2010 Palm Springs International ShortFest Film Festival and Market starts next week. Cinema Without Borders’ Editor in Chief had a interview with Darryl Macdonald, director of the ShortFest about 2010 festival.
Bijan Tehrani: What can we expect to see at this year’s festival?
Darryl Macdonald: That’s a big topic; firstly the live action shorts that we received this year were more polished than the work that we had seen in the past. The use of the new technology on the market has really given great power to filmmaker to realize their visions on screen without making compromises. Certainly the animated shorts that we have seen this year are particularly strong and animators working in virtually every medium and really doing ambitious work. We were also swamped with submissions; our submission took a 20% increase from last year; so despite a rough economy world wide, the number of filmmakers working in the short film form has jumped considerably. Another thing to point out is the huge number of well known actors working in the short film form now; I think that that provides evidence of the feeling about short films in Hollywood and around the world. I guess that this started with YouTube and other video websites that are present on the net.
BT: How is the presence of international cinema at this year’s festival?
DM: Very strong and very vibrant. We have the usual large number of terrific shorts from countries like England, Australia, France and Italy, countries that we have come to expect great work from. One of the surprises this year is the submissions that we have received from countries like Norway and from all over the continent of Africa, also Iraq and even Israel and Eastern Europe as well.
BT: Considering the economy, do you expect to see the same number of guest coming to the festival?
DM: At this point, in terms of filmmaker coming to the festival, we were actually up by about 20% and we expect to see more so I would say that our number are up considerably.
BT: What other events will be occurring at the festival this year?
DM: Of course we have our ever popular filmmaker forums, this is three days of panels and master classes and one on one between filmmakers and film industry representatives and this year we have a terrific line up. This year one of the events that I am particularly excited about is that we have the Golden Globe winner and Oscar nominated actor James Franco attending the festival with actually three new works that he has done in the past year, one of which actually won an award at the BerlIn Film Festival. He is a remarkable actor but with these short films he shows that he might even be a stronger talent in his writing and directing, the films are very compelling and engrossing. That event will occur the Saturday of the festival and in addition to that we will do the usual round of receptions; we will have a special focus on Australia and also on French language films. We are also opening on June 22 with a great lineup of short comedy films from around the world.
BT: How important is the market section of the festival for the filmmakers?
DM: Well the film market is all important to the filmmaker attending the festival, this year we have some 3, 000 films in the short fest film market and as you know the market screening room is filmmaker and representatives hunting down new film making talent. This is where a large portion of short films come to distributors and the film market here has a tremendous record and there are always filmmaker looking to make deals and show their work.
BT: Will the tradition of winning films automatically becoming Academy Award nominees continue this year?
DM: Yes of course, we have a large number of awards at the festival and we also have cash prizes and prizes in film production services. Within those categories they are broken down into student films and non student films. The competition this year is particularly fierce so it will be interesting to see who the jury chooses as their winners.
BT: How can audiences attend the festival?
DM: The easiest way is to go online to psfilmfest.org our tickets go on sale on June 15th and our line up will be upload on the website, you can also download a clip on any short film. You can also go straight to our box office in Palm Springs, passes for the entire festival are available for all of the screening, you can also call the box office directly at 760-322-2930.