June in the desert is a time and a place we treasure, as we pack up our swimsuits and decamp to California’s Coachella Valley for The Palm Springs International ShortFest. As a “double agent” who programs for both S/W and the festival, I am naturally biased, but qualitatively, with over 300 films from all over the world in the program, ShortFest is a truly comprehensive view of the current short film world—collecting hits from the festival circuit, over-looked gems, premieres, and a host of student work as well.
The Covid-19 crisis has put a dent in those plans this year, making it impossible for the short film community to gather by the many pools of Palm Springs, but it did not stop the festival from celebrating the short form with the announcement of a full program and the promise of all its accompanying awards (including five Oscar® qualifying). On four of these Oscar-qualifying juries sit Short of the Week alums: Siqi Song (Sister) for Best Animated Short, Sandra Winther (Lowland Kids) for Best Documentary Short, Farida Zahran (Youth) for Best Live-Action Short under 15 minutes, and Berthold Wahjudi (Summer Hit) for Best Live-Action short over 15 minutes. Congrats to them, and to Jim Cummings (The Robbery, Thunder Road) who sits on the Best Comedy Short jury and Victoria Rivera (Night Swim, Verde) who is part of the Best Student US Short jury as well.
Sticking to its original dates of June 16-22 the festival is also helping mitigate the lack of live screenings by making it easy to view a portion of the program from home. Filmmakers were offered the opportunity to add streaming versions of their films to the official website, where they will be freely available to audiences without signup from June 16th at 9am PDT through June 22nd. All you’ll have to do is head to the festival website and click on the films you’d like to see, those that will be available will say “watch now”.
Of the official program, 12 are already available on Short of the Week, one being currently offline, and more will join them in the upcoming weeks. You will find them below, and if you want more you can head to our new Palm Springs ShortFest channel that also includes S/W films that were selected at previous editions of the festival. Happy viewing!