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French Film Priceless to Close Palm Springs Festival

The 19th Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival has announced a roster of 222 films, culled from more than 66 countries for the 2008 Festival. The selection of films for screening includes a total of 69 premieres (4 World, 40 U.S. and 25 North American).
Also, 55 of the 63 films submitted for consideration in the Best Foreign Language Film category for the Academy Awards will be screened at this year’s Festival, held from January 3-14, 2008. (For a complete list of this year’s films, see the attached.)

“We’ve streamlined the Festival line-up this year, trimming the overall numbers while adding some exciting new features and showcases,” said Festival Director Darryl Macdonald. “The result is a richer and more focused event that maintains the Festival’s concentration on quality international programming, while highlighting the diversity of its offerings in a more accessible, audience-friendly way.”

“This was an incredibly strong year for emerging international filmmakers, especially those from the countries of Israel, Italy, and throughout Latin America,” said Carl Spence, director of programming and Helen du Toit, co-director of programming. “Our final selection of films reflects our continuing focus on exciting new developments in world cinema, particularly with our Awards Buzz and New Voices/New Visions showcases.”
The Festival will close with a screening of Priceless (France) on Sunday, January 13. In this frothy romantic comedy filled with glitz, glamour, and deliciously unexpected plot reversals, a beautiful, scheming gold digger mistakenly woos a mild-mannered bartender, thinking he’s a young, lovelorn millionaire. The film is a Samuel Goldwyn Films Release, directed by Pierre Salvadori and starring Audrey Tautou and Gad Elmaleh. In addition, the Festival has added the U.S. premiere of Before the Rains (USA/India) as its World Cinema Now Gala. From acclaimed cinematographer Santosh Sivan, the film captures the rustic beauty of his native Kerala, which serves as a backdrop for a torrid love affair set in 1937 India. Characters are caught between loyalty to British colonialism and the desire for freedom in this release from U.S. distributor Roadside Attractions.

PREMIERES:
The Festival will offer a selection of 69 premieres of highly anticipated films showcasing the diversity of international cinema.
World Premieres include Chihuly in the Hotshop (USA), Cosmic Radio (USA), Hollywood Singing & Dancing (USA) and Icons (USA/Romania/Bulgaria)
North American Premieres include 881 (Singapore/Japan), The Art of Travel (USA), The Best of Me (Spain), Breath (South Korea), Burn the Bridges (Mexico), City of Men (Brazil), Eight Twenty Eight (Israel), How About You (Ireland), Investigation (Bulgaria), It’s Hard to Be Nice (Bosnia), Jani Gal (Iraq), King of Fire (Thailand), Late Bloomers (Switzerland), M for Mother (Iran), Noodle (Israel), Oxen’s Eye (Brazil), Possible Lives (Argentina/Germany), Protégé (Hong Kong), The Reject (Serbia), Return of the Storks (Slovakia/Germany/Czech Republic), The Roses of the Desert (Italy), Saturn in Opposition (Italy), Shotgun Stories (USA), Sparkle (UK) and The Stone Angel (Canada).

U.S. Premieres include: The 3 Little Pigs (Canada), 12 (Russia), Ballerina (France), Before the Rains (USA/India), Ben X (Belgium), Body (Brazil), The Bodybuilder and I (Canada), Breakfast with Scot (Canada), Children of the Sun (Israel/USA), The Class (Estonia), Crossed Tracks (France), Crossing a Shadow (Peru), Duska (Netherlands/Russia), The Girl By the Lake (Italy), In the City of Sylvia (Spain/France), In Memory of Myself (Italy), Iska’s Journey (Hungary), Jimmy from the Hill (Italy), A Man’s Job (Finland), Mongol (Kazakhstan/Germany), Night Bus (Italy), Nightwatching (UK), Our Father (Chile), Pistoleros (Denmark), The Pope’s Toilet (Uruguay/Brazil/France), Princess of the Sun (France/Belgium/Hungary), Romulus, My Father (Australia), Run, Fat Boy, Run (UK), The Russian Triangle (Georgia), Santa Fe Street (Chile/France/Belgium), Shadows (Macedonia/Germany), She’s a Boy I Knew (Canada), Short Circuits (Slovenia), Then She Found Me (USA), Time to Die (Poland), To the Limit (Germany/Austria), Unspoken Passion (Philippines), The Waltz (Italy), Warden of the Dead (Bulgaria) and You (Canada).

