The inaugural festival ran for five days last January, hosting a program of live action, animation and documentaries, and bestowing a lifetime achievement award to silent-film actress Carla Laemmle. By the new year, 10 of Derek's entries for the 2013 festival had been shortlisted for the Oscar, and he approached Thursday's announcement with more than a little suspense.
When nine of the 10 made the final list, Derek was pleasantly taken aback.
"I don't believe any other festival has ever had this many nominations," he wrote in an email. "Last year, we had three that were on the short list but never made the final cut."
Will the nominations mean larger crowds? That remains to be seen. Dennis Baker, the director of short film programming for the Newport Beach Film Festival, has booked several films in recent years that scored nominations and even wins. Still, he said, those honors don't appear to translate into more ticket sales; one year, Baker set up a program of all Oscar-nominated shorts and got only a modest crowd.
Regardless, Baker said award-winning films make an attractive part of a program, and festival heads often keep tabs on which ones rack up laurels elsewhere.
"Just like Irvine or any other festival, we're aware of who's winning what," he said. "That's part of what we do. So we're always reaching out to get Academy nominees."
If You Go
What: Irvine International Film Festival
Where: Edwards Westpark 8, 3735 Alton Parkway, Irvine
Tickets and schedule: Visit http://www.irvinefilmfest.com/tickets-3 for program and prices
Information: (949) 800-6163