The 24th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) announces its complete line-up including Galas, Premieres and New Voices/New Visions. The Festival will launch on Thursday, January 3 with a screening of the Foreign Language Oscar submission from Spain Blancanieves directed by Pablo Berger and wraps on Sunday, January 13 with the US premiere of Paul Andrew Williams’ Unfinished Song starring Terence Stamp and Vanessa Redgrave. 180 films from 68 countries, including 61 premieres (3 world, 21 North American and 37 U.S.), will unspool at the Festival, running from January 3-14 in Palm Springs, California.
“I’m really excited to be opening this year’s PSIFF with Blancanieves, a wildly original, silent movie version of Snow White – updated to the 1920s, and with Blancanieves displaying her natural gifts as a matador,” said Artistic Director Helen du Toit. “Not only is this Spanish submission for the Foreign Language Oscar a brilliant film (which is, after all, what we’re all about), but director Pablo Berger feels like one of our own. His short films Trevor and Truth and Beauty won Best Comedy here in 1995, and his first feature Torremolinos ’73 won our New Voices/New Visions competition in 2004. So this film in particular highlights two of our greatest strengths and core attributes: showcasing the very best in world cinema and discovering new talent.”
The Festival will open with the screening of Blancanieves (Spain/France), the Best Foreign Language Oscar submission from Spain, followed by a reception at the Palm Springs Art Museum. Directed by Pablo Berger, Blancanieves is the spectacular silent movie adaptation of Snow White, where the daughter of a famous bullfighter is mistreated by her wicked stepmother. When she runs away and joins a band of dwarfs, her natural bullfighting talent is discovered, but her stepmother plots to bring her down. The film stars Maribel Verdú, Daniel Giménez Cacho, Pere Ponce, Sofía Oria, Macarena Garcia, Ángela Molina, José María Pou and Inma Cuesta. Berger will attend the film screening.
Closing the Festival is The Weinstein Company’s Unfinished Song (UK), directed by Paul Andrew Williams and starring Terence Stamp, Vanessa Redgrave, Gemma Arterton, Christopher Eccleston and Anne Reid. Marking its US premiere, the film is about a curmudgeonly pensioner who takes his ailing wife’s place in their unconventional local choir, with hilarious results. Terence Stamp will attend the film’s screening.
The Festival will offer a selection of 61 premieres of highly anticipated films, showcasing the diversity of international cinema (for a list of film descriptions, please see attached):
World premieres include: Elephants (France), Molly Maxwell (Canada) and Smiling Through the Apocalypse – Esquire in the 60s (USA), a documentary featuring Gore Vidal and Nora Ephron.
North American premieres include: 900 Days (Netherlands), Breakaway (Philippines), Crawl (France), The Daughter (Russia), Dreamers (France), Filmistaan (India), Goltzius and the Pelican Company (United Kingdom) starring F. Murray Abraham, The Hypnotist (Sweden) directed by Lasse Hallström, I Belong (Norway), Jews of Egypt (Egypt), Mental (Australia/USA) starring Toni Collette, Liev Schreiber and Anthony LaPaglia, Papadopoulos & Sons (UK/Greece), The Passion of Michelangelo (Chile/France), Playground Chronicles (France), Purge (Finland/Estonia), Sadourni’s Butterflies (Argentina), The Snitch Cartel (Colombia), The Third Half (Macedonia), Two Lives (Germany/Norway) starring Liv Ullmann, This Life – Some Must Die, So Others Can Live (Denmark), and Yema (Algeria/France)