AWARDS BUZZ:
As part of the Awards Buzz program, the Festival will screen 55 of the official submissions to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for Best Foreign Language Film. A special jury of international film critics will review these films to award the FIPRESCI Award for Best Foreign Language Film of the Year, Best Actor and Best Actress. The 2008 FIPRESCI jury members will include Ronald Bergen (UK), Isabelle Danel (France) and Adam Nayman (Canada). The Festival will also screen the shortlisted documentaries and short subject documentaries for Academy consideration as part of this category.

FESTIVAL AWARDS:
The New Voices/New Visions Award will honor one of 10 features from new international talents making their first or second films. Films selected for this year include Body (Brazil), Continental, A Film Without Guns (Canada), Dharm (India), Hounds (Germany), In the Arms of My Enemy (France/Belgium/Canada), The New Man (Sweden/Finland), In the Name of God (Pakistan), Shotgun Stories (USA), Two Embraces (Mexico) and The Waltz (Italy). Reviewing the films for this award are Stefa Laudyn, director of the Warsaw Film Festival; Thorsten Ritter, International Sales Agent from Bavaria Films; and journalist Elliot Kotek.

The John Schlesinger Award for Outstanding First Feature or Documentary acknowledges the work of a first-time filmmaker whose narrative or documentary feature will also be presented at the Festival. Audience Awards will also be presented for Best Narrative Feature and Best Documentary Feature. The Festival will present two new awards this year. Bridging the Borders Award presented by Cinema without Borders will be presented to an international film that extols the universality of the human experience, bridging the borders between nations and promoting international understanding. The Heineken Red Star Award will be presented to a film showcasing exceptionally original work.
FESTIVAL PROGRAMS
Twenty-five films from Latin America, Spain and Portugal will screen in the Festival’s Ciné Latino program, which will highlight emerging talent from the Latino film world. World Cinema Now will feature 77 films in a wide-ranging overview of contemporary international cinema. True Stories highlights 25 of the best new films in contemporary non-fiction cinema. Three films have been selected as Special Presentations including The Band’s Visit (Israel/USA/France) directed by Eran Kolirin and the previously announced outdoor sing-along screening of Hairspray (USA) and Honeydripper directed by John Sayles. Archival Treasures will feature the three films Crime and Punishment (USA), Leave Her to Heaven (USA) and Reenactment (Romania). Seventh Heaven (USA) is the Silver Screen Silent Film Presentation, which will screen with a live musical accompaniment.
Founded in 1990 by then Mayor Sonny Bono, the PSIFF is one of the largest film festivals in North America. The Festival has an attractive film sales and distribution record and is seen by American distributors as one of the best Academy Award campaign marketing tools. The Festival also features cultural events, filmmaker tributes, industry seminars and an annual black-tie gala award presentation.
Renewing their support of this year’s Festival is Title Sponsor, The City of Palm Springs and Presenting Sponsors, Spencer’s Restaurant, The Desert Sun, the City of Indian Wells, the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, Entertainment Tonight and Wessman Development. Producing Sponsors include Mercedes-Benz, the Official Vehicle of the Festival, Integrated Wealth Management, Bank of America, Regal Entertainment, Ciroc/Don Julio/Johnnie Walker and Wells Fargo.
The 19th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival is scheduled from January 3-14, 2008, for tickets or additional information call 760-322-2930 or 800-898-7256 or www.psfilmfest.org.

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