Large palm springs
June 14 2018
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Why All Short Filmmakers Must Attend The Palm Springs International ShortFest

This is the big one, folks. The mother of all short film festivals: the Palm Springs International ShortFest. 

Held each June in Palm Springs, California, this consistently proves to be one of the biggest and most charitable short film festivals in all of North America. If it’s not apparent already, here are some of the reasons why all aspiring or working short filmmakers should be considering Palm Springs ShortFest a routine stop in their festival circuit.

The Location

Just 2 hours from Los Angeles and a day’s drive from San Francisco, this festival is close enough to the heart of the film entertainment world for short filmmakers to both afford and conveniently attend Palm Springs ShortFest. While there are many great short film festivals out there, too many of them end up being more trouble than they are worth once you add up logistics, airfare, rental cars, and lodging.


Palm Springs is also close enough to Hollywood to guarantee major people from the industry will have the time and ability to attend as well. AMPAS, Anonymous Content, APA Agency, CAA, Cartoon Network, FX, ICM, NBC Universal, the Orchard and Vimeo are all already expected to be there.


Both the Palm Springs International Film and Short Film Festivals gained rapid attention and popularity undoubtedly due to being a renowned resort town with a close proximity to Los Angeles. The inaugural year for the Palm Springs Film Festival saw over 17,000 attendees, while the ShortFest doubled in attendance by its second year.


The Numbers

If anything sets ShortFest apart from the other short film festivals in the world its in the sheer numbers involved (especially the sheer number of successes).


For example, more than 100 films played here have gone on to score Oscar nominations and other prestigious awards. Regularly screening 300+ films from 60+ countries, ShortFest is also the most diverse offering of short films in the world. As if that weren’t enough, the festival also holds a major short film market, with 5,000 + short films available for immediate screening and distribution consideration. This alone should make Palm Springs a major stop for short film distributors each June.

Then there’s the number of people interested in being part of the festival. Over 4,200 submissions were received last year. Such high demand reflects well on the short film festival’s popularity. It also means the programmers have to be pretty cutthroat in making their final selections.


But don’t worry; the exclusivity of film selections here really works to a qualifying filmmaker’s advantage. More than 22,000 are expected to be in attendance from June 19–25 for this year’s festival, meaning the highest exposure possible for your short film. Besides being screened at the Camelot Theatres, each official selection also automatically qualifies for the short film market, meaning distributors, agents and industry executives can have direct viewing access to every film while at the festival. All it could take is the right person seeing your short film at this market for a major career boost!


The Events

The best film festivals are never just about watching movies. Palm Springs ShortFest also offers workshops, roundtables, and industry functions designed to get short filmmakers in direct contact with other filmmakers and industry veterans.


Some of the bigger events include a masterclass on pitching your films, a panel on short film world cinemainterviews with the festival programmers, and much, much more! During festival off-times, you can also find many of the attendees hitting up the various parties and social events at one of the many Palm Springs resort locations. Take a swimcelebrate diversity in film with similar minority groups, and hone your networking skills in more casual environments.


The Prizes

What would a great short film festival be without some major cash prizes?


The Best of the Festival Award winner receives $5,000 (and automatic eligibility for the Academy Awards), while over 10 other jury awards are given out with smaller, but still significant, cash prizes. On top of the major prizes are several programming and jury prizes promoted by outside companies that also offer cash investments toward the winning filmmakers.


The Focus

Palm Springs International ShortFest is unlike any other short film festival in the world because it draws a large audience to a festival exclusively showing short films! Cannes, TIFF and SXSW may be much bigger overall festivals, but the short films are never the focus or priority. Palm Springs is that rare festival for a short filmmaker, where getting in means knowing the screened film will be seen or talked about by most of the people in attendance.

If you want to attend this year’s festival and get inspiration for your own short film pursuits, click here! General public tickets go on sale June 13th.

Stay tuned this week, as we will cover some of the upcoming titles selected for this year’s festival.

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