The 25th Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) will launch on Friday, January 3 with the U.S. Premiere of opening night film Belle directed by Amma Assante, and screenings playing throughout the day. The Festival will wrap on Sunday, January 12 with Le Week-End directed by Roger Michell. 187 films from 60 countries, including 77 premieres (8 world, 22 North American and 47 U.S.), will unspool at the Festival, running from January 3-13, 2014 in Palm Springs, California. For a complete list of films visit www.psfilmfest.org.
The Festival will open with the US premiere screening of Fox Searchlight Pictures Belle (UK), followed by a reception at the Palm Springs Art Museum. Directed by Amma Assante, Belle is a period drama inspired by the life of Dido Elizabeth Belle, the illegitimate daughter of a Captain in the Royal Navy, stationed in the Caribbean. The film stars Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Sarah Gadon, Tom Wilkinson, Emily Watson, Sam Reid, Tom Felton, Matthew Goode, Penelope Wilton and Miranda Richardson. Director Assante is expected to attend the film screening.
Closing the Festival is Le Week-End (UK), directed by Roger Michell. The film stars Jim Broadbent and Lindsay Duncan as an old married couple looking to rekindle their love affair with Paris and with one another in this spiky, self-lacerating comedy.
AMERICAN HUSTLE TO RECEIVE ENSEMBLE PERFORMANCE AWARD AT 25th ANNUAL PALM SPRINGS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL AWARDS GALA
The 25th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) will award its Ensemble Performance Award to the film American Hustle. The award will honor the film’s cast, which includes Amy Adams, Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence and Jeremy Renner. The Gala will also present awards to previously announced honorees Sandra Bullock, Bruce Dern, Matthew McConaughey, Steve McQueen and Julia Roberts. Presented by Cartier and hosted by Mary Hart, the Awards Gala will be held Saturday, January 4 at the Palm Springs Convention Center.
“David O. Russell has created a viscerally powerful film,” said Festival Chairman Harold Matzner. “American Hustle grabs you from the start and is populated by a group of eminently believable characters as brought to life by this brilliant cast. The Palm Springs International Film Festival is proud to present the entire cast of American Hustle with our 2014 Ensemble Performance Award.”
Past recipients of the Ensemble Performance Award include last year’s Academy Award® winner for Best Picture Argo as well as past Best Picture nominees Babel and The Social Network.
A fictional film set in the alluring world of one of the most extraordinary scandals of the 1970s, American Hustle tells the story of brilliant con man Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale), who along with his equally cunning and seductive partner Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams) is forced to work for wild FBI agent Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper). DiMaso pushes them into a world of New Jersey powerbrokers and mafia that’s as dangerous as it is enchanting. Jeremy Renner is Carmine Polito, the passionate, volatile political operator caught between the con artists and Feds. Irving’s unpredictable wife Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence) could be the one to pull the thread that brings the entire world crashing down. Columbia Pictures and Annapurna Pictures present an Atlas Entertainment production, which also stars Louis C.K., Michael Peña and Alessandro Nivola. Directed by David O. Russell. Written by Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell. Produced by Charles Roven, Richard Suckle, Megan Ellison, and Jonathan Gordon.
The film received Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress for Jennifer Lawrence and Best Screenplay written by Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell from the New York Film Critics Circle.
NEW VOICES/NEW VISIONS
The New Voices/New Visions Award will honor one of 12 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 glass sculpture designed for the Festival by renowned artist Dale Chihuly. Films selected for this year include:
• Above Dark Waters (Finland) – Told through the eyes of a sensitive young boy, this tragicomedy tells a touching story about growing up in southwestern Lapland in the 1970s with authenticity and hilarity. Director: Peter Franzén. Cast: Olavi Angervo, Samuli Edelmann, Matleena Kuusniemi, Ismo Kallio, Marja Packalén. Peter Franzen. US Premiere.
• Bristel Goodman (USA) – This uniquely stylish thriller traces the story of a traumatized Iraq War veteran who meets his dream girl in an internet chat room, only to have his dream turn into a nightmare when he witnesses what appears to be her murder live online. Director: Dan Harnden. Cast: John Golaszewski, Natalia Volkodaeva, Kate Gorney, Ezra Saint James, Lucas Van Engen, Jessica Myhr, Joe Varca. World Premiere.
