Palm Springs ShortFest to Honor Gus Van Sant! Check Out Complete Forums Schedule! 

The Palm Springs ShortFest has announced that highly-acclaimed writer/director Gus Van Sant will be presented with the ShortFest Spirit of Short Film Award as part of a special Directing Master Class presentation celebrating his work in film. A selection of his short films will be shown on Saturday, June 23rd at 2:30 p.m. with a discussion headed by Festival Director Darryl Macdonald. Van Sant, who earned Oscar nominations for "Good Will Hunting" and "Milk," was previously honored at the Palm Springs International Film Festival in 2009 when he received the Sonny Bono Visionary Award.

I personally salute the Palm Springs ShortFest. It is such a grassroots effort that honor the diversity and talent of many striving filmmakers. And most of the films shown move on to win Oscars such as "Freeheld" which won Best Documentary Short in 2008.

The Palm Springs ShortFest happens on June 19th to the 25th. For more details, click here.

Here's the schedule for this year's ShortFest Forums:

Friday, June 22nd

11:00 a.m. Meet the Programmers: Programmers from all arenas—festivals, broadcast, theatrical and online—will be on hand to talk about what it takes to be seen, and picked up, by them for exhibition in their particular venues.

Panelists confirmed at press time: Sharon Badal (Tribeca Film Festival), Beth Barrett (Seattle International Film Festival), Andrew Crane (American Cinemathique), Scott Dwyer (KQED-TV), Claudette Godfrey (SXSW), Brad Horvath (Ouat Media), David Nugent (Hamptons International Film Festival), Paul Sloop (Cleveland International Film Festival).

Moderator: John Anderson

1:00 p.m. Mythbusters: Filmmakers who have already been through the festival circuit with their first features and award-winning shorts (and some who are going through it now) will share their stories from the front lines, as well as look back to what they wished they had known before it all began.

Panelists: Robert Bella (Director/Producer), Blerim Gjoci (Writer/Producer/Actor), Matthew Lillard (Director), Katherine Lindberg (Writer/Director), Glenn Lund (Producer).

Moderator: Kathleen McInnis

3:00 p.m. Producers’ Landscape : This panel is designed for independent producers to talk about the current landscape for all things film including the creative, financial, marketplace and logistical aspects of making and marketing films.

Panelists confirmed at press time: Oorlagh George (Independent Producer, Academy Award Winner The Shore), Chris Goodwin (Head of Content, sister of Fox Digital Studios), Kevin Iwashina (Producer, Narrative Features), Ted Kroeber (Producer, Narrative Features/TV), Amy Lillard (Producer/Financier), Michael Roiff (Producer, Narrative Features).

Moderator: John Anderson

Saturday, June 23rd

10:30 a.m. Agent, Managers and Actors: Agents, managers and actors will debate, expose and illuminate the process by which projects get considered for attachments and packaging, and what elements filmmakers should be thinking about first to get to the best talent for their project.

Panelists confirmed at press time: Raul Castillo (Actor), Miles Levy (James Levy Mgt.), Brent Sexton (Actor, “The Killing”), Bec Smith (UTA), Peter Trinh (ICM).

Moderator: Kathleen McInnis

12:30 p.m. Cinematography Master Class with Robert Elswit, DP: Academy Award® winning cinematographer Robert Elswit shot one of the most amazing and daring scenes in motion picture history. The film was last year’s Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol and the scene showed star Tom Cruise hanging from the world’s tallest building in Dubai—and the camera crew was right there with him. Elswit was awarded his Oscar® for the 2008 There Will Be Blood. He has been director of photography on more than 60 films, going back more than 30 years including The Town, Good Night and Good Luck, Salt, Michael Clayton, Syriana and Tomorrow Never Dies. Robert’s most recent film is The Bourne Legacy starring Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz and Edward Norton and set for release in August.

Moderator: John Anderson

Sunday, June 24th

10:00 a.m. Filmmakers and Industry Brunch

12:00 p.m. Meet the Press: Chroniclers, purveyors, assessors of the film industry at large, these top film journalists will speak about trends in storytelling, advances in technologies, the value of awards, and the festival circuit.

Panelists confirmed at press time: John Anderson (New York Times, Variety), Steve Gaydos (Variety), Dana Harris, (IndieWire), John Horn (LA Times), Gregg Kilday (The Hollywood Reporter), Steve Pond (The Wrap).

Moderator: Kathleen McInnis

Industry Roundtables
New this year, the Industry Roundtables consist of three industry experts and seven filmmakers meeting together for an unscripted, no-holds-barred, private conversation. These roundtables are meant to be unfettered, unstructured, intimate and casual opportunities for our filmmakers to pick the brains of the industry representatives attending.

Those scheduled at press time to participate include: Scilla Andreen (Buyer, IndieFlix), Kalman Apple (Buyer, Shorts International), Sharon Badal (Programmer, Tribecca), Beth Barrett (Programmer, Seattle), Robert Bella (Post Production Supervisor/Filmmaker), Kimberly Browning (Programmer, Hollywood Shorts), Ezra Buzzington (Actor/Filmmaker), Nancy Collet (Festival Consultant), Alessandro Cortini (Composer), Mike Dallatorre (Services, Panavision), Scott Dwyer (Buyer/Exhibition KQED/Imagemakers), Steve Gaydos (Variety), Asher Goldstein (Distribution/Acquisition Traction Media), Chris Goodwin (Head of Content Digital Studios), Eliza Hajek (SAG), Steven Hein (VP Production, Fox Digital Studios), Brad Horvath (Buyer, OUAT Media), Jon Korn (Programmer, Sundance), Ted Kroeber (Producer), Lisa Landi (Mgr Program Distribution, KQED), Amy Lillard (Financier, Washington Filmworks), Katherine Lindberg (Writer/Director), Kathy A. McDonald (Journalist), David Nugent (Programmer, Hamptons Film Festival), MJ Peckos (Distribution/Exhibition), Robert Ramsey (Screenwriter), Michael Roiff (Producer), BC Smith (Composer), Katherine Tulich (Journalist), Kim Yutani (Programmer, Sundance).

Panel only tickets are available for $10 each, Master Class tickets are $11 each. The Festival also offers the ShortFest Film School Weekend Pass for student filmmakers priced at $100 (with student ID). The pass provides access Friday, June 22 through Sunday, June 24 for regular film screenings, all panels and master classes and one festival-sponsored party on Saturday, June 23. Tickets can be purchased by calling (760) 322-2930 or visiting

About Palm Springs International ShortFest
Designated by AMPAS as an award-qualifying festival, and accredited by the International Short Film Conference, the Palm Springs International ShortFest and its Short Film Market are the largest and most prominent short film showcase in North America. The Festival and its concurrent 3,000-film Market continue to serve as a scouting ground for new filmmaking talent and are well attended by those in the business of buying and selling short films.

The Palm Springs International ShortFest is supported by an ever-growing number of new and longtime sponsors with local, national and international prominence. The Title Sponsor is the City of Palm Springs with Presenting Sponsors The Desert Sun and Spencer’s. Major Sponsors include, Panavision, The BottomLine, Stampede Post Productions, Greenhouse Studios, KQED San Francisco and The Australian Consulate General in Los Angeles. Special support has been provided by The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. The official host hotel and media center is the Renaissance Palm Springs. More information is available online at or by calling (800) 898-7256.

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