Awards and Jury

AWARDS

Winners from our curated line-up were awarded with cash prizes worth $25,000 including five Academy Award® qualifying awards.

Oscar® Qualifying Awards:
Greater Palm Springs CVB Best of the Festival Award
Winner: Matriochkas (Belgium/France), Directed by Bérangère Mc Neese
Special Mention (for Creative Vision): Stay Awake, Be Ready (Vietnam/South Korea/USA), Directed by Pham Thien An
Special Mention (for Direction): Mizaru (India/USA), Directed by Sudarshan Suresh

Best Animated Short
Winner: The Fabric of You (UK), Directed by Josephine Lohoar Self
Special Mention: SH_T Happens (Czech Republic/Slovakia/France), Directed by Mihalyi and David Stumpf

Best Documentary Short
Winner: The Heart Still Hums (USA), Directed by Savanah Leaf and Taylor Russell
Special Mention: Dead Woman's Pass (Peru/Qatar), Directed by Lali Houghton
Special Mention: Huntsville Station (USA), Directed by Jamie Meltzer and Chris Filippone

Best Live-Action Short Over 15 Minutes
Winner: Birth Right (Israel), Directed by Inbar Horesh
Special Mention: Henet Ward  (Egypt), Directed by Moraf Mostafa

Best Live-Action Short 15 Minutes and Under
Winner: Dummy (Lithuania), Directed by Laurynas Bareisa
Special Mention: The Midsummer's Voice  (China/US), Directed by Yudi Zhang

Student Short Awards:
Best Student Animated Short
Winner: Daughter (Czech Republic), Directed by Daria Kashcheeva
Special Mention: SH_T Happens (Czech Republic/Slovakia/France), Directed by Michaela Mihalyi and David Stumpf

Best Student Documentary Short
Winner: For Your Sake (Germany), Directed by Ronja Hemm
Special Mention: All Cats Are Grey in the Dark (Switzerland), Directed by Lasse Linder
 
Best Student International Short
Winner: Still Working (Switzerland), Directed by Julietta Korbel
Special Mention: 22:47 Linie 34 (Switzerland), Directed by Michael Karrer

Best Student U.S. Short
Winner: Heading South (China/USA), Directed by Yuan Yuan
Special Mention: Tape (USA/Canada/Finland), Directed by Jojo Erholtz

Special Jury Awards:
Best International Short
Winner: The Tongues (Norway), Directed by Marja Bål Nango and Ingir Bål
Special Mention: Funfair (Iran/Canada), Directed by Kaveh Mazaheri

Best U.S. Short
Winner: My Hero (USA), Directed by Logan Jackson
Special Mention: Pharmacopeia (USA), Directed by Tania Taiwo

GoE Bridging the Borders Award
Winner: The Present (Palestine), Directed by Farah Nabulsi
Special Mention: Container (Greece/USA), Directed by Daphne Maziariaki

Local Jury Award
Winner: Welcome Strangers (USA), Directed by Dia Sokol Savage
Special Mention: Sundays at the Triple Nickel  (USA), Directed by Jess Colquhoun

Vimeo Staff Pick Award
Winner: Give Up the Ghost (Jordan/Germany/Sweden), Directed by Zain Duraie

Young Cineastes Award
Winner: Colette (USA/France/Germany), Directed by Anthony Giacchino
Special Mention: Gold Plated (Belgium), Directed by Chloé Léonil

Best Comedy Short
Winner: Viktor on the Moon (Denmark), Directed by Christian Arhoff
Special Mention (for Direction): Blocks (USA), Directed by Bridget Moloney

Best LGBTQ+ Short
Winner: Kama'aina (USA), Directed by Kimi Howl Lee
Special Mention: La Gloria (USA), Directed by Mary Evangelista

Best Midnight Short
Winner: The Sleepwalkers (India), Directed by Radhika Apte
Special Mention (for Best Climax): The Nights Alone (France), Directed by Olivier Strauss



ShortFest is designated by AMPAS, BAFTA, BIFA and Goya Awards as an award-qualifying festival, and accredited by the International Short Film Conference,


BEST OF THE FESTIVAL jury

Megan Halpern is an executive and producer at the Black List where she produces Black List Live!, a series of staged table reads starring actors such as Rachel McAdams, Jon Hamm and Don Cheadle. She worked for Picador and Penguin Random House before joining the Black List in 2014. She has been a juror for the Women In Film Finishing Fund, Soho House's ScriptHouse and the Made in NY Screenwriters Showcase and produced content for Marriott's Autograph Collection Hotels. Brands she has worked with include Warby Parker, Red Bull, and Dockers. Short films she's produced include DEB starring Ahna O'Reilly and Scott Michael Foster; THE LAST DAYS OF TJ STAGGS starring Paul Scheer and Constance Wu; and THE PRIEST starring Patton Oswalt. She graduated from New York University.