• Class Enemy (Slovenia) – In this compelling Slovenian drama, a group of teens blame their demanding new German teacher and his demeaning methods when one of their classmates commits suicide, and a colossal battle of wills ensues. Director: Rok Bicek. Cast: Igor Samobor, Nataša Barbara Gracner, Tjaša Železnik, Maša Derganc, Robert Prebil, Voranc Boh, Jan Zupancic, Daša Cupevski. North American Premiere.
• Everything We Loved (New Zealand) – Charlie once made a living as a traveling magician. His picture-perfect marriage and family, though, has been torn asunder by a crippling loss. What will Charlie do to save the family he loves? Behold, a grand illusion…Director: Max Currie. Cast: Brett Stewart, Sia Trokenheim, Ben Clarkson. World Premiere.
• Han Gong-ju (South Korea) – A teenager is abruptly transferred to a new school and placed in a stranger’s care – for reasons too terrible to guess. An amazing first feature, it won two awards at the Busan International Film Festival. Director: Lee Su-jin. Cast: Chun Woo-hee, Jeong In-sun, Lee Young-ran, Kim So-young. North America Premiere.
• Left Foot Right Foot (Switzerland) – A pair of young hard-partying lovers are forced to grow up fast in photographer Germinal Roux’s first feature, a beautiful elegy on the loss of innocence elevated by stunning black-and-white cinematography and mesmerizing music. Director: Germinal Roaux. Cast: Nahuel Perez Biscayart, Agathe Schlencker, Mathilde Bisson, Dimitri Stapfer, Stanislas Merhar. US Premiere.
• Medeas (USA) – An archetypal tale of adultery is rendered with exquisite strokes in this slow burning rural psychodrama, the first feature from an Italian-born filmmaker working in the US. “A rare piece of pure cinema.” Twitch Director: Andrea Pallaoro. Cast: Catalina Sandino Moreno, Brian F. O’Byrne, Kevin Alejandro, Ian Nelson, Mary Mouser. North America Premiere.
• The Magnetic Tree (Spain) – A young man returns to Chile from Germany after many years. In a series of probing, freeform conversations, his colorful, multigenerational family explores the safety and connectedness and the feelings of confinement that come from family relationships. Director: Isabel de Ayguavives. Cast: Andrés Gertrúdix, Catalina Saavedra, Manuela Martelli, Gonzalo Robles, Juan Pablo Larenas, Daniel Alcaíno, Edgardo Bruna. North America Premiere.
• Of Horses and Men (Iceland) – This very dry, very Icelandic comedy is a north country romance about the human streak in the horse and the horse in the human. Director: Benedikt Erlingsson. Cast: Ingvar E. Sigurdsson, Steinn Armann Magnusson, Helgi Björnsson, Charlotte Bøving, Atli Rafn Sigurdarson, Halldora Geirhardsdottir, Kjartan Ragnarsson. US Premiere.
• Paris or Perish (France) -Brightly colored and vivacious, actress Reem Kherici’s fast-paced, fish-out-of-water comedy sees Parisian fashion designer Maya deported back to her Moroccan home, stiletto heels in hand. Cultures clash and the jokes, many at Maya’s expense, alternate with moments of genuine feeling. Director: Reem Kherici. Cast: Reem Kherici, Cécile Cassel, Shirley Bousquet, Tarek Boudali, Phillipe Lacheau, Salim Kechiouche, Stéphane Rousseau. US Premiere.
• Patch Town (Canada) – Inspired by his award-winning short film (ShortFest ’12), Craig Goodwill’s wildly creative feature debut is a wacky, satirical musical fantasy about a grown-up toy who must battle a villainous corporation to reunite with his long-lost mother, protect his newfound family, and finally find freedom. Director: Craig Goodwill. Cast: Rob Ramsay, Zoie Palmer, Julian Richings, Suresh John, Scott Thompson, Ken Hall. US Premiere.
• Root (Chile) – A Chilean woman defies her domineering mother and drives the nine-year-old son of the deceased family maid into the country to find his long-lost father. An assured debut which applies a naturalist style to create a powerful dramatic impact. Director: Matías Rojas Valencia. Cast: Mercedes Mujica, Elsa Poblete, Cristóbal Ruiz, Celia Uribe, Eugenio Morales. North America Premiere.
