The Palm Springs Int’l Festival of Short Films concluded over the weekend with two animated films standing out among the winners. The jury picked the stop-motion short Madame Tutli-Putli from Canadian filmmakers Chris Lavis and Maciek Szczerbowski for first place in the animation category, while American Zeth Willie’s The Needful Head picked up the Audience Award for animation and placed first in the Best Student Animation category.
Lavis and Szczerbowski received a $2,000 cash prize for Madame Tutli-Putli, which edged out second-place finisher De la Vista Nace el Amor (Love at First Sight) from Miguel Anaya of Mexico. Anaya took home $500.
Madame Tutli-Putli takes the viewer on an existential journey when the title character boards the night train, weighed down with all her earthly possessions and the ghosts of her past. Producer Marcy Page and exec producer David Verrall have both worked on numerous National Film Board of Canada productions, most recently the Oscar-winning shorts Ryan from director Chris Landreth and The Danish Poet by Torill Kove. Madame Tutli-Putli recently won the Canal + Award at the Cannes Film Festival and will next screen at this month’s Ottawa Int’l Animation Festival.
Willie’s The Needful Head placed ahead of fellow American Sarah Orenstein’s Windows Masks Doors in the Best Student Animation contest. The Needful Head combines 2D and 3D animation as it tells the tale of a man who gets sick of his head and the trouble it gets him in, and decides to remove it. He is then troubled to find that the head won’t leave him alone. Narrated in verse, the film is adapted from a short book by Richard Bailey and is influenced by the likes of Edward Gory, Dr. Seuss, Aardman Animations and Jan Svankmajer.
Jury members for the Palm Springs Int’l Festival of Short Films included director John Dahl (You Kill Me), Bijan Tehrani from Cinema Without Borders, Time Magazine‘s Rebecca Winters Keegan, Sundance Film Festival short film programmer Kimberly Yutani and Echo Lake Ent.’s Amotz Zakai. For more information on the fest, go to www.psfilmfest.org.