Marie-Louise Khondji is the founder and programmer of LE CINÉMA CLUB, an international, free and curated streaming platform presenting one film every week, with an emphasis on short formats. Prior to Le Cinéma Club, she worked in film production and distribution. She is an Associate Producer of Heaven Knows What (2014), Simon Killer (2012).

Jacqueline Lyanga is the Founder of Global Cinematheque, a U.S. based organization promoting international cinema through programming and the World Cinema Awards. She was also the Artistic Director of Film Independent in Los Angeles this past year, developing strategies and partnerships for Film Independent's year-round film and XR storytelling initiatives; curating screenings and events for the organization at venues across Los Angeles, including the immersive storytelling showcase The Portal, which she launched as the Guest Director at LA Film Festival in 2018, and The New Wave, launched in partnership with KCRW and MOCA, in October 2019. 

Prior to working at Film Independent, Jacqueline was the Director of AFI FEST presented by Audi, the American Film Institute's (AFI) annual international film festival in Los Angeles for eight years, from 2010 to 2018 where she launched the festival's Tech Showcase in 2014, an event that became the first LA-based festival exhibition of XR (VR, MR and AR).  Jacqueline has been a guest and moderator of industry panels at the Berlinale, the Cannes Film Festival, the Forbes Women's Summit and the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) and has been a member of the grants review committees for the Austin Film Society, and the National Endowment for the Arts. She has been invited to serve on international film festival juries at festivals such as the Edinburgh International Film Festival, the JIO MAMI Mumbai Film Festival, the Locarno Film Festival, the Sundance Film Festival, SFFILM in San Francisco, SXSW (VR) and the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). She has also worked for TIFF, and prior to working for festivals and non-profit film organizations, she worked for a number of other film and entertainment organizations and companies including, ABC/Disney, BET, Lifetime Television, PolyGram Filmed Entertainment, and the Independent Film & Television Alliance's American Film Market. In 2014, she was featured on Essence Magazine's list of the 75 most powerful black women in Hollywood, and in Variety's Women's Impact Report as one of the female entertainment industry leaders in Hollywood deemed a game-changer and innovator. Jacqueline was recently appointed to the rank of Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Arts et Lettres by the French government for her promotion of French film and culture in the United States. She has also been awarded the Order of the Crown from the Kingdom of Belgium.

Best Animated Short jury

Lizzy Hogenson escaped Wall Street to make puppets. She's worked with Google, Bix Pix, Nickelodeon and The New Yorker.

K.J. Relth is a film programmer, writer and professor based in Los Angeles. Since 2016, she has been programming for UCLA Film & Television Archive, where she co-curates 120 repertory, experimental, and contemporary international film screenings annually at the Billy Wilder Theater at the Hammer Museum. She is also an adjunct professor in the Film/Video program at the California Institute of the Arts, where she teaches Film Today and Cinema Against the Grain. Relth has previously worked as a shorts programmer for AFI FEST and has served on juries for numerous international festivals. She holds a Master of Arts in Media Studies & Film from The New School.

Siqi Song is a Chinese director and animator based in Los Angeles. She studied at China Central Academy of Fine Arts before turning to filmmaking and receiving her Masters in Experimental Animation at CalArts. Song is named a Film Independent Animation Directing Fellow in 2018, BAFTA Los Angeles Newcomer in 2019 and nominated for an Oscars for her animated short SISTER in 2020.

Best Documentary Short jury

Rowena Santos Aquino obtained her doctorate degree in Cinema & Media Studies at UCLA and teaches courses on Film History, Documentary Film History & Theory, and Asian Cinemas in the Department of Film and Electronic Arts at California State University, Long Beach. Her research interests center on documentary modes of testimony and witnessing, critical points where documentary and fiction collide, and Asian audiovisual media cultures. Her work has been published in the journals Asian CinemaTransnational Cinemas, and Verge: Studies in Global Asias, and the edited volume Film Music in 'Minor' National Cinemas.

Harry Vaughn is a programmer for the Sundance Film Festival, specializing in US and World documentary features. At the festival, he is also program lead on a Talent Forum initiative that introduces world documentary filmmakers to American film industry representatives. In 2018, he was a consulting programmer for Sundance Institute's Catalyst Forum and he began his career at the institute in 2011 as an intern and reader for the Feature Film Program, International. Aside from his work at Sundance, Harry is on the board of Dirty Looks, a platform for queer film, video and performance, and he is also a consulting programmer for Frameline: San Francisco International LGBTQ Film Festival. His previous work includes: senior programmer for Outfest Los Angeles, programmer and coordinator for NewFest in New York and Outfest Fusion. He holds a Master's degree in Arts Journalism from the University of Southern California and is a Los Angeles native.

Sandra Winther is a New York based director from Copenhagen, Denmark. Focused on capturing the stories and pulse of vibrant youth culture, her work brings intimacy and authenticity together in a cinematic vision. Her documentary 'Lowland Kids' had its world premiere at SXSW in 2019, and throughout its notable festival run went on to win the Audience Award for Best Documentary at the Palm Springs Shortfest followed by a Cinema Eye Honors nomination for Best Non-Fiction Short of the Year.

