Palm Springs International Film Festival

Palm Springs International Film Festival
Location Palm Springs, California, U.S.
Language International

Palm Springs International Film Festival is a film festival held in Palm Springs, California. Originally promoted by Mayor Sonny Bono and then sponsored by Nortel Networks Corporation,[1]:198 it started in 1989 and is held annually in January. It is run by the Palm Springs International Film Society, which also runs the Palm Springs International Festival of Short Films (ShortFest), a festival of short films and film market in June.

Though the festival does feature American independent films, the focus from its inception was to shine a spotlight on international cinema.[2]


Michael Barker, co-president of Sony Pictures Classics, described the festival as a good place to show foreign-language movies and heralded this festival's ability to spread good word-of-mouth for movies. The event is noted for screening most foreign Oscar nominees. In 2013, the festival screened 42 of the 71 movies that were submitted by countries around the world to the Oscars for that year's foreign language film prize.[2]

In the days before the festival's opening, several of the foreign filmmakers convene at Sunnylands, the Annenberg estate in Rancho Mirage, to trade strategies on funding, producing and promoting their movies.[3]

The festival regularly attracts around 135,000 people, with some 70% coming from outside of the Coachella Valley, including Canada and Europe.[2] It is noted for its Award Ceremonies where such actors as Brad Pitt, Clint Eastwood, Sean Penn, Dustin Hoffman, Anne Hathaway and Leonardo DiCaprio have appeared. In January 2011, the festival's honorees included Ben Affleck and Danny Boyle.[4] The current director of the festival is Darryl Macdonald, long time festival director for the Seattle Film Festival.[5]


The festival has various awards.

Gala awards

The Gala awards are Sonny Bono Visionary Award, Career Achievement Award, Desert Palm Achievement Award, Director of the Year Award, Frederick Loewe Award for Film Composing, Icon Award, Chairman’s Award, Ensemble Performance Award and Spotlight Award.[6]

In 2014 the Desert Palm Achievement Award was given to Matthew McConaughey for his role in Dallas Buyers Club and Sandra Bullock for her role in Gravity,[6] while Johnny Depp and Cate Blanchett received the Desert Palm Achievement Award in 2016 for Black Mass and Carol, respectively.

Festival awards

The Festival awards are Mercedes-Benz Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature (and Runner Up narrative films), Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature (and Runner Up documentary films), FIPRESCI Award for Best Foreign Language Film, FIPRESCI Award Best Actor, FIPRESCI Award Best Actress, New Voices/New Visions Award, New Voices/New Visions Award Special Mention, Cine Latino Award (and Cine Latino Award Honorable Mention), John Schlesinger Award for Outstanding First Feature and HP Bridging the Borders Award (and HP Bridging the Borders Award Runner-up).[6]


  1. Niemann, Greg (2006). "20: Showcasing Movies". Palm Springs Legends: creation of a desert oasis. San Diego, CA: Sunbelt Publications. p. 286. ISBN 978-0-932653-74-1. OCLC 61211290. (here for Table of Contents)
  2. 1 2 3 Susan King (January 2, 2013), Palm Springs film fest lineup includes black and white silent films Los Angeles Times.
  3. Rebecca Keegan (January 6, 2011), Palm Springs International Film Fest mixes glamour, grit Los Angeles Times.
  5. Rothman, Matt (8 March 1993). "VR's first stop won't be at home".
  6. 1 2 3 "Feature Festival Awards Archive", Palm Springs International Film Society. Accessed 24 July 2014.
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