By Crystal Harrell

After a three-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 34th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival is back in full form for cinema lovers to enjoy a variety of screenings across the desert. The festival will screen 134 films from 64 countries, including 27 premieres (2 World, 12 North American, 1 International and 13 U.S.) from January 5-16, 2023.

Rita Moreno plays Maura, Jane Fonda plays Trish, Lily Tomlin plays Lou and Sally Field plays Betty in 80 For Brady from Paramount Pictures.

The line-up includes 35 of the International Feature Film Oscar® Submissions along with Talking Pictures, New Voices New Visions, Modern Masters, Queer Cinema, Cine Latino, True Stories, World Cinema Now, and more. The festival’s opening night will be the World Premiere of 80 For Brady directed by Kyle Marvin, on Friday, January 6. The festival will close with The Lost King, directed by Stephen Frears on Sunday, January 15.

Neil deGrasse Tyson

Highlights for this year includes the World Premiere of documentary Shot in the Arm with director Scott Hamilton Kennedy and subject Neil deGrasse Tyson scheduled to attend. Other films with guests include Alice, Darling with Anna Kendrick; The Banshees of Inisherin with Colin Farrell; Chevalier with director Stephen Williams; Desperate Souls, Dark City and the Legend of Midnight Cowboy with director Nancy Buirski and Michael Childers; the North American Premiere of Hilma with director Lasse Hallström and actress Lena Olin; Linoleum with director Colin West and actors Jim Gaffigan and Rhea Seehorn; the US Premiere of Moving On with director Paul Weitz; the North American Premiere of My Neighbor Adolf with Udo Kier; the North American Premiere of Racist Trees with directors Sara Newens and Mina T. Son; and Somewhere in Queens with Ray Romano, which he stars in and directs.


“We are beyond excited to welcome back our beloved audience and filmmakers in Palm Springs. We’re especially thrilled to be joined by all four leads of 80 For Brady. The film is brimming with joy and heart, and it’s a perfect film to kick off our 34th edition,” said Artistic Director Lili Rodriguez.

“Our programmers have dedicated almost a year to scouting the world for the films that make up this edition. It is our most thematically diverse year yet and I don’t believe you’ll find two movies that are alike. From light entertainment for casual nights out to urgent commentaries that beg for post-screening conversation and beyond, the cinema is there to capture it all.”

The Whale

Brendan Fraser is the recipient of the Spotlight Award, Actor for his performance in The Whale. The Film Awards will take place in-person on January 5, 2023 at the Palm Springs Convention Center, with the festival running through January 16, 2023. The event will be presented by American Express and sponsored by Entertainment Tonight and IHG Hotels & Resorts.

Fraser joins this year’s previously announced honorees Cate Blanchett (Desert Palm Achievement Award, Actress), Austin Butler (Breakthrough Performance Award, Actor), Viola Davis (Chairman’s Award), Danielle Deadwyler (Breakthrough Performance Award, Actress), Colin Farrell (Desert Palm Achievement Award, Actor), Bill Nighy (International Star Award, Actor), Sarah Polley (Director of the Year Award), Michelle Yeoh (International Star Award) and The Fabelmans (Vanguard Award). Past recipients of the Spotlight Award, Actor include Bryan Cranston for Trumbo and Andrew Garfield for Hacksaw Ridge. Both went on to receive Academy Award nominations for Best Actor.

“Brendan Fraser demonstrates his impressive talent in Darren Aronofsky’s powerful adaptation of The Whale. Fraser gives an extraordinary and haunting performance that paints a vivid portrait of our inability to escape our own sadness,” said Festival Chairman Harold Matzner. “For this award caliber performance, it is our honor to present the Spotlight Award, Actor to Brendan Fraser.”

It was also announced that Viola Davis is the recipient of the Chairman’s Award recognizing her work as an actress and producer for The Woman King. Variety will honor “Elvis” director Baz Luhrmann with the Creative Impact in Directing Award at the Palm Springs International Film Festival. The award will be presented on Friday, January 6th as part of the annual 10 Directors to Watch brunch at the Parker Palm Springs. The film’s star, Austin Butler, will be on hand to present Luhrmann with the award. Butler will receive the Breakthrough Performance Award, Actor at the festival’s Film Awards ceremony on Thursday, January 5th.

Writer/Director/Producer Luhrmann is a master storyteller and pioneer of pop culture working across film, opera, theatre, events and music. His most recent film, “Elvis,” which opened in theaters around the world this summer, has become the filmmaker’s highest grossing film in the U.S. and in 22 international territories, including the UK, Mexico, Holland, Brazil and New Zealand.

Variety will honor Black Panther: Wakanda Forever actor Angela Bassett with the Creative Impact in Acting Award at the Palm Springs International Film Festival.

“Few actresses have stepped into so many iconic roles, from rock queen Tina Turner to Malcolm X’s widow Betty Shabazz to Queen Ramonda to Coretta Scott King, and emerged triumphant from all of them,” said Variety’s EVP of content Steven Gaydos.

“In the three decades since Angela Bassett’s Oscar-nominated turn in “What’s Love Got to Do With It,” the versatile actor has balanced deep humanity with regal grace and heroic strength, all qualities essential to her work in the global film phenomenon that is ‘Wakanda Forever’.”

The Lost King

The Palm Springs International Film Society is a 501(c)(3) charitable non-profit organization whose mission is to cultivate and promote the art and science of film through education and cross-cultural awareness. The Film Society produces the Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) and Film Awards every January and Palm Springs ShortFest in June.

In addition to curating the best in international cinema, PSIFF’s Film Awards has come to be known as the first stop on the campaign trail for the Academy Awards® and our Oscar®-qualifying ShortFest is the largest short film festival and market in North America. Our festivals, year-round member screenings and educational programs manifest our organization’s mission by nurturing and encouraging new filmmaking talent, honoring the great masters of world cinema, and expanding audience horizons.

For more information on the Palm Springs International Film Festival and to purchase tickets, visit the official website at

Photo Credits:

Collin Farrell photo by Matt Easton

Sarah Polley photo by Derek Shapton

Cate Blanchett photo by Tom Munro

Michelle Yeoh photo by Thomas Laisne

Austin Butler photo by Eric Ray Davidson

Viola Davis photo by AB+DM

Bill Nighy photo by Aliona Adrianova

Danielle Deadwyler photo by Dalvin Adams

Brendon Fraser photo by Chad Griffith