Best Live-Action Short Over 15 Minutes jury

Megan Costello is a Brooklyn-based film curator. As the Program Manager for HamptonsFilm, she programs short and feature films for the Hamptons International Film Festival, oversees the annual Screenwriters Lab, and contributes to the curation of year-round programs. She is a member of the Cinema Eye Honors short film nomination committee, and has been invited to speak on panels by the SAG-AFTRA Foundation, Film Fatales, IFC Center, NYU Tisch School for the Arts, and Jacob Burns Film Center. Megan has previously worked with the Tribeca Film Festival, Tribeca Film Institute, and the Rubin Museum of Art, and has served on the screening committees for the Rooftop, Nantucket, and Montclair Film Festivals.

Violet Lucca, Harper's Magazine

Berthold Wahjudi | Born in Hamburg in 1993, Berthold studied Arts & Sciences at University College London and the University of California. In 2016 he joined the directing programme at the University of Television and Film Munich. His short Summer Hit won the award for Best-Live-Action-Short (over 15min) at Palm Springs Short Fest and played SXSW 2020.

best live-action short 15 minutes & under jury

Themba Bhebhe, European Film Market

Michael Lerman, Overlook Film Festival

Farida Zahran is an Egyptian writer/director and a thesis student pursuing her MFA in Film at NYU Tisch School of the Arts. Her short film, Youth, premiered at SXSW 2019 and received an Oscar-qualifying award at Palm Springs International ShortFest. She was selected for the New York Film Festival Artists Academy in 2019. Prior to grad school, Farida worked in development at the Doha Film Institute. She is currently based in Brooklyn, NY and is working on her first feature screenplay as well as a Cairo-set musical short.

Best student Animated & documentary short jury

Cara Cusumano is the Festival Director and VP of Programming for the Tribeca Film Festival and the Tribeca TV Festival. She has been with Tribeca since 2008, during which time the festival has become a globally respected showcase, premiering major work including the Oscar-nominated documentaries Virunga and Which Way Home, first films from Damien Chazelle, Alma Har'el, ClioBarnard, Reed Morano, and Ryan Coogler, and TV including The Handmaid's Tale and Chernobyl. She was instrumental in introducing an episodic programming section to the festival beginning in 2016, and oversaw the launch of the festival's branded content competition Tribeca X in 2016, inaugural stand alone Tribeca TV Festival in 2017, and the addition of Tribeca Critics' Weekin 2019, the first of its kind for a North American film festival.

Angie Driscoll brings enthusiasm, passion and over 15 years of film programming experience to her work at a variety of international film festivals. She has programmed in Canada for the Toronto International Film Festival, the Canadian Film Centre & Worldwide Short Film Festival, Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, and the Toronto Urban Film Festival. Abroad, she has curated short films for pioneering internet and mobile TV platform Babelgum in Ireland, programmed for Aspen Shortsfest and the Sundance Film Festival, and Nordisk Panorama in Sweden. She has been a film consultant for Reel Canada, the Prism Prize and the Attlantic Filmmakers' Co-Op. She iscurrently the Senior Shorts & Senior International Programmer at Hot Docs in Toronto, a programmer for Shortsfest in Aspen, a consultant for the Athena Film Festival in NYC, and a writer for international sales agent Magnet film in Berlin and Cinema Scandinavia's website based in Oslo. Angie is a short film champion and documentary cheerleader who's always looking for films that change heartsand minds!

Kate Erbland is the New York-based Deputy Editor, Film of IndieWire, where she writes and edits daily for the site, with a special emphasis on female filmmakers, in-depth interviews, and awards season coverage (including five turns backstage at the Oscars). She has worked at IndieWire since 2015. Some of her previous work can be found at Vanity Fair, Cosmopolitan, Rolling Stone, The Dissolve, Vulture, New York Daily News, MSN Movies, and Boxoffice Magazine. She has served on juries and nominating committees for DOC NYC, the Sarasota Film Festival, the Hamptons International Film Festival, the Cinema Eye Honors, the Gothams, and the Critics Choice Awards, among others. She holds a bachelor's degree in English and Art History from Loyola Marymount University. She is a member of the NYFCC and the BFCA.

Best Student International Short jury

Sarah-Tai Black is a film programmer, arts curator, and writer from Toronto, Ontario. She is one of the Directors at The Royal Cinema where she programs Black Gold, a screening series dedicated to blackness onscreen and off. She has previously held the role of Programmer at Images Festival and worked as a part of TIFF's Festival Programming team. Her writing has been published by numerous outlets, including The Globe and Mail, Cinema Scope, and MUBI Notebook, and she has spoken about arts culture, film, and moving image arts in their many forms as a guest of the National Gallery of Canada and The Walrus, as well as with platforms such as Canadian Art and Huffington Post.