U.S. premieres include: 4Some (Czech Republic), 7 Boxes (Paraguay), Allez, Eddy! (Belgium/Luxembuorg/The Netherlands), Call Girl (Sweden), Caught in the Web (China), Children of Sarajevo (Bosnia-Herzegovina), The Color of the Chameleon (Bulgaria), The Deep (Iceland/Norway), Eagles (Israel), Emperor (Japan/USA) directed by Peter Webber and starring Matthew Fox and Tommy Lee Jones, The Fifth Season (Belgium/Netherlands/France), First Comes Love (USA),Flying Blind (UK), The Fruit Hunters (Canada) featuring Bill Pullman, Great Expectations (UK/USA) directed by Mike Newell and starring Jeremy Irvine, Holliday Grainger, Helena Bonham Carter, Ralph Fiennes, Robbie Coltrane and Sally Hawkins, Hannah Arendt (Germany) starring Barbara Sukowa and Janet McTeer, Imagine (Poland/France/Portugal), Inescapable (Canada/South Africa) starring Marisa Tomei, Joshua Jackson and Oded Fehr, Jump (Ireland/UK), Mold (Turkey),More Than Honey (Germany/Austria/Switzerland), Multiple Visions (The Crazy Machine) (Mexico/France/Spain), Mumbai’s King (India), Nuala (Ireland), Our Homeland (Japan), Satellite Boy (Australia), The Shine of Day (Austria), Shores of Hope (Germany), Soongava: Dance of the Orchids (Nepal/France), Still (Canada) starring James Cromwell and Campbell Scott, Suicide Shop (France/Canada/Belgium), Unfinished Song (UK), What is this Film Called Love? (UK), When Day Breaks (Serbia/Croatia/France), When I Saw You (Palestine), White Tiger (Russia) and A World Not Ours (UK/Lebanon/Denmark).
NEW VOICES/NEW VISIONS
The New Voices/New Visions Award will honor one of ten films from top emerging international directors marking their feature film debut at the Festival, with the additional criteria that the films selected are currently without US distribution. The winner is selected by a jury of US distributors and will receive a $60,000 Panavision camera rental package. Films selected for this year include:
- 7 Boxes (Paraguay) – 17-year-old Victor is offered $100 to transport seven boxes across a crowded outdoor marketplace, but the contents are linked to a serious crime and a lot of money and soon he finds himself in an adrenaline-fuelled race to outrun cops and bad guys. Director: Juan Carlos Maneglia, Tana Schémbori. Cast: Celso Franco, Lali González, Víctor Sosa, Nico García.
- Beauty (Argentina) – An intimate and poetic evocation of the experience of a young girl from an indigenous tribe in northern Argentina working as a maid in a middle class home. Director: Daniela Seggiearo. Cast: Rosmeri Segundo, Sasa Sharet, Ximena Banus, Camila Romagnolo, Risabel Mendoza, Victor Hugo Carrizo.
- The Cleaner (Peru) – In the midst of a mysterious and deadly epidemic in Lima, Perù, a depressed and isolated man cleans up after the dying. When he takes in a frightened young boy who has lost his mother, he’s quietly transformed by the experience of caring for another human being. Director: Adrian Saba. Cast: Victor Prada.
- The Daughter (Russia) – A haunting crime drama with Dostoevskian overtones, set in provincial Russia where a serial killer is murdering teenage girls. It’s a beautifully shot, marvelously performed film about faith, hope and love. Director: Alexander Kasatkin, Natalya Nazarova. Cast: Maria Smolnikova, Yana Osipova, Igor Mazepa, Oleg Tkachev, Vladimir Mishukov.
- I Belong (Norway) – A Norwegian tragicomedy about how people who mean well end up hurting one another, and how acting on integrity and feelings is seen as troublesome in a rationalist society. Director: Dag Johan Haugerud. Cast: Ane Dahl Torp, Anne Marit Jacobsen, Birgitte Larsen, Henriette Steestrup, Laila Goody, Ragnhild Hilt, Trine Wiggen.
- Mumbai’s King (India) – Slumdog Millionaire minus the millions, this unadorned, neo-realist peep into the lives of kids from the Mumbai slums serves as a tribute to their spirit and ability to live life to the fullest. Director: Manjeet Singh. Cast: Rahul Bairagi, Arbaaz Khan, Tejas Parvatkar, Dhanshree Jain, Aftab Khan, Salman Khan.
