25Th Palm Springs International Film Festival Kicks Off January 3, 2014

Jack Lyons Theatre & Film Critic

Jack Lyons Theatre & Film Critic

The second largest film festival in the country, the Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF), launches the annual 25 th edition of its celebrity filled Gala and Film Festival onJanuary 3, 2014.

Palm Springs is not only a world-class tourist attraction, it becomes the center of world cinema for a ten-day period every January as it hosts more than 135,000 movie fans and film junkies from all over the globe as they try and spot the stars, directors, producers, writers, cinematographerPSIFF 2014 mores, and distributors amid the glitz and glitter of its star-studded 1200 Gala attendees on Saturday, January 4th, at the Palm Springs Convention Center.

PSIFF, the 800-pound gorilla of film festivals, will present over 185 films from 60 countries.  All of The Best Foreign Language Film entries are also on the Academy’s Oscar radar screen and hope to snare a nomination for this coveted statuette come February.

tbn_98c8f86c2a6f4035According to festival executive director Darryl Macdonald, “This year’s lineup is particularly diverse in theme and content, encompassing vintage work by established directors alongside auspicious debuts by a vast number of emerging talents”, adding “the overall quality of the films vividly reflects the banner year we’ve seen in cinema worldwide, with a trend toward more personal, character-driven stories that defy easy genre labels.”

MERYL STREEP and JULIA ROBERTS star in AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTYProof of the drawing power of PSIFF is in the number world-class stars and celebrities who are attending this year’s Gala and festival:  Tom Hanks, who receives the Chairman’s Award; Meryl Streep, who receives the ICON Award; Julia Roberts, the Spotlight Award; Lupita Nyongo’o, the Breakthrough Performance Award; Thomas

Newman, his second Frederick Loewe Award; and Variety will honor director John Lee Hancock, for one of the “10 Directors to Watch” award.  Variety is also honoring actor Jonah Hill with the Creative Impact in Acting award.  It’s a night to remember for celebrities and the expected number of fans who will catch all of the action as the stars walk the Red Carpet to the Gala and other selected screenings.

The Festival’s opening night film, with 1200 attending the event in the Palm Springs High School auditorium, is the British film “Belle”. It follows the life of Dido Elizabeth Belle, the illegitimate mixed-race daughter of a Royal Navy captain and an enslaved African woman.

The closing night film wraps up the festival with the comedy “Le Week-End”, starring English actors Jim Broadbent, and Lindsay Duncan, in a story about an older married couple’s trip to Paris in an attempt to rekindle their love.

It’s hard to believe that this Festival has been topping itself, year after year; growing bigger and better… but it has.  This year’s festival is bringing the Canadian film industry into sharper focus by featuring the talents of the directors, writers, and actors and films of our neighbors to the north.

Tickets go on sale this week.  It will be a hectic but fun and thought provoking 10 days that no true cineaste will want to miss.  For tickets, passes and film packages call the Festival Box Office at 800-898-PALM (7256) or go online to: www.psfilmfest.org.

See you at the Festival…

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