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Palm Springs Film Fest Opens with Coach Carter

By Keiko Beatie

Palm Springs International Film Festival opened this week to rave reviews with COACH CARTER.  On hand were stars Samuel L. Jackson and Director Thomas Carter as they walked the Red-Carpet at the Palm Springs High School Auditorium.  The Festival now in its 16th year has one of the most dynamic programs to date as a majority of the Foreign Oscar contention films and Premiere events that will be screened throughout the 12-day Festival which runs from January 6th to the 17th, 2005.

Definitely a prestigious Festival within the Untied States, Palm Springs is among the top ten Festivals and rising up the ladder of respect and admiration in the industry.  Executive Director Darryl MacDonald has work to stabilize and polish by bringing in tried and true staff to up grade the Festival.  Supported with outstanding insight amongst Festivals, Mac Donald has had the golden touch and this years festival is shinning across the desert. 
Last year, the Festival gathered attendance of over 92,000 during its twelve-day span, and this year expects attendance to top 100,000.  This truly marks Palm Springs as one of the largest film festivals in the United States and one of the top contenders in the world.

Still from Ladies in Lavender

Over 190 films from 65 countries will be presented during the Festival, including 14 World Premieres, 20 North American Premieres, and 46 US Premieres. Over 40 of this years 50 official submissions for Oscar consideration in the Best Foreign Film category will be screened, along with the official short-listed finalists in the Best Documentary category of the Academy Awards. Palm Springs this year had an amazing deluge of submissions from over 50 countries.  During the Festival theyll have five International Galas of the top major new international films marking their U.S. or World premieres and  will garner the red-carpet treatment, with their directors and/or major creative talent in attendance and a public reception following each of the screenings

The Awards Gala for Palm Springs will be the first key event of the year where the whos who of Hollywood and International film industry will be represented.  With Entertainment Tonight Mary Hart set to be the Hostess for the event this will be a star-studded celebration of cinema, featuring in-person Award presentations to the biggest names on the contemporary movie scene, as well as tributes to screen legends are on the menu at this annual Awards show held at the Palm Springs Convention Center. Among the honorees at this years Gala: Screen legend Kirk Douglas, who will receive the Festivals Life Achievement Award. Actors Liam Neeson, Laura Linney, Kevin Spacey, and Samuel L. Jackson, Film Composer Howard Shore and fast-rising screen ingénue Bryce Dallas Howard will also be among the Gala awardees. The award presenters are every bit as stellar as the honourees at this annual Festival highlight!

This year Palm Springs will share a Cine Latino with audience as a special program of 32 new films will be unveiled.  This striking showcase of new films from Latin America, Spain and Portugal features guest appearances by the brightest lights in contemporary Latin filmmaking, and screenings of the hottest films emerging from the Latin film world. The series will include the presentation of the Festivals International Filmmaker Award to Brazilian filmmaker Walter Salles for directing, producing and mentoring.
The long awaited LADIES IN LAVENDER will be the Closing Night Film.  This film had its World Premiere at the Toronto Film Festival and stars Dame Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Daniel Brühl and the Director is Charles Dance.  Set in a Cornish fishing village Smith and Dench play the roles of two sisters who find a washed up young stranger on the beach.  With two such revered actress in one film this US Premiere will be sure to add to the pleasure of the Festival.

The Palm Springs International Film Festival was first a vision created by the late Mayor Sonny Bono who wanted to build the once glamour to the desert community.  Through his dedication this annual event has brought not only glamour but an ever growing film focused life-style to the residents and returning guest to Palm Springs.  Sponsored by the City of Palm Springs and the Agua Caleinte Indian Tribe.  The Festival runs from January 6th to the 17th, 2005 with most screenings taking place at the Palm Springs Regal Cinema, The Camelot Theatres and the Annenberg Museum.  For ticket information go to the website at or by calling 1-800-898-plam



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