The Sundance Instituteannounced yesterday (6) that 82 short films have been chosen from 3,887submissions to play at the Sundance Film Festival in January.

Narrative, documentary andanimated shorts will play in six programmes, with prizes on offer for outstandingachievement and merit in international and American entries.

Subjects cover a satiricallook at spelling bees, the conflict in the West Bank retold as West SideStory, and the tale of an Inuit manwho tries to bond with his father.

"Short films have always hadan important role in cinema," John Cooper, Sundance Film Festival director ofprogramming, said in a statement. "As the tools required to create films havebecome more accessible, new voices have emerged, making short films theepicentre for some of the most creative and challenging work being done today.

"We're delighted with thequality of this year's short films," Trevor Groth, Sundance Film Festivalsenior programmer, added. "These filmmakers are exploring new levels ofstorytelling and are using cutting edge techniques and technology."

Many of the shorts will alsoscreen on the festival's website for five months after the event ends on Jan30.