By Heidi Simmons

The Palm Springs International ShortFest & Short Film Market officially begins at the Camelot Theaters June 17 and runs through the 23rd. This entertaining fest will present 320 plus films from over 50 countries! But if you feel like a quickie now, all you have to do is log onto the festival website to view ten free online screenings.

“This year we are once again delighted to be showcasing such strong, fun and accomplished short films in our Online Festival,” said Kathleen McInnis ShortFest Director. “It’s the first-look at the kind of films the audience will see in the main festival.”

For the last four years, the ShortFest has chosen ten films that characterize the flavor of the festival. “It’s a great way to get a sense of the short form cinema we like to program,” said McInnis.

McInnis and her team received film submissions from well over 80 countries this year. Part of the Online Festival is to allow the films to be shared with audiences in each one of those countries. “The Online Festival is the way to do it, and we couldn’t be more excited to be represented by these striking short films,” said Mcinnis.

Online viewers can vote for a favorite beginning June 10. Voting ends June 21. An “Online Audience Award” will be announced at the Festival Award Ceremony on closing night.

Here is the list of films selected for the ShortFest Online Film Festival:

Jennifer Lawrence is Coming (USA) – Two deluded J-Law fans are getting text messages from their inamorata promising she’ll drop by… Director: Justin Dec. Cast: Taylor Miller, Denver Milord, Clancy McLain.

Juliet (Australia) – Obsessed with Shakespeare and Alex, the hottest guy in school playing Romeo in the school play, Brooke is convinced the way to her Romeo’s heart is to star opposite him in the school play…and she will do anything to get the part. Director: Martin Høgberget. Cast: Madeleine Vizard, Andreas Lohmeyer, Nicholas Starte, Ayeesha Ash, Charlotte Devenport, Andries Weidemann & William Thompson.

Level Last 1457 (Spain) – In the distant future, a subterranean worker longs to see the earth’s surface no matter the cost. Director: Xabier Urrutia Perez

Men and Women (Ireland) – The film follows a nine year old girl over the Christmas of 1979 as her loss of innocence is reflected in her realization that neither Santa nor relations between her parents are what they seem. Based on the short story of the same name from Claire Keegan’s collection Antarctica, a Los Angeles Times Best Book, a recipient of the prestigious Rooney Prize for Irish Literature. Director: Ruth Meehan. Cast: Michael Harding, Caitriona Ni Mhurchu, Sophie Scully, Max Keeley.

Monotony (UK) – Things take on a new perspective for a drudge working in a monotonous paper-pushing job in an anonymous office when an unexpected visitor arrives to brighten up his day. Director: Joanne Postlewaite. Cast: Martin Durrant, Simon Fitzpatrick.

The Offering (USA) – A father and his son head for their mandated regular rendezvous with some unseen primal creature when the father realizes he’s left a crucial ingredient from their expected offering at home: the meat. This twisted tale puts a new spin on the slogan “It’s what’s for dinner…” Director: Ryan Patch. Cast: Bob Jaffe, Jared Smith.

Practical Things (USA) – A girl, who’s a new student at school, is being shown around by another girl, who she finds herself attracted to despite their seeming differences. One has practical knowledge, while the other knows lots of facts, but is craving experiences… Director: Kris Boustedt, Lindy Boustedt. Cast: Emi Schwartz, Madeline Elizabeth.

Transmormon (USA) – Eri Hayward, born and raised in conservative Utah County, as a strict Mormon, realizes something isn’t adding up. Director: Torben Bernhard. Cast: Eri Hayward, Ed Hayward, Keiko Hayward.

Tulkou (France) – An aging fisherman on a remote island hopes he has caught himself a friend, but fails to see how a landlocked life is causing his new companion to perish. Director: Sami Guellai, Mohamed Fadera.

Woodhouse (UK) – An errant house pet causes an unwitting, disparate group of characters into a mysterious quest in which their lives intersect in the local nature preserve. Director: Fred Rowson. Cast: Edmund Dehn, Jessica Rose, Michael Kirk, Esther Smith.

The Online Film Festival will continue to play even after the close of the festival. These short gems can be seen online through August.

Beside what is being shown online and in theaters, there are over 3,000 additional festival submissions in the ShortFest Market. A complete line-up is available on the website.

This is the ShortFest’s 20th year. It is designated by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences as an award-qualifying festival and accredited by the International Short Film Conference. The Palm Springs International ShortFest and its Short Film Market is the largest and most important short film showcase in North America.