Malin Kan is a Los Angeles based film programmer at the American Film Institute, programming year-round for AFI FEST, AFI DOCS and the "Meet the Press" Film Festival. Her educational background is in film and media studies and moving image archives and she holds degrees from both the University of California, Berkeley and the University of California, Los Angeles. Her past programming work includes the George Eastman Museum and the LA Film Festival.

Andrew Stephen Lee | Stephen is a Filipino-American Director and Writer based in New York City. For three years he worked closely with Magnum photographer Jim Goldberg before becoming an MFA Candidate at Columbia University's Graduate Film Program. Stephen's last narrative film, Manila is Full of Men Named Boy, premiered in competition at the 75th Venice Film Festival and continued on to the Busan International Film Festival, Festival du Court Métrage de Clermont-Ferrand, and SXSW. He is currently writing his first feature, In The Shade Hardly Any Sun. Additionally, Stephen works as an Editor and most recently, he cut the feature Eyimofe (This is My Desire) which premiered at the 71st Berlinale.

Best student US short jury

Shali Dore has been an editor with Variety for a long time now. A former newspaperwoman, she transitioned to magazines with Variety, specializing in international entertainment. She has been to the Cannes Film Festival as well as Palm Springs (both the shorts and the feature festivals), the Indian Film Festival Los Angeles, Mammoth and Napa Valley. Film festivals are places where we can discover little gems before they get adopted by the big distributors. Besides being the features news editor at Variety, Dore is also the internship coordinator, a position that helps train the next generation of entertainment journalists.

Victoria Rivera is a New York-based writer/director who hails from Colombia. Her award-winning short films have screened at Telluride Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival and Palm Springs Shortfest, where she was awarded a Jury Award in 2019 for Night Swim. In 2018, the Directors Guild of America awarded her the Student Film Award for Verde. She's currently developing Malpelo, her first feature, which was awarded a screenwriting grant by the Sloan Foundation and has been supported by Film Independent's Producing Lab, Fast Track Financing Market and most recently, by selecting Victoria as a 2020 Screenwriting Lab and Directing Lab Fellow.

Landon Zakheim is a Short Film Programmer for the Sundance Film Festival, Interactive Curator & Shorts Programmer for the Denver Film Festival, and Co-Director & Co-Founder of the Overlook Film Festival (overlookfilmfest.com), a community-driven experience dedicated to showcasing the best in horror cinema, live shows, and interactive events at iconic haunted environments in New Orleans. He was formerly director of programming for Aspen ShortsFest, head shorts programmer for the LA Film Festival, senior programmer for the Philadelphia Film Festival and a lead programmer for AFI Fest. Zakheim has worked in various capacities for film societies all over the country since 2006. His two short films DELMER BUILDS A MACHINE (2010) and ANOTHER BULLET DODGED (2012) have screened at film festivals all over the world. He has served on juries at Sitges, BiFAN and SXSW among others. He enjoys escape rooms, perhaps too much.

Best International Short jury

Felipe Montoya Giraldo | Colombian film curator. Chief of programming of BOGOSHORTS - Bogotá Short Film Festival and the BOGOSHORTS Movement (Colombia) since 2015. In 2019 he completed postgraduate studies in Film Curating at Elías Querejeta Zine Eskola (Spain), during which he did an internship at San Sebastián International Film Festival and collaborated in the research project 'Zinemaldia 70'. He holds a BA in Audiovisual Communication from University of Antioquia (Colombia). He participated in ICO's Developing Your Film Festival course and EAVE's Marketing Workshop in 2019. He has served as producer and press chief in Colombian film events like VARTEX Video Art and Experimental Film Showcase (2013 to 2015), Pantalones Cortos Film Festival (2014) and Santa Fede Antioquia Film Festival (2014). He co-founded the collective Cultura AV, developing its strategy for the distribution and exhibition of short films from Medellín (Colombia) until 2015.

Nadia Neophytou is a New York-based multimedia journalist from South Africa. She writes about film and culture for a number of publications, from Deadline to Quartz, The Hollywood Reporter, OkayAfrica and more.

Marie-Elaine Riou | After studying film in Barcelona where she participated in several film and cultural projects, Marie-Elaine returned to her country of origin to obtain a degree in cultural production strategies at the University of Quebec in Montreal. In parallel, she participated in the production of several short films, a web series and some cultural events. In 2012, Marie-Élaine moved to work as programming assistant and Marché coordinator for REGARD-Saguenay International Short Film Festival. Now she directs the organization and gets involved in several committees, such as l'Office Québec-Monde and Short Film Conference. She has also been part of the jury of Certamen of Soria (Spain), BISFF (South Korea), FIFF (Belgium), Off-courts (France) and Curta Cinema (Brazil).

best US short jury

Horatio Baltz is a Los Angeles based filmmaker and Emmy Award winning graphic artist. His work has been seen in the New Yorker, New York Magazine, The Atlantic, Rolling Stone, and PBS. He has received mentorship from Werner Herzog, Alec Soth, and his narrative short film King Wah (I Think I Love You) won the award for Best North American Short at the 2019 Palm Springs Short Fest.

