It is hard to believe that a quarter century has passed since the first Palm Springs International Film Festival kicked up its heels. The very popular and beloved Sonny Bono was still with us and not only founded the film festival but helped to draw international audiences to the valley for the first years of the festival until his untimely death in 1998. One cannot help but wonder how amazed he would be to think of the world recognized status the festival has achieved. As tickets and passes sell out for the January 3-13, 2014 event we must reflect on the history of one of the most popular and famous events of the year for the Coachella Valley.
From the very first year in 1989 the Palm Springs International Film Festival captured the attention of a worldwide audience. During the ensuing 25 years it has grown exponentially to welcoming more than 135,000 guests annually about 70% of whom come from outside the Coachella Valley. It is now one of the largest film festivals in North America featuring a star studded line up of A List celebrities year after year.
In recent years we have been treated to the company of megawatt stars such as Clint Eastwood, Sean Penn, George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Daniel-Day Lewis, Cate Blanchett, Ben Affleck, Natalie Portman, Charlize Theron, Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio. One of the most elite of the many events surrounded the 2 week festival is the Black Tie Awards Gala honoring the most stellar of the filmic year’s achievements.
In 2013 the festival screened 42 of the 71 films submitted for Oscar contention as Best Foreign Language Film of the year. With an international reputation for excellence, the film festival steps up its game year after year with more than 400 screenings of more than 200 films in 2013 alone, from 60 different countries on 15 screens scattered throughout Palm Springs. The Festival also has an amazing film sales and distribution record giving it the prestige to be viewed by distributors in America as one of the Academy Award campaigns hottest marketing tools.
Last year more than 1400 newspapers covered the event along with every national television show focused on the entertainment industry and all major networks. More than just a film festival, the event has become a huge social gala, with cultural events, industry seminars and filmmaker tributes. So, as we begin the countdown to the hottest movie ticket in town, let us offer up our thanks to Sonny Bono and all the great people who make this happen every year for Palm Springs. See you there!
For more information on the Palm Springs International Film Festival visit http://www.psfilmfest.org/index.aspx.