The Palm Springs International Shortfest has selected four Flemish short films from over 3,000 worldwide entries. Anke Blondé’s Dura Lex, VAF Wildcard winner Boris Sverlow’s Shattered Past, Jeroen Bogaert's Early Birds and Michael Palmaers’s Nuru were added to the fest’s line-up. Palm Springs promises to once again attract a Hollywood crowd with its star-studded shorts such as Pitch Black Heist with Michael Fassbender and The End with Charlotte Rampling.

Still from Michael Palmaers's NuruAnké Blondé’s Dura Lex is set for its North American premiere in Palm Springs, where it is screening in the ‘Results may vary’ programme. In Dura Lex, Kristi, a single mother, gets a visit from two police detectives who are searching for an illegal Albanian refugee who is suspected of human trafficking. When they begin interrogating her, Kristi finds herself faced with a difficult decision. Main roles are shared by Wine Dierickx (Madonna’s Pig, With Friends Like These),Wim Willaert (22nd of May) and Nico Sturm (Pulsar, S&M Judge). Dura Lex is a production of Dirk Impens for Menuet. Late last year, the short won Best Flemish short at the Leuven International Short Film Festival.

Jeroen Bogaert's Early Birds can celebrate its world premiere in California as part of the Taboo programme of 'provocative shorts films’. In Early Birds, a 12-year-old girl, Mila, shares a very curious bond with her coach and next door neighbour, which comes to a head one early morning as he prepares to leave, bound for a new home in Italy.

Boris Sverlow’s Shattered Past had its North American premiere at the Cinequest Film Festival earlier this year. The film had already earned the director a VAF Wildcard late last year and the Award for Best Student Film at the ANIMA festival in Brussels. The VAF Wildcard programme is aimed at giving recently graduated filmmaking talent the chance to embark on a first professional project. In Shattered Past a man is writing his memoirs. In the middle of this he suddenly suffers a stroke. This catapults him back into his childhood during the Russian revolution and his family’s ensuing escape.

Finally, Michael Palmaers’s Nuru – described by the festival as a ‘dazzling, CG-enhanced story’ – is no stranger to the festival circuit. The film has already been selected for Fantasporto, Clermont-Ferrand, ANIMA and the Leuven international Short Film Festival. 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).

‘Once again this year the festival’s global reach has exceeded our expectations,’ said ShortFest Film Curator Kathleen McInnis. ‘With well over 50 countries represented, the breadth and depth of storytelling we are seeing defies politics, government-imposed boundaries and oppression to illuminate the collective human condition. The thrill of having so many filmmakers from such varied world cultures attend the festival inspires and reignites our own love of cinema.’

Published on Wednesday 20 June 2012

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