The Festival will offer a selection of 77 premieres of highly anticipated films, showcasing the diversity of international cinema.
World premieres include: 3 Nights in the Desert (USA) starring Amber Tamblyn, Wes Bentley and Vincent Piazza, Bristel Goodman (USA), Burkholder (USA), Days and Nights (USA) starring Katie Holmes, William Hurt, Jean Reno, Allison Janney, Ben Wishaw, Everything We Loved (New Zealand), Hidden Hills (USA), Lakshmi (India) and Party Central (USA) starring John Goodman, Charlie Day, Bill Crystal, Sean Hayes and David Foley.
North American premieres include: Catch the Dream (Denmark), Class Enemy (Slovenia), Grazing the Sky (Spain), Han Gong-ju (South Korea), Horses of God (Morocco), King Ordinary (Germany), Living is Easy with Eyes Closed (Spain), Magic Men (Israel), The Magnetic Tree (Spain), Medeas (USA), The Mercury Factor (Italy), Monk with a Camera (USA), Montage (South Korea), The Old Man (Kazakhstan), Open Up to Me (Finland), Rabbit Woman (Argentina), Root (Chile), The Searches (Mexico), Stalngrad (Russia), Tattoo (Brazil), Traffic Department (Poland) and Transit (Philippines).
U.S. premieres include: 15 Years and One Day (Spain), Above Dark Waters (Finland), Another House (Canada), The Auction (Canada), Bastardo (Tunisia), Belle (UK), Blind Dates (Georgia), The Butterfly’s Dream (Turkey), Cupcakes (Israel), Empire of Dirt (Canada), Enemy (Canada) directed by Denis Villeneuve and starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Mélanie Laurent, Isabella Rossellini, Faith Connections (India), For No Good Reason (UK) featuring Johnny Depp, Terry Gilliam, Richard E. Grant, Gaming Instinct (Germany), Gerontophilia (Canada) directed by Bruce LaBruce, The Grand Seduction (Canada) starring Brendan Gleeson and Taylor Kitsch, Heart of a Lion (Finland), Hotell (Sweden), Hunting Elephants (Israel), I Am Yours (Norway), Ignasi M. (Spain), In Secret (USA) starring Elizabeth Olsen, Oscar Isaac, Jessica Lange, The Italian Character (Germany), Left Foot Right Foot (Switzerland), Longwave (France), Love and Lemons (Sweden), Lovers (France), Marina (Belgium), The Mute (Peru), Nightingale (France), Of Horses and Men (Iceland), One of a Kind (France), Paris or Perish (France), Patch Town (Canada), A Place in Heaven (Israel), Roa (Colombia), Salvation Army (France), Standing Aside, Watching (Greece), Stay (Canada) starring Taylor Schilling, Aidan Quinn and Brian Gleeson, The Summer of Flying Fish (Chile), Tangerines (Estonia), Those Happy Years (Italy), The Venice Syndrome (Germany), White Lies (New Zealand), Words and Pictures (USA) directed by Fred Schepisi starring Clive Owen and Juliette Binoche, Young & Beautiful (France) directed by François Ozon and Yozgat Blues (Turkey).
Other Festival films with notable talent and directors include: Age of Uprising: The Legend of Michael Kohlhaas (France) starring Mads Mikkelsen, Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa (UK) starring Steve Coogan and Colm Meaney, Le Chef (France) starring Jean Reno, Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me (USA) featuring Elaine Stritch, Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin, Nathan Lane, The Galapagos Affair: Satan Came to Eden (USA) featuring the voices of Cate Blanchett, Diana Kruger and Josh Radnor, The Invisible Woman (UK) directed by and starring Ralph Fiennes, Mystery Road (Australia) starring Aaron Pedersen, Hugo Weaving and Ryan Kwanten, Reaching for the Moon (Brazil) starring Miranda Otto, Tim’s Vermeer (USA) directed by Teller and featuring Penn Jilette, Two Lives (Germany) starring Liv Ullman, Unforgiven (Japan) starring Ken Watanabe, Walking with the Enemy (USA) starring Ben Kingsley.
