By Humphrey Carter
MAJORCA'S second MFA Planet Europe Short Film Festival is already to roll next month with top Irish actor Colm Meaney headlining the illustrious jury this year and singer Andrea Corr on the guest list.

The curtain went up on the festival, directed by Irish resident filmmaker Philip Rogan, yesterday and will run from March 15 to 19.
This year, the hundreds of entries from across Europe have been slimmed down to 78 for final selection and screenings will be at the Sala Mozart in the Auditorium.

The festival has a budget of 167.000 euros and the backing of the tourism promotion department Ibatur, Palma Council, the Balearic government, Fundacion Real Mallorca, Aviba, the Mallorca Film Academy and organised by the Association for the Promotion of Communications and Visual Arts, the short film writers, directors and producers will compete in three categories. These are fiction, documentary and animation with a top prize in each of 6.000 euros.

Accompanying Colm Meaney, star of The Commitments, Con Air, Far and Away, The Van and more recently Layer Cake and Intermission with Colin Farrell, will be Majorcan actor James Bond and Bridget Jones star Simón Andreu; award-winning BBC documentary maker Simon Davis; Hollywood actor and teacher Bernard Hiller and animator Marcos Mateu who has worked with Dreamworks on feature-length animated films such as The Prince of Egypt and The Road to El Dorado.

Hiller will also be holding a special workshop during the festival.
The festival is not only aimed at those who have entered short films into competition but also budding film students and fans of the visual arts.
Throughout the five-day event, there will be a host of concerts and presentations as well as a series of industry workshops by Avida at the Auditorium and a crash course in filmmaking which will be held at the Mallorca Film Academy. Last year the festival received over 300 entries with 94 being shown in competition. Two of last year's entrants, Wasp by English director Andrea Arnold, and the Spanish short 7:35 de la mañana by Nacho Vigalondo, have been nominated for Oscars in the Best Live Action Short Film category, helping the festival to rapidly establish itself as one of the most important short film events in Europe. There will also be a host of industry professionals, directors, writers and producers from Spain and across Europe in Palma for the event. They include the two Majorcan directors Toni Bestard and Julio Robledo who directed El Viaje and the award-winning short The Trumous Show.


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