The Bermuda InternationalFilm Festival (BIFF) has been selected as a qualifying festival for the ShortFilm Oscar category by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

The decision means thatshort films that win the Bermuda Shorts Award at BIFF 2005 and thereafter willautomatically qualify for Oscar consideration, provided they meet the Academy'sother qualifying criteria.

Normally, in order toqualify for Oscar consideration, a picture must have a theatrical run in LosAngeles County.

"This is wonderful news forour festival," BIFF director Aideen Ratteray Pryse said in a statement.

"It is a huge benefit forour winning short filmmaker, and I am certain it will result in an even greaternumber of entries being submitted to the festival.

"It is also a realendorsement of our short film programme, which has always been very strong."

The BIFF was established in1997 and will stage its 2005 festival from Mar 18-24.