Steve Pond has been the awards editor and magazine editor at the entertainment industry website TheWrap for the past 11 years, since shortly after its founding in 2009. Before joining TheWrap, he wrote about film, television, music and the entertainment industry for more than 30 years for such publications as the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Rolling Stone, Premiere and Playboy. Pond is also author of the L.A. Times bestseller "The Big Show," about his decade-plus of unprecedented access to the Academy Awards show.

Amanda Salazar is a programmer at SFFILM, she is also the co-Director of the Camera Obscura Film Society, a curated film event that takes place in various locations throughout the Bay Area, primarily in Petaluma, CA., and the theatrical programmer at Northwest Film Forum, a non-profit arthouse in Seattle. Previously, she was the Vice President of Film Acquisitions at Fandor and Program Director of the Newport Beach Film Festival.

GoE Bridging the borders award jury

Bambadjan Bamba is an actor, filmmaker, and immigrant rights advocate. He has been featured in numerous hit television shows, including NBC's The Good Place, ABC's Grey's Anatomy, HBO's Sopranos and in blockbuster films, Marvel's Black Panther, DC Comic's Suicide Squad and the Oscar-nominated Beginners. In 2017, Bambadjan publicly disclosed that he was a recipient of the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) and has ever since used his inspirational story to change the conversation around immigration. Bambadjan gives talks at college campuses, events, and media outlets around the U.S. His writings have appeared in the Washington Post, on NBC and on CNN, and he is a contributor to the New York Times bestseller American Like Me: Reflections on life between cultures by award-winning actress America Ferrera.   Bambadjan is the recipient of ACLU's Courageous Advocate Award and the NILC (National Immigration Law Center) Courageous Luminary award. He serves as a Define American ambassador and is a board member for the African Artists Association.

Rodrigo Garcia is a Mexican film director that  has directed a variety of independent films, including the award-winning "Nine Lives"; the three-time Academy Award-nominated feature "Albert Nobbs," starring Glenn Close; and "Mother and Child," starring Annette Bening, Naomi Watts and Samuel L. Jackson. In 2000, Rodrigo's first film as a writer and director, "Things You Can Tell Just by Looking at Her," won the Un Certain Regard Award at the Cannes Film Festival. "Last Days in the Desert," starring Ewan McGregor, premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival and this past January, "Four Good Days," starring Glenn Close and Mila Kunis premiered at Sundance as well, which was written and directed by Rodrigo.  Among his television credits are the cable series "In Treatment," on which he served as executive producer and showrunner for the first season and received a Writers Guild of America Award in the New Series category. Other TV credits include "Sopranos," "Six Feet Under," "Carnivȧle" and "Big Love," for which he directed the pilot episode and was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series. Garcia also directed the pilot for CBS's hit drama" Bull" starring Michael Weatherly and the upcoming "Party of Five" reboot from Freeform and Sony Pictures Television.   Garcia is also the Co-Chief Executive Officer of Indigenous Media, a next generation digital studio focused on producing original content for digital and emerging platforms worldwide. He is Co-Creator of WIGS, the digital drama channel offering over 180 episodes of scripted content. For WIGS, Rodrigo wrote and directed the WIGS series "Blue," starring Julia Stiles, and "Christine," starring America Ferrera.

Michael Franck is an internationally awarded documentarian, who has directed and produced more than 150 documentaries shown both on Finnish television and internationally. His films main focus is on Finnish and Nordic political history and entrepreneurship, future living conditions seen from a scientific perspective as well as socio-political and human bridge building in the Middle East, where his family has been working and living for three generations.

Currently he and his team have several documentary films in production through his own production company Franck Doc in co-operation with Parad Fakta production house. These include the story of the legendary Finnish Student Union, that came to be a base for the country´s globally known education system, and Michael Franck´s documentary portrait My Godfather and Kekkonen, featuring the controversial Finnish cold war time pro western parliamentarian Georg C. Ehrnrooth, the documentarist´s own godfather, whom Michael as a young politician in the 1970's decided to disagree with. Michaels both older sons; award-winning documentarian Arthur Franck and producer Edvin Franck, also work with their fathers on different documentary projects.

