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Palm Springs International Film Festival Unveils 2005 Roster

By Keiko Beatie

The Palm Springs International Film Festival, now in its 16th year has unveiled the program set for the January festival, featuring a wonderful array of 190 films, from more than 65 countries. This is a dynamic presentation of 79 premieres (14 World, 45 U.S. and 20 North American). Also of the 50 films submitted for consideration in the Best Foreign Language Film category for the Academy Awards, 41 of these films will be part of this exciting Festival. The dates are set for January 6-17, 2005.

"This year's line-up is especially auspicious, featuring, as it does, a number of major premieres from both well-established authors and promising emerging filmmakers based in America and abroad," said Darryl Macdonald, Festival Executive Director. "The breadth and depth of the talent encompassed by the line-up is truly heartening, and we're especially delighted to have such a strong line-up of films from current cultural hotbeds of world cinema such as Argentina, Israel, China, Italy and Germany - all of whom are undergoing a resurgence, of sorts, of their national cinemas."

Seven films will screen in the Gala category including opening night film COACH CARTER, starring Samuel L. Jackson, and the U.S. Premiere of closing night film LADIES IN LAVENDER, starring Judi Dench and Maggie Smith. LADIES IN LAVENDER SCREENED at the Toronto International Film Festival to rave reviews and the Premiere of these films only supports the outstanding focus Palm Springs International Film Festival has.

Opening night will be held on Thursday, January 6, 2005 with Paramount Pictures' COACH CARTER, directed by Thomas Carter (SAVE THE LAST DANCE), starring Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Ri'Chard, Rob Brown, Debbi Morgan and Ashanti. Coach Ken Carter and the film's director are expected to attend the screening. The film's star Samuel L. Jackson will be honored at the Festival's Awards Gala on Saturday, January 8, 2005 with the Career Achievement Award for Acting. This film is based on a true story and the real Coach Ken Carter will be on hand at the Festival. The movie is an inspirational account of controversial high school basketball coach Ken Carter (Samuel L. Jackson), who received high praise and staunch criticism when he made national news for benching his entire undefeated team for poor academic performance.

The Festival will close on Sunday, January 16, 2005 with the U.S. premiere of Ladies in Lavender (United Kingdom), directed by Charles Dance, starring Judi Dench and Maggie Smith. The film follows two spinster sisters whose emotions are unleashed after a dapper young foreigner washes ashore on their beach on the eve of World War II. This film is sure to please many film lovers as both Smith and Dench are considered the classic jewels of the UK stage and screen.

Now considered by many within the film industry to be in the Top Ten of Festivals in the US, The Palm Springs International Film Festival was first founded in 1990 by then Mayor Sonny Bono. Bonos vision was to develop commerce and glamour back to the desert community and with that, the PSIFF is one of the largest film festivals in North America. The Festival has an attractive film sales and distribution record and is seen by American distributors as one of the best Academy Award campaign marketing tools. The Festival also features cultural events, filmmaker tributes, industry seminars and an annual black-tie gala award presentation.

World Premieres include Americano (USA/Spain), starring Joshua Jackson and Dennis Hopper, Everything Blue (Brazil/Mexico), Decryptage (France), Sergeant Pepper (Germany), The Civilization of Maxwell Bright (USA), Going Through Splat: The Life and Work of Stewart Stern (USA), Hate Crime (USA), The Last Mogul (USA/Canada), Life of the Party (USA), Ocean Odyssey (USA/Canada, Kingdom of Tonga), Say Yes Quickly (USA), The Thing About My Folks (USA), Voices In Wartime (USA). To name a few.

With many of the following films making their screen at the 2005 Festival are: Nietos (Identity and Memory) (Argentina), Roma (Argentina/Spain), Cazuza, There's No Stopping Time (Brazil), The Diary of a Provincial Girl (Brazil), Day and Night (China/France), El Rey (Colombia/France, Spain), Long Dark Night (Croatia), A Wonderful Night in Split (Croatia), Eros Therapy (France), Inguélézi (France), Yesterday Once More (Hong Kong), Changing Destiny (Italy), Consequences of Love (Italy), The Welts (Poland), The Miracle According to Salomé (Portugal/France), Goose Feather (Serbia/Montenergo), Beneath Her Window (Slovenia), Bars in the Memory (Spain), Hours of Light (Spain), As It Is In Heaven (Sweden). Earth and Ashes (Afghanistan/France), It's Not You, It's Me (Argentina), Little Sky (Argentina), The Alzheimer Case (Belgium), La Femme de Gilles (Belgium), Almost Brothers (Brazil), Mila from Mars (Bulgaria), Prom Queen (Canada), White Skin (Canada), Wilby Wonderful (Canada), Electric Shadows (China), Two Great Sheep (China), The Art of Losing (Columbia/Spain), Three Times Two (Cuba), Return to Sender (Denmark/UK), Strings (Denmark/Sweden; UK; Norway), 5 X 2 - Five Times Two (France), Bad Spelling (France), Deadlines (France/UK, Tunisia), Genesis (France/Italy), When the Tide Comes In (France), The Story of My Life (France), Downfall (Germany), The Ninth Day (Germany/Luxembourg), Summer Storm (Germany), Cold Light (Iceland/UK, Norway, Germany), Avanim (Israel/France), First Love (Italy), An Italian Romance (Italy/France), Vento di Terra (Italy), Marebito (Japan), The Hunter (Kazakhstan/Japan/France/Switzerland/the Netherlands), Tarfaya (Morocco/France), Justice (Netherlands), Uno (Norway), Midwinter Night's Dream (Serbia/Montenegro), Forgiveness (South Africa), Red Dust (South Africa/United Kingdom), Spider Forest (South Korea), Sternenberg (Switzerland), 20:30:40 (Taiwan), Formula 17 (Taiwan), Ladies in Lavender (United Kingdom), Millions (United Kingdom/USA), Land of Plenty (USA/Germany). Born into Brothels (USA), Home of the Brave (USA), Howard Zinn: You Can't be Neutral on a Moving Train (USA), In the Realms of the Unreal (USA), Riding Giants (USA), The Ritchie Boys (Germany/Canada), The Story of the Weeping Camel (Mongolia), Super Size Me (USA), Tell Them Who You Are (USA), Touching the Void (USA).

Here is a general overview of the festivals and its presentation:

Five major new international films marking their U.S. or World premieres get the red-carpet treatment, with their directors and/or major creative talent in attendance and a public reception following each of the screenings.

Five select, acclaimed new films marking their US or World premieres will receive a special presentation at the Festival with a guest in attendance and a private reception following each of the screenings.

AWARDS BUZZ: (Oscar® hopefuls) A unique showcase dedicated to presenting the frontrunners for year-end awards consideration in two key categories:



CINÉ LATINO (32 Films)
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.

This wide-ranging overview of contemporary international cinema provides a sampling of the essential new films from around the world, including a number of World and US Premieres, and prize-winners from major festivals worldwide.

This juried competition will include a dozen debut works by particularly gifted, first or second-time filmmakers competing for the Festivals prestigious New Voices Award.

Tiffany & Co. will be the presenting sponsor of the annual Awards Gala on January 8, 2005 and has announced a three-year sponsorship commitment to the Palm Springs International Film Festival through 2007. The 2005 Palm Springs International Film Festival name sponsor is the City of Palm Springs. Other major sponsors of the Festival are City of Indian Wells, City of Palm Desert, The Desert Sun, Entertainment Tonight, Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, National Endowment for the Arts, and Spencer's Restaurant.

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