When the Palm Springs International ShortFest announced its Best of Fest winners Sunday 22 June at the Camelot Theatre in California, Egyptian director Omar El Zohairy's The Aftermath of the Inauguration of the Public Toilet at Kilometre 375 clenched the award for best student live action short over 15 minutes.
The Palm Springs festival, which was held from 17 to 23 June, celebrated its 20th year as the largest short festival in North America. It screened 330 short films this round, and distributed $115,000 in prizes.
First place winners in the student categories received a one-year download membership to Videoblocks, AudioBlocks or GraphicStock.
Zohairy's film was screened at the Cannes Film Festival last month as a contender in the Cinéfondation competition. His nomination marked Egypt's first in that category. The film, which was the director's High Cinema Institute graduation project, was selected as one of 16 titles from 1631 submissions from worldwide film schools.
The Aftermath of the Inauguration of the Public Toilet at Kilometre 375 is an adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s The Death of a Government Clerk. The protagonist in the 17-minute film is an anonymous employee in a governmental institution who sneezes in front of his boss and spends the remainder of the film fearing the repercussions of his "indiscretion."
"It’s essentially a story about fear,” Zohairy told Ahram Online earlier this month. The full interview can be found here.