Marcy Garriott is an independent documentary filmmaker based in Austin, Texas. An electrical engineer and still photographer coming out of college, she was a telecommunications executive for 15 years before turning to filmmaking and social activism. Her Director/Producer credits include the award-winning documentary films Split Decision and Inside the Circle.  Marcy also produced The Least of These (about immigrant child detention) and the CNN documentary An Unreal Dream: The Michael Morton Story.  Most recently she served as an Executive Producer on the documentary films Peace Officer and Building the American Dream. Marcy is a former board member and President of the Austin Film Society, and a current Advisory Board member of Cine Las Americas

Susan Morgan Cooper is a director, producer and writer. Her credits include: To the Moon and Back, Documentary, Director/Producer/Writer 2016; Hopper, Documentary, Producer/Writer 2013; Mulberry Child, Documentary, Director/Producer/Writer; An Unlikely Weapon, Documentary, Director/Producer/Writer 2008; Making of Shadows in The Sun, Documentary, Director/Producer/Writer 2005; Heroes and Sheroes, Television Series, Director/Producer/Writer 2000; Mirjana: One Girl's Journey, Documentary, Director/Producer/Writer 1997; Stringers, Narrative Short Director/Producer/Writer 1990; Hadley's Rebellion, Narrative Feature Associate Producer 1989.

Daria Mashouf is Director of Development for MOZAIK, a new millennial led philanthropic organization committed to exploring and modeling new practices in philanthropy with disruptive, creative and catalytic potential. Based in Los Angeles, CA, Daria is focused on aligning the foundation's portfolio with its mission and bringing a newfound commitment to Socially Responsible Investing through the lens of diversity, equity and inclusion as well as universal human rights. He bases the foundation of his efforts and guiding principles on promoting social and environmental justice through the arts.

Chale Nafus - Born in Dallas during World War II, Chale Nafus attended public schools, spent summers on his sister's ranch in Comanche County in the 1950s, learned Spanish from schoolmates, and dreamed of getting out of Dallas. After getting through freshman year at SMU, he worked at Texas Instruments before realizing he really needed a college education. After attending the University of Texas at Arlington (B.A., English), La Universidad Autónoma de México, and UT Austin (M.A., English/RTF), he began a long college teaching career at Texas Southmost College (Brownsville), La Universidad de Puerto Rico at Mayaguez, Borough of Manhattan Community College, Kingsborough Community College (Brooklyn), and finally Austin Community College (1973-1998). At the latter, he founded the Department of Radio-TV-Film, taught classes in film studies, and for seven years served as Chair of Humanities (Northridge Campus). Retiring in 1998, Chale spent 4 years traveling and writing before joining the staff of Austin Film Society as Director of Programming (2002-2015). He is now totally retired and happily serving on the boards of Austin Film Society and OUTsider Fest as well as the advisory committees of IndieMeme (South Asian film organization) and Cine Las Americas.

Adam Shepherd, President and Chief Executive Officer of Go Energistics (GoE), has been a champion for social awareness and strong supporter of numerous non-profit organizations dedicated to healing.  As the founder of (GoE) a Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB), Adam is devoted to serving the men and women of our Nation's military, Veterans, and their families by supporting the health care systems that serve them. 

Adam's appreciation for the arts, especially cinema and its power to globally unite people, drives him to serve a higher purpose that goes beyond traditional borders.  Adam's philosophy and core belief that each of us can have a positive impact in our world are echoed through GoE's sponsorship of the Bridging the Borders Award; which recognizes and highlights those who are most successful in bringing people of our world closer together through film.    Adam is an active Board Member for two charitable organizations - Yellow Ribbon Fund (which provides assistance to Veterans recovering from service-related injuries) and Living Proof Cancer Warriors (which provides financial support to patients during their battle against cancer).  Adam has received numerous service awards including the Military Bronze Star and the Defense Meritorious Service Medal.principles on promoting social and environmental justice through the arts.

Bijan Tehrani, founder and director of I, Immigrant and founder of Cinema Without Borders (CWB) and CineEqual is an award-winning author of children's books and short films. Tehrani has been a passionate advocate of human rights, which he has actively pursued as a filmmaker, -historian, and -critic over the past five decades.

Tehrani initiated CineEqual, a multi-faceted program that includes I, Immigrant and is administered by the CWB Foundation, in 2018. Since its founding in 2005, CWB has interviewed and introduced over 2,000 filmmakers from around the globe, a majority of them champions of social justice and human rights. Terry George, Academy winner and director of Hotel Rwanda, had this to say on the 10th anniversary of CWB: "At a time when media consolidation is threatening diverse and unique voices, Cinema Without Borders provides a forum for underrepresented perspectives and stories. Now more than ever, we need to reach across cultural, political and national lines. Cinema Without Borders is part of this critical work."

local jury

Roxanna Garcia is a local Coachella Valley resident who loves Foreign cinema and attends the Palm Springs International Film Festival every year. She is excited to take an active role and contribute this year.

Diane P. Haaga, Ph.D. | I am retired and was formerly a Human Resources professional and an Organizational Consultant.  I am a ten year resident of Palm Springs and love my community.  I volunteer weekly at Mizell Senior Center and am a Eucharistic Minister in my parish, Our Lady of Guadalupe, bringing communion to a local nursing home.  I served on the Board of Gilda's Club, a cancer support community.  I have a partner and we enjoy travel, the beach, her dachshund- Samantha, our families, and seeing films together!

