Anke Blondé’s Dura Lex and Michael Palmaers’s Nuru won Best Live Action Short and Best Animation respectively at the Palm Springs International Shortfest (19-25 June). Both films received $2,000 in cash and were automatically qualified for Academy Awards consideration.
Blondé’s Dura Lex, which was also named runner-up in the Bridging the Borders category, enjoyed its North American premiere in Palm Springs. The short deals with the subject of illegal immigration through the character of a young mother who receives an unexpected visit from a pair of detectives. In its home territory the film was selected for both the Flanders International Film Festival in Ghent and the Leuven International Short Film Festival, where it won Best Flemish short. Dura Lex is a production of Dirk Impens for Menuet.
In its press release the Palm Springs Shortfest described Nuru as a ‘dazzling, CG-enhanced story’. Earlier this year, the animated short featured at ANIMA in Brussels and the Clermont-Ferrand short fest. In Nuru, an opportunistic director of an abandoned zoo assigns a doctor to do some medical experiments on a gorilla, one of the few animals left in the zoo. The film is inspired by The Explanation and The Empire of Light by surrealist painter René Magritte and was produced by Eric Goossens for Walking the Dog (A Monster in Paris).
This year’s jury consisted of Richard Abramowitz (President of distribution and marketing company Abramorama), Lael Loewenstein, (President of the Los Angeles Film Critics’ Association and a critic for Variety) and Jane Schoettle (International Programmer for the Toronto International Film Festival). Palm Springs Shortfest is the largest short film festival and market in North America with over 300 short films and a total of $16,000 in cash awards.
Dura Lex and Nuru were not the only Flemish selections: Jeroen Bogaert’s Early Birds and Shattered Past by VAF-Wildcard winner Boris Sverlow also made the fest’s line-up.