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Palm Springs' ShortFest has a 'Soft' Spot

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Simon Ellis' "Soft," a film about a father who encounters a group of teenage thugs, was presented the best of festival award at the 2007 Palm Springs International Festival of Short Films & Short Film Market (ShortFest), which concluded Wednesday.

The fest winners, chosen from 322 short films that screened in competition, were announced Tuesday at the awards presentation held at the Camelot Theatre in Palm Springs.

In addition to "Soft," Jury Awards also went to Dee Rees' "Pariah," winner of the Future Filmmaker Award, and Moon Molson's "Pop Foul," winner of the Panavision Grand Jury Award.

The audience awards winners were: Stewart Schill's "I Hate Musicals," favorite live-action short; Cynthia Wade's "Freeheld," favorite documentary short; and Zeth Willie's "The Needful Head," favorite animation short.

Jury category award winners were:

-- Best live action under 15 minutes: Hanro Smitsman's "Contact/Raak," first place, and Erez Tadmor and Guy Nattiv's "Offside," second place;

-- Best live action over 15 minutes: Daniel Barber's "The Tonto Woman," first place, and John Arlotto's "Deface," second place;

-- Best animation, Chris Lavis and Maciek Szczerbowski's "Madame Tutli-Putli," first place, and Miguel Anaya's "Love at First Sight," second place;

-- Best documentary: Wade's "Freeheld," first place, and Tim Sterberg's "Salim Baba," second place

In the student categories, the winners were:

-- Best student live action under 15 minutes, Vineet Dewan's "Clear Cut, Simple," first place, and Amy Gebhardt's "Pleasance," second place;

-- Best student live action over 15 minutes, Rees' "Pariah," first place, and Grant Greenberg's "Cricket Head," second place;

-- Best student animation, Willie's "The Needful Head," first place and Sarah Orenstein's "Windows Masks Doors," second place;

-- Best student documentary, Peter Jordan and John Kane's "Left in Baghdad," and J.J. Adler's "Unattached," second place

-- Kodak Award for best student cinematography, Andrew McLeod, cinematographer, "Pleasance," first place, and Carlos Davis Colin Calderon, cinematographer, "If Eyes Can't See" (Ojos que no Van), second place

The Alexis Award for Best Emerging Student Filmmaker went to Greenberg's "Cricket Head." The Hard C Hi Five to Lo-Fi Award for best low-budget short went to Jonah Bekhor and Zach Math's "Egg Love." The Cinema Without Borders Best International Film Award went to Michaela Kezele's "Milan."

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Gregg Kilday writes for The Hollywood Reporter.

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