Liza Ivins is former Inspector General- Special Agent in Charge (SAC) for the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) Pacific Rim. Prior to her appointment at GSA, Liza, as a Senior Official with the Internal Revenue Criminal Investigation Division (CID), directed several significant global financial probes with Mexico, Bogotá, Colombia and Trinidad. Liza was Appointed American Embassy Liaison, Money Laundering Instructor for Foreign law enforcement, Caribbean Financial Action Task Force(CFATF), and Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC). Served in leadership and director capacities as FinCEN Representative for IRS CID, Interpol and CIA National Liaison for IRS International, Black Market Peso Exchange Interagency Chair, and Treasury Liaison for the Undersecretary of the Treasury.

Raymond Johnson is the former Operations Chief of the Treasurer and Tax Collector Department of Los Angeles County. After a 44 year career with positions in Public Service, Public Health and Hospital Administration, he retired to the Coachella Valley in 2018. Raymond volunteers for the Coachella Valley Repertory, Cathedral City Fire Department and the Brothers of the Desert, an emerging non-profit organization. Raymond enjoys live theater, traveling and spending time with his grandchildren.

Young cineastes

Hello, I am Shelby Armor and a graduate from the class of 2020 at Palm Valley School. I am 17 years old and live in Rancho Mirage. Throughout my high school career, my experiences with, as well as my love of film have grown tremendously. Having worked on short films and been a part of my school's film club, I hope to continue to learn more about film and its many dimensions in college.

My name is Graham Bennett. I have been acting since I was eight where I started with stage work but soon started acting in front of a camera as well. I have also written and directed a couple shorts and started a personal production company, Color House. I am a high school senior. My dream is to act in major motion pictures and create entertainment I am proud of. I am returning juror as I was a previously a member of the 2019 ShortFest and PSIFF Young Cineastes Juries.

I am Angie Carroll, I'm sixteen years old going into my senior year at Xavier College Prep High School. I am a passionate athlete where I am a devoted member of my schools basketball and track & field teams. I have grown up in Rancho Mirage, and along with athletics I have also been very committed to theater and acting. I have done Starlight dance shows and been involved in my school's musical productions. I attended the Palm Springs Film Festivals for the first time this year which inspired a new interest in movies and led to joining the Youth Jury this summer

Chase Carroll, Palm Desert

Lindsay Frazer | I am a high school sophomore from Palm Desert. This is my first year as a juror on the Palm Springs Youth Cineastes Jury, and I am already a member of the Palm Springs Student Film Society. Aside from my interest in film, I study fashion as well. During my freshman year I was the graphic designer and aesthetics coordinator for the FIDM Fashion Club. I plan to work in the film or fashion industry after college.

William Harris | I am 17 years old and an incoming senior at Palm Springs High School. I currently hold the #1 class rank and aim to be the PSHS class of 2021 valedictorian. At my school, I run a biweekly news segment, in which myself and another student cover noteworthy world events. I also serve as the treasurer of the film club, in which I, along with my peers, have written and produced a few short films together. Additionally, over my winter break, I worked as a volunteer for the PSIFF and I am now very excited to be a part of the 2020 Young Cineastes Jury for ShortFest! In the future, I hope to pursue a career in the world of filmmaking, although I am not sure exactly in what direction I want to pursue that just yet

Hello I'm Daniel Lorette! I attend Yucca Valley High School. I'm 17 and reside in Yucca Valley! I am devoured to student life on my school campus and am planning on running for student class President. I am a returning juror for the youth jury and happy to be involved with the Palm Springs Intl. Film Fest! I am currently working on graduating and hopefully attending San Diego State! I am passionate about film making and business.

Leo Milmet | I am a 17-year-old rising senior at Palm Valley School who lives in Rancho Mirage, California. I am a longtime patron of the Palm Springs Film Society, so it is an honor to be part of the 2020 Young Cinéastes Jury for the first time.  I have been acting for a long time in plays at my school and small local theatrical productions. I am a passionate cinephile and the head of the film club at my school. I am grateful to also be involved as a board member of a couple local charity organizations. My hope is to make a living writing and directing small-scale, human character dramas on the stage and screen.

Daniela Uribe, La Quinta

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Jim Cummings is a Sundance and South by Southwest winning filmmaker whose short comedy, Thunder Road, is considered to be one of the best short films ever made.

Mia Galuppo is a staff writer at The Hollywood Reporter, covering the film industry. Her writing has also appeared in GQ, Vice, InStyle and the California Sunday Magazine.

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Mike Dougherty is currently the Director of Festival Programming for Outfest, the world's leading LGBTQIA+ organization dedicated to the exhibition and preservation of queer film, and the education of the next generation of queer storytellers. Dougherty oversees the programming for Outfest Los Angeles Film Festival, Outfest Fusion, and Outfest Always On. Prior to Outfest, he worked in the festival world as an Associate Programmer with AFI Fest and as Director of Programming for the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles. He also spent over ten years in the production and distribution arm of the entertainment industry, first as a Creative Executive at Hyde Park Entertainment, and then Head of Acquisitions for boutique international sales agent Radiant Films International. He lives in Silver Lake, Los Angeles with his partner Chris.

