Bobby Garabedian's US/Czech Republic drama Most, a poignant tale of a railbridge tenderand his son, won the best of festival award as the 2003 Palm Springs InternationalFestival of Short Films closed on Sept 22.

Andrij Parekh's Ukraine/US sibling drama Dead Roosters won the Future Film-maker Award, whileMimi Gan's Pearl Harbour story With Honors Denied (US) won the Audience Award fordocumentary and Brett Hershey's drama US title Fast Cars And Babies was the audience's favourite live actionentry.

Aristomenis Tsirbas's US production Terra, about an alien's quest for knowledge,won the audience award for best animation.

The Kodak Award For Best Student Cinematography went to MasanobuTakayangi for the US production Shui Hen.

As part of the prize, Takayangi will be invited to the 2004 CannesInternational Film Festival to showcase a clip of the film.

Organisers have hailed theevent, which ran from Sept 16-22, as a record-breaker with more than 265screenings culled from an unprecedented 2,000 entries.

"Submissions jumped by 35% and film-maker and industry attendancesoared with total attendance up by 30% to over 11,000," festival chairman KevinMcGuire, who praised his festival team, said in a statement.

All award winners receiving a first place prize are automaticallyeligible for consideration by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences foran Academy Award nomination.

The jury awardedfive special awards of merit to Dominique Monfrey's animated Destino; actors Jonathan Furr (Two Soldiers) and Monique Dami (Sophie); cinematographer Askild Vik Edvardsen (TheSpade); and directorLaurel Almerinoa for her film firepussy.