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Category: Palm Springs International Film Festival

Palm Springs film festival award winners


The winners of the 22nd Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival were announced Sunday afternoon at a luncheon.

The  Mercedes-Benz Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature went to Larysa Kondracki's "The Whistleblower, " a conspiracy thriller from Canada starring Rachel Weisz, Vanessa Redgrave and David Strathairn.

The Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature went to Greg Jacobs and Jon Siskel's "Louder Than a Bomb," a look at the world's largest youth poetry slam competition, held in Chicago.

The FIPRESCI Award for Best Foreign Language Film of the Year, which was selected by a special jury of international film critics, went to "Of Gods and Men," France's entry in the best foreign-language film Oscar category. Lars Rosing won the FIPRESCI Award for best actor for Greenland's "Nuummioq" and best actress went to Anne Coesens for "Illegal," from Belgium.

The New Voices/New Visions Award, which is given to one of 13 international filmmakers making their feature debut at the festival and whose film has no U.S. distribution, was given to Denmark's "Nothing's All Bad," written and directed by Mikkel Munch-Fals. The jury also gave special mention to Sweden/France's "Sound of Noise."

Icair Bollain's "Even the Rain," from Spain/France/Mexico, won the Bridging the Borders Award for the film that best exemplifies "cinema's ability to bring the people of our world closer together."

All of the winners will be screening Monday at the Best of the Fest. For a complete list of screenings Monday, go to

-- Susan King

Photo: Lamar Jorden writes a poem in "Louder Than a Bomb." Credit: Siskel/Jacobs Productions



Michael Douglas to be honored with the Icon award at the Palm Springs festival

Michael Douglas 
Michael Douglas, who earlier this month received his seventh Golden Globe nomination, this one for "Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps," will be honored by the Palm Springs Film Festival in January. The festival will screen Douglas' other 2010 film "Solitary Man," which was released by Anchor Bay back in May, preceded by a conversation with the 66-year old actor who's currently battling throat cancer.

Calling him "an American treasure," the festival's press release says the tribute, to be held on Jan.  13, will feature presentation of the Icon award along with a selection of clips from his films and an on-stage conversation with Variety's Peter Bart.

Although an honor, the presentation is unlikely to have any significant affect on the Oscar race. Douglas' performance in "Solitary Man" has been lauded by critics and Oscar bloggers, yet primarily ignored by SAG and most of the nation's critics groups.

-- Nicole Sperling

Photo: Michael Douglas. Credit: 20th Century Fox

Palm Springs film festival announces lineup

Way The 22nd annual Palm Springs International Film Festival, which runs from Jan. 6-17, will feature 193 films from 68 countries including 59 premieres -- nine world, 17 North American and 33 U.S.

The festival announced Wednesday morning that the opening night film will be the  French farce "Poitche," starring Catherine Deneuve and Gerard Depardieu and directed by Francois Ozon. The festival will close Jan. 16 with "The First Grader," a drama from the United Kingdom and Kenya about an 84-year-old former Mau Mau freedom fighter who decides to attend school.

Among the world premieres are "Down the Shore" with James Gandolfini, "Little Murder" with Terrence Howard and Josh Lucas, and the documentary "The Last Lions" narrated by  Jeremy Irons.

The festival will also feature two gala screenings and four special presentations:

Australian Gala: "The Way Back," directed by Peter Weir, and starring Colin Farrell and Ed Harris

Mid-Festival Gala: "Ceremony," directed by Max Winkler -- son of  Henry -- and starring Uma Thurman

The Gay!La (His): "Loose Cannons," from Italy

The Gay! La (Hers): "Leading Ladies"

Special Presentation: "The Hedgehog," from France

Special Presentation: "Road to Nowhere," directed by veteran Monte Hellman ("Two-Lane Blacktop") . Hellman is also attending the screening on Jan. 15 to receive the festival's Maverick Award.

Special Presentation: "Small Town Murder Songs," from Canada.

For the complete lineup go to

-- Susan King

Photo: Colin Farrell in "The Way Back." Credit: Telluride Film Festival

Ben Affleck and Danny Boyle to be honored at Palm Springs Film Festival

BenOscar winners Ben Affleck and Danny Boyle will receive the Chairman's Award and the Sonny Bono Visionary Award, respectively, at the 22nd annual Palm Springs International Film Festival  on  Jan. 8, organizers said Tuesday.

Actor/writer/director Affleck, who won the Academy Award for best screenplay with Matt Damon for 1997's "Good Will Hunting," received strong reviews this fall for the gritty thriller "The Town," which he stars in, directed and co-wrote.

Festival chairman Harold Matzner said in a statement Tuesday: "If there is truly a renaissance man in today's cinema, it's Ben Affleck." Past recipients of the award include Dustin Hoffman and Nicole Kidman.

Boyle's award is named after the singer and entertainer who founded the festival and served as mayor of Palm Springs. The director, who won an Oscar two years ago for "Slumdog Millionaire," is co-writer and director of this year's stranded-hiker drama, "127 Hours."

Quentin Tarantino, Baz Luhrmann, M. Night Shyamalan, Gus Van Sant and Joe Wright are among the previous winners of the Sonny Bono Visionary Award.

The festival takes place Jan. 6-17.

-- Susan King

Photo: Ben Affleck. Credit: Claire Folger / Warner Bros.

