forgiveness, the other acceptance.


The criteria for consideration of the Kodak Award for Best Student Cinematography included unique use of the camera, use of lighting or creative lighting techniques, unique looks or creative processing of the film, how well the camera is used to tell the story, and frame composition.

First Place (An invitation to attend the 2003 Cannes International Film Festival to showcase a clip of their film, presented by the Kodak Student Filmmaker Program, and $1,000 in Kodak film stock.)

James Goss (cinematographer), “Jean-Luc’s Calling” – Switzerland

The film tells the story of a mean and silly radio host and his most devoted fan that calls him for the first time.

Second Place ($500 in Kodak film stock) – Nathan Wilson (cinematographer), “Up” – USA

In all of us lives a Dreamer. When the world of our Dreamer collides with that of our Realist, the Dreamer is fatefully doomed. But the real tragedy is our failure to recognize the one destroying our Dreamer is an overlooked resident: our own Doubter inside us.


(The winner will receive two days of studio time to shoot their next project at Casablanca Studios, a full service sound stage and production facility, in Desert Hot Springs, CA.)

Jeremy Passmore, “Crossing,”- USA

A near-death experience convinces a young street grifter that his life is but a dream in this student live-action film


All first place winners in these categories received a cash award of $2,000 and will be eligible to submit their films to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences for Oscarconsideration. Second place winners received a $500 cash prize.


First Place ($2,000) – “Brother of Mine” (Bror Min), Jens Jonsson – Sweden

In this U.S. Premiere, an older brother is worried that his parents divorce will turn his younger brother into a wuss.

Second Place ($500) – “Shadow Man,” Amanda Rudman – United Kingdom (England)

This World Premiere follows a young girl who secretly spies on two men breaking into a derelict house.


First Place ($2,000) “Tattoo,” Jules Williamson – United Kingdom (Scotland)

A man returns home and must face the love he left behind in this U.S. Premiere.

Second Place ($500) “Mabul,” Guy Nattiv – Israel

The story of two brothers and the weekend that changes their lives when one of them celebrates their bar-mitzvah.


First Place ($2,000) – “The Freak,” Aristomenis Tsirbas – USA

In a mythical city densely populated by identical looking drones, a bizarre and gleeful dancing Freak disturbs the otherwise ordered business.

Second Place ($500) – “The Hungry Squid,” John Weldon – Canada

A young girl isn’t having the best of times when a caterpillar, cat, rabbit, dog, turtle and an enormous squid start to devour her homework.


First Place ($2,000) – “Bertha Alyce,” Gay Block – USA

A documentary on the filmmaker’s unusual and difficult mother, Bertha Alyce, that includes images and video of their time together, and interviews with her family and friends.

Second Place ($500) – “Album,” Barbara Bird – USA

A unique and disturbing archive of 8mm-movie footage compiled from 1945-1975 and a contemporary oral history to create a narrative about the creation and destruction of an American family.


All first place winners in these categories will receive a cash award of $2,000, $1,000 in Kodak film stock and will be eligible to submit their films to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences for Oscar consideration. Second place winners will receive a $500 cash prize and $500 in Kodak film stock. All student filmmakers in competition are eligible for these awards.


First Place ($2,000) – “Traveler,” Marie Regan – USA

A teenager and an older woman confront a life of dead ends and discover the true rules of the road.

Second Place ($500) – “Back Slide,” Rick Ross – USA

The story of what happens to two God-fearing teenagers when desire overcomes faith and love gives in to longing.


First Place ($2,000) – “Barrier Device,” Grace Lee – USA

A researcher for a female condom study loses all objectivity when she discovers that one of her subjects is dating her ex-fiance.

Second Place ($500) – “Here Was the Anthem” (Aquí Iba El Himno), Sergio Umansky – Mexico

The film follows two wealthy kids on the prowl for marijuana in the heart of Mexico City. Their adventure turns grim when they are stopped by the police.


First Place ($2,000) – “Dog,” Suzie Templeton- United Kingdom (England)

A young boy longs for reassurance about how his mother died.

Second Place ($500) – “Pending,” Anna Tow – Australia

Jasmine flees the dogs of war for the towering city of Anchors, but between her traumatic past and her hopes for a new life, she must first face a heartless bureaucrat.


“Clyde,” Måns Månsson – USA, Sweden

This film documents a homeless man’s response to the events of September 11.



Charlie Adler, “No Prom for Cindy”

The film is a seriocomic exploration of perception and social convention using a forty-five year old male actor as a popular fourteen-year-old girl who is ostracized for suspicions of being a lesbian.


Jamie McShane, “Fine”

The film is about a family man who is faced with the dilemma of what to tell his friend and co-worker when asked for advice about marriage.

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