By Heidi Simmons

The 29th Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival wrapped on Monday January 15th.   For three amazing weeks, moviegoers enjoyed traveling to unique places, where they were introduced to fascinating people and entered exotic cultures.

This year, the festival had 180 films from 77 countries across the globe with 31 genres shown during 433 screenings in six different venues.  Over 135,000 people came to relish world cinema and Palm Springs sunshine.

PSIFF is one of the largest and most respected film festivals in North America, and because of its proximity and close relationship to Hollywood, it attracts amazing star power.



The list of Hollywood names that attended the Festival included those who are well-known in front and behind the camera.

Participants in the glam of the Gala were Gal Gadot and director Patty Jenkins, Writer/Director Guillermo Del Toro, Sally Hawkins, Octavia Spencer, Richard Jenkins, Sam Rockwell, Timothée Charlamet, Saoirse Ronan, Allison Janney, Gary Oldman, Jessica Chastain, Willem Dafoe, Holly Hunter and Mary J. Blige.

Opening night began with a panel discussion featuring Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg!  Closing night’s panel was with Ariel Winter and director Adam Rifkin.

Other big names who attended were: Jon Hamm, Annette Bening, Jack Black, Jenny Slate, Jacki Weaver, Andie MacDowell, Tatiana Maslany, Diane Kruger, producers Gale Anne Hurd, Amy Pascal, and Kristie Macosko Kreiger, Directors Paul Thomas Anderson, Jon Wright, and Maya Forbes — and Vice President Al Gore!

At many of the screenings, directors or producers were present to talk about their films.   These special presentations brought a level of intimacy and understanding to audiences elevating the festival for those who want to more directly engage with the cinematic arts.

At a screening of “The Gold Seekers,” a movie from Paraguay, co-directors Juan Carlos and Tana Schémbori said through a translator, that in their country only 32 films have been made in its history and graciously added that it was a “miracle to be here in Palm Springs.” 


These winning films were determined by judges made up of international industry professionals.  

Finding Your Feet (UK) directed by Richard Loncraine received Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature.

Skid Row Marathon (US) received Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature directed by Mark Hayes.

Félicité (Senegal) directed by Alain Gomis received FIPRESCI Prize; Nakhane Touré from The Wound (South Africa) and Daniela Vega from A Fantastic Woman (Chile) received FIPRESCI Acting Prizes.

The Charmer (Denmark) directed by Milad Alami received New Voices New Visions Award; Honorable Mention for Exceptional Direction: Léa Mysius for Ava (France).

Brimstone and Glory (US/Mexico), directed by Viktor Jakovleski received The John Schlesinger Award.

Killing Jesús (Colombia/Argentina), directed by Laura Mora received Cine Latino Award; Honorable Mention: A Fantastic Woman (Chile), directed by Sebastián Lelio.

The Insult received The HP Bridging The Borders Awards.


From around the world, these films were chosen by PSIFF audiences and screened the final day. 

Ava (France); Ayla – The Daughter of War (Turkey); Borg vs. McEnroe (Sweden/Denmark/Finland); Brimstone & Glory (US/Mexico); The Charmer (Denmark); The China Hustle (US); Close-Knit (Japan); Django (France); The Divine Order (Switzerland); Félicité (Senegal); Finding Your Feet (UK); First They Killed My Father (Cambodia); Her Love Boils Bathwater (Japan), The Insult (Lebanon), Itzhak (US/Israel), Jane (US), Just to Be Sure (France/Belgium); Killing Jesús (Colombia/Argentina); Liyana (Swaziland/US/Qatar); Love, Cecil (US); Maktub (Israel); Mankiller (US); Mr. Fish: Cartooning from the Deep End (US); The Party (UK); Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked The World (Canada); Sammy Davis, Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me (US); Skid Row Marathon (US); Streaker (Switzerland); Stumped (US); A Taxi Driver (South Korea); This is Congo (Democratic Republic of Congo/US/Canada/Qatar); Tom of Finland (Finland/Sweden/Denmark/Germany/Iceland); The Wound (South Africa).

The PSIFF delivers the world and the power of film right to our front door!