Several short films from Flanders are selected for this year’s Palm Springs International Short Film Festival (18-24 June). The selectees will be screened in various different sections of the festival. Perfect Drug by Toon Aerts was chosen for the WTF? segment, while Lukas Dhont’s Headlong was picked for the Si C’est Bon programme. Hisko Hulsing’s Junkyard, a co-production with Flanders, made the call as part of the Crimes And Misdemeanours section. Finally, Double Room, Chopper and Marcel, King of Tervuren also add a touch of Flanders to the Palm Springs line-up.
The Palm Springs International ShortFest is one of the largest showcases of short films in North America, this year marking its 19th edition. The seven-day competitive festival screens approximately 300 films from 40 countries in a series of 90-minute programmes and has about twenty competitive categories awarding prize money.
Written and directed by Toon Aerts, Perfect Drug is set to screen as part of the fest’s WTF? category. It is one of five extravagant and out-there short films, selected for their bizarre themes and perfect execution. The film shows the story of Misha, Yumiko and Chinatsu who have stolen a number of test tubes from a lab. Things don’t go according to plan and Misha ends up drinking one of the tubes, causing some extraordinary effects. Perfect Drug already won the Silver Méliès for Best European Fantastic Short Film in Amsterdam. Koen Mortier and Eurydice Gysel produced the film for Epidemic.
Love, crimes and misdemeanours
The section Si C’est Bon, which encompasses six films revolving around the topic of love in one way or another, invited Lukas Dhont’s 17-minute short Headlong. The film depicts a young ballet dancer residing in a foreign place on account of a dance competition. Alone in his hotel room loneliness overpowers him, until he meets a stranger on the run. Produced by Siel Van Daele, the film recently took home the Grand Prix in the Next Generation Competition of the Brussels Short Film Festival.
The Palm Springs fest’s Crimes And Misdemeanours section chose five short stories depicting crimes – either real or imagined ones. Amongst the selectees we find Junkyard by Hisko Hulsing, an animated short film about a man who is about to die after being robbed and stabbed by a junkie. In the last seconds before he dies, a youth friendship flashes before his eyes. At the Shanghai TV Festival Junkyard was recently awarded the Animation Jury’s Grand Prix. Cinété’s Willem Thijssen came on board as Flemish co-producer for the film.
Another three shorts display some Belgian flair at the festival: Marcel, King of Tervuren by American animator Tom Schroeder is a Greek tragedy acted out by roosters and narrated by the Belgian Ann Berckmoes. Double Room, a short film by Belgian director Matthieu Mortelmans, is screening as part of Crime Scenes and tells the tale of a doctor who ends up in a small hotel in a downtown area and is asked to help care for a badly beaten woman.
Finally, the Dutch animated short film Chopper will be showing in the Food For Thought category. Flemish directors are Lars Damoiseaux and Frederik Palmaers, who created a story about a praying mantis that gets eaten by a frog, causing a chain reaction of death to unfold.
Both Perfect Drug and Junkyard received support from the Flanders Audiovisual Fund/Film Fund of Flemish Cultural Affairs Minister Joke Schauvliege.