John Lee Hancock to Receive the Variety Creative Impact in Directing Award, & Jonah Hill to receive the Variety Creative Impact in Acting Award, presented by Mercedes-Benz.
Variety will present director John Lee Hancock with the Creative Impact in Directing Award, presented by Mercedes-Benz, which celebrates the filmmaker for his outstanding contributions to the art and business of cinema, notably his work in directing the upcoming “Saving Mr. Banks.” Additionally, Variety will honor Jonah Hill with the Creative Impact in Acting Award, presented by Mercedes-Benz for his scope of work ranging from his comedic performances and more dramatic fare such as his Academy Award® nominated role in “Moneyball” to the upcoming highly-anticipated Scorsese film “The Wolf of Wall Street.” The event will take place on Sunday, January 5 during the Palm Springs International Film Festival on the Palm Court at the Parker Palm Springs.
“2013 will be remembered as one of American cinema’s most exciting years and contributing tremendously to that excitement are the contributions of “Saving Mr. Banks” director John Lee Hancock and “The Wolf of Wall Street” actor Jonah Hill. In addition to their successes this year, both Hancock and Hill have rich bodies of work to celebrate and both exemplify the continuing creative vitality and artistic risk-taking of American film at its best,” said Steve Gaydos, Executive Editor at Variety.
Previous recipients have included David O. Russell, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Charlize Theron and Mark Wahlberg.
“10 Directors to Watch”
“10 Directors to Watch” debuted in 1996 and the annual event moved to the Palm Springs International Film Festival in January 2011. “10 Directors to Watch” was the first of Variety’s “10 to Watch” series spotlighting the most exciting new talents in the fields of directing, writing, producing, acting, cinematography and comedy. This year’s “10 Directors to Watch” include: Amma Asante (“Belle”), Clio Barnard (“The Selfish Giant”), Anthony Chen (“Ilo, Ilo), Paul Duane (“Very Extremely Dangerous”), Ben Falcone (“Tammy”), Maya Forbes (“Infinitely Polar Bear”), Aron Gaudet & Gita Pullapilly (“Beneath the Harvest Sky”), Dome Karukoski (“Heart of a Lion”), Justin Simien (“Dear White People”), Gren Wells (“The Road Within”).
Past “10 Directors to Watch” honorees have included: Ben Affleck (“Gone Baby Gone”), Wes Anderson (“Bottle Rocket”), Scott Cooper (“Crazy Heart”), Marc Webb (“500 Days of Summer”), Christopher Nolan (“Memento”), Sam Taylor Wood (“Nowhere Boy”) and Benh Zeitlin (“Beasts of the Southern Wild”), among others.
Palm Springs International Film Festival Director Darryl Macdonald stated, “Ten striking new talents with exceptional storytelling gifts, one consummately gifted established director with an adroit ability to evoke superb performances from his actors, and that rare thing: a fast-rising actor who’s as adept at doing comedy as he is at handling drama. This is a heady combination, and one that I hope reflects the mix of emerging talent and masters of their craft that the Palm Springs Festival itself has come to represent. We’re delighted to again be hosting Variety’s ‘10 Directors to Watch’ event at the Festival, and congratulate all of the winners on being selected for these prestigious honors.”
“We are thrilled to be kicking off our 25th Anniversary with Variety’s ‘10 Directors to Watch’ event at the Parker on our opening weekend,” said Festival Artistic Director Helen Du Toit. “And we are doubly delighted by the synergy of our shared commitment to celebrating the best of international cinema and spotlighting exciting new talent from around the globe.”
The event will be presented by Mercedes-Benz with venue partner the Parker Palm Springs.
The Awards Gala of the 25th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival is presented by Cartier and sponsored by Mercedes Benz and Entertainment Tonight. The City of Palm Springs is the Title Sponsor of the Film Festival. Presenting Sponsors are Wells Fargo, The Desert Sun and Spencer’s. Major sponsors are AARP, Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, Wessman Development, Bank of America, Wintec, Regal Entertainment Group, Windermere Real Estate, Eisenhower Medical Center, Guthy-Renker, Integrated Wealth Management, VisitGreaterPalmSprings.com, Ocean Properties, Panavision, Chihuly and Telefilm Canada.