My husband and I began visiting Palm Springs in the late 1970’s. We rented a small condominium on Ramon Road near to downtown which we’ve kept for many years. Then we began to explore. From our first visit we knew we would return to the desert many times more and we have. It was then that we discovered the Palm Springs International Film Festival which has become famous around the world. In the words of the Festival’s Vision statement the “….. society strives for a world in which enlightenment, knowledge and tolerance prevail.” The best was yet to come.
In 1994 we happened upon the Palm Springs International Festival of Short Films now in its seventeenth year and the largest short film festival in the United States. Now commonly known as The Shortfest, it attracts an incredibly eclectic group of industry people and films which now exceed over three hundred screenings each season from filmmakers from over 40 countries. Last year nearly 15,000 people, two of them being George and I, attended the festival which now includes twenty awards in six categories. First place winners are available to be considered by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and those winners in the action and animation categories are automatically eligible for consideration. Three of the recent films to have been screened are Nine, Precious and the Hurt Locker.
It has been said that the Shortfest, which typically runs in June, is a spin off of the International Film Festival which is held in January of each year but to us it is so interesting and enjoyable that we feel it should and can stand on its own. In fact, almost 50 of the short films have gone on to be Academy Award nominees and each year $70,000 in prize money is awarded and awards are given in the category of the “Best of the Fest” and for us the “Future Filmmaker” category is our favorite.
In addition, we always make a point of attending seminars and for George the receptions where he likes to gab with others who enjoy not only the films but the wonderful festival itself. There are year ’round screenings and special events and a library of films totaling at least 2,200 short films, known as “The Short Film Market” which is available at the Festival’s viewing facilities and industry, filmmakers and the press are encouraged to take advantage of the amazing collection of films available.