Since 2012, Andrew Murphy has served as Director of Programming at Inside Out. While leading the artistic direction for the Toronto and Ottawa LGBT Film Festivals as well as year-round initiatives, he helped launch the organization's Industry program, including the world's first LGBTQ film financing forum. Prior to Inside Out, Murphy was Programming Manager for the Atlantic Film Festival and ViewFinders International Film Festival for Youth for more than a decade. Murphy has previously served on the jury for the Berlin Film Festival's Teddy Award and for Cardiff's Iris Prize among other film and financing juries.

Alice Royer is a film and media programmer, scholar, and archivist in Los Angeles. Most recently, Alice was the Manager of Programming and Special Events for the School of Film and Television at Loyola Marymount University. She has contributed to programming for numerous film festivals, including Sundance, Outfest, AFI FEST, and the Los Angeles Film Festival, and served on the Teddy Jury at the Berlin International Film Festival. From 2014-2016, she was the Legacy Project Manager for Outfest, where she oversaw the only program in the world exclusively dedicated to protecting and preserving LGBTQ film, the Outfest UCLA Legacy Project. In addition to her film festival work, she has taught courses in Cinema & Media Studies, LGBTQ Studies, and Communication Studies at UCLA, Cal State Long Beach, and Woodbury University. She holds a PhD in Cinema & Media Studies from UCLA, an MA in Moving Image Archive Studies from UCLA, and a BA in Film Studies and Sociology from Vassar College.

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Mitch Davis has been a Director of International Programming at the Fantasia Film Festival in Montreal since 1997, and Co-Festival-Director since 2003. As a filmmaker, Davis directed the shorts DIVIDED INTO ZERO (1999 - winner, Jury Award for Best Narrative Short at the Chicago Underground Film Festival) and GOD'S LITTLE GIRL (2006) and produced Karim Hussain's transgressive feature debut SUBCONSCIOUS CRUELTY (2000) as well as Rick Trembles' GOOPY SPASMS (2004). Most recently, he was an associate Producer on the anthology feature ABC'S OF DEATH 2 (2014). Among his other endeavors, Davis has written for a multitude of cinema and culture publications including Fangoria, Rue Morgue Magazine, Eyeball and the Harvard film journal Post Script and has written chapters for a number of FAB Press publications, including ART OF DARKNESS: THE CINEMA OF DARIO ARGENTO and TEN YEARS OF TERROR: BRITISH HORROR FILMS OF THE 1970's.  From 1999-2006, he was a programmer at Montreal rep theatre Cinema Du Parc.

Kier-La Janisse is a film writer and programmer, founder of Spectacular Optical Publications and The Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies. She is the author of A Violent Professional: The Films of Luciano Rossi (2007) and House of Psychotic Women: An Autobiographical Topography of Female Neurosis in Horror and Exploitation Films (2012) and co-edited (with Paul Corupe) and published the anthology books KID POWER! (2014), Satanic Panic: Pop-Cultural Paranoia in the 1980s (2015), Lost Girls: The Phantasmagorical Cinema of Jean Rollin (2017) and Yuletide Terror: Christmas Horror on Film and Television (2017). She edited the book Warped & Faded: Weird Wednesday and the Birth of the American Genre Film Archive (forthcoming), and is currently co-authoring (with Amy Searles) the book 'Unhealthy and Aberrant': Depictions of Horror Fandom in Film and Television and co-curating (with Clint Enns) an anthology book on the films of Robert Downey, Sr., as well as writing a monograph about Monte Hellman's Cockfighter. She was a producer on Mike Malloy's Eurocrime: the Italian Cop and Gangster Films That Ruled the '70s and Sean Hogan's We Always Find Ourselves in the Sea and her first film as director/producer, Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: A History of Folk Horror is due out from Severin Films in 2020.

Peter Kuplowsky is a film curator, producer, writer and hat enthusiast based in Toronto. Since 2005, he has established a career championing genre cinema and outsider art at various international film festivals, including Toronto After Dark, Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas, and the Toronto International Film Festival's Midnight Madness section. Over the past few years, Kuplowsky has helped develop and produce a number of critically acclaimed short and feature films with emerging filmmakers that he supported on the festival circuit as a programmer. His producer credits include the concluding segment Z is for Zygote in the anthology film The ABCs of Death: Part 2 (2014), The Interior (2015), The Void (2016), Climate of the Hunter (2019) and PG: Psycho Goreman (2020). He also co-hosts The Laser Blast Film Society, a monthly eccentric film series at Toronto's Royal Cinema that culminates annually with a contemporary outsider cinema programme entitled What The Film Festival.

2020 ShortFest