- Playground Chronicles (France) – Brahim Fritah conveys the magic of childhood through whimsical visuals in this comedic chronicle of 10-year-old Brahim’s adventures in the Parisian suburbs, circa 1980. With charm to burn, its evocation of those last, best days of youth is warmly infectious. Director: Brahim Fritah. Cast: Yanis Bahloul, Rocco Campochiard, Vincent Rottiers, Anne Azoulay, Philippe Rebbot, Mostefa Djadjam, Dalila Ibnou Ennadre.
- Sadourni’s Butterflies (Argentina) – In this dazzling neo-silent black and white melodrama an ex-circus dwarf convicted of a crime of passion gets out of prison and tries to restart his life. Falling in love with a fellow porn movie voice over artiste, he dreams of the operation that would make her attainable… A thrilling, poetic love story like nothing you have seen before. DirectorL Dario Nardi. Cast: Christian Medrano, Antonella Costa, Nicola Costantino, Ale Sergi.
- Satellite Boy (Australia) – Stunningly shot in the Australian Outback, Catriona McKenzie’s deeply felt exploration of Aboriginal folkways focuses on a ten-year-old boy forced to rely on the wisdom imparted by his grandfather when he gets lost in the wilds. Director: Catriona McKenzie. Cast: David Gulpilil, Cameron Wallaby, Joseph Pedley, Rohanna Angus, Dean Daley-Jones.
- This Life – Some Must Die, So Others Can Live (Denmark) – Based on a true story, this authentic, moving tale of Danish resistance to Nazi occupation has rivaled Flame & Citron as a local box office sensation. Director: Anne-Grethe Bjarup Riis. Cast: Jens Jørn Spottag, Bodil Jørgensen, Thomas Ernst, Marie Bach Hansen, Bjarne Henriksen, Anne Louise Hassing.
Commenting on this year’s selection Helen du Toit said, “This year’s New Voices New Visions competition selection is bursting with the youthful energy of hot international emerging filmmakers. Many of the films have already enjoyed great critical acclaim, massive box-office success in their home countries, or are simply presenting wildly original new visions. And all of the directors included will surely go on to great careers.”
Other Festival films with notable talent and directors include: Michael Haneke’s Amour (Austria); Leslie Zemeckis directs Bound By Flesh (USA); Bebe Neuwirth narrates Defiant Requiem (USA); Robert Redford, Meryl Streep and Ashley Judd narrating A Fierce Green Fire (USA); Elle Fanning, Alessandro Nivola and Annette Benning in Ginger & Rosa (UK); Abbie Cornish in The Girl (USA/Mexico); Charlotte Rampling and Gabriel Byrne in I, Anna (UK/France/Germany); Jamie-Lynn Sigler and Alicia Witt in I Do (USA); Iceberg Slim: Portrait of a Pimp (USA) featuring Ice-T, Chris Rock, Snoop Dogg and Quincy Jones; La Source (USA/Haiti) narrated by Don Cheadle; Love, Marilyn (USA) featuring Elizabeth Banks, Lindsay Lohan, Evan Rachel Wood, Ben Foster, Uma Thurman, Paul Giamatti, Viola Davis, Jeremy Piven, Ellen Burstyn, Adrien Brody, Marisa Tomei and Glenn Close; Jeff Bridges in A Place at the Table (USA); Marion Cotillard in Rust and Bone (France/Belgium); and Al Pacino, Christopher Walken, Julianna Marguiles and Alan Arkin in Stand Up Guys (USA).
About The Palm Springs International Film Festival
The Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) is one of the largest film festivals in North America, welcoming 135,000 attendees each year for its lineup of new and celebrated international features and documentaries. The Festival is also known for its annual Black Tie Awards Gala, honoring the best achievements of the filmic year by a celebrated list of talents who, in recent years, have included Ben Affleck, Javier Bardem, Cate Blanchett, Danny Boyle, George Clooney, Daniel Day-Lewis, Leonardo DiCaprio, Clint Eastwood, Ron Howard, Sean Penn, Brad Pitt, Natalie Portman, Charlize Theron and Kate Winslet.