'The Social Network' to receive ensemble award at Palm Springs Film Festival

Jesse-EisenbergThe cast of "The Social Network" will receive the ensemble performance award at the 22nd annual Palm Springs International Film Festival, organizers announced Monday.  The film's director, David Fincher, will present the award to Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake, Armie Hammer and Rooney Mara, who are scheduled to attend.

"The Social Network," which chronicles the birth of Facebook, has been one of the most lauded films of the season and has already been named best picture by the New York Film Critics Circle,  the Los Angeles Film Critics Assn. and the National Board of Review. It is also nominated for six Golden Globes, two Screen Actors Guild awards and nine Critics Choice awards.

The Awards Gala takes place Jan. 8 at the Palm Springs Convention Center. The festival runs Jan. 6-17.

  Susan King

Photo: Jesse Eisenberg. Credit: Evan Agostini / Associated Press


Palm Springs International Film Festival announces African Cinema program and films in competition


The 22nd annual Palm Springs International Festival on Friday announced a new program, African Cinema, as well as the films scheduled to compete for the FIPRESCI,  New Voices/New Visions and John Schlesinger awards. The festival begins Jan. 6 and continues through Jan. 17.

"Cinema Safari: A Showcase of African Cinema" will premiere 13 films made in Africa that revolve around contemporary African stories and themes.  Among the films selected are  "I Am Slave," a drama about the modern-day slave trade, and the documentaries  "The Last Lions" and "Reconciliation: Mandela's Miracle.

"The Awards Buzz" section of the festival features 40 out of the 65 official submissions for the best foreign language film Oscar. The best of the 65 will be given the FIPRESCI Award.  Among the films to be screened are France's "Of Gods and Men," Iraq's "Son of Babylon," Japan's "Confessions" and India's "Peepli Live."

The New Voices/New Visions Award will go to one of 12 movies directed by new international talents making their debut at the festival.  Included in the dozen films are "40" from Turkey and "Black Field" from Greece.

The John Schlesinger Award for outstanding first documentary is given to a first-time filmmaker. Among the 10 films in competition are "Garbo: The Spy" from Spain, "Precious Life" from Israel/USA and "The Arbor" from Britain.

The festival will announce its complete lineup of films next week.

-- Susan King

 Photo: Nelson Mandela. Credit: Reuters

Diane Warren to receive award at Palm Springs


Diane Songwriter Diane Warren will receive the Frederick Loewe Music Award at the 22nd annual Palm Springs International Film Festival's awards gala on Jan. 8 at the Palm Springs Convention Center.

Warren's songs have been featured in nearly 100 films. "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing," performed by Aerosmith from the movie "Armageddon," earned an Oscar nomination, as did "Because You Loved Me," sung by Celine Dion from the film "Up Close and Personal"; "Music of My Heart," from the film of the same name, performed by 'NSync and Gloria Estefan; and "Nothing's Going to Stop Us Now," performed by Starship, from  "Mannequin."

Her latest song, "You Haven't Seen the Last of Me" from "Burlesque," was nominated for best song Monday by the Broadcast Film Critics Assn. for the 16th Annual Critics' Choice Movie Awards.

Previous recipients of the Palm Springs award, which is named after the composer of "My Fair Lady," "Brigadoon" and "Gigi,"  include T Bone Burnett, Alexandre Desplat, James Newton Howard and Danny Elfman.

-- Susan King

 Photo: Diane Warren. Credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

David O. Russell to receive director of the year award at Palm Springs film fest


David O. Russell, whose latest feature, "The Fighter," has been earning a steady stream of awards buzz,  will receive the director of the year award at the Palm Springs International Film Festival's Awards Gala Jan. 8 at the Palm Springs Convention Center.

"The Fighter," a boxing drama starring Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale, opens in limited release on Friday. Russell, who made his feature directorial debut with 1994's "Spanking the Monk ey," also directed "Flirting With Disaster," "Three Kings" and "I Heart Huckabees."

Previous director of the year honorees include Alexander Payne, Jason Reitman, Sean Penn and Ang Lee.

-- Susan King

Photo: David O. Russell. Credit: Jennifer S. Altman / For The Times


Robert Duvall to receive Palm Springs festival honor


The Palm Springs International Film Festival on Monday named veteran Oscar-winning actor Robert Duvall as the recipient of its 2011 Career Achievement Award. The star of "Tender Mercies," for which he won the lead actor Academy Award, and 'The Godfather," will receive his honor Jan. 8 at the awards gala at the Palm Springs Convention Center. The festival runs Jan. 6-17.

Duvall, 80,  received warm reviews over the summer as an eccentric hermit in the indie film "Get Low." 

Previous recipients of the Career Achievement Award include Cate Blanchett, Kevin Costner, Clint Eastwood and Morgan Freeman.

-- Susan King

Photo: Robert Duvall in "Get Low." Credit: Sam Emerson / Sony Pictures Classics

Colin Firth and Natalie Portman to be honored at Palm Springs festival


They may not be nominated for Oscars yet, but Colin Firth and Natalie Portman are already racking up achievement award honors. Firth, who is considered a front-runner for his performance as George VI in "The King's Speech," and Portman, who plays a prima ballerina descending into madness in "Black Swan," will receive the Desert Palm Achievement Award for actor and actress at the Palm Springs International Film Festival awards gala, which takes place Jan. 8 at the Palm Spring Convention Center. The festival runs Jan. 6-17 in the desert community.

Past honorees for the Desert Palm Achievement Award have been Jeff Bridges, Anne Hathaway, Daniel Day-Lewis, Sean Penn, Halle Berry and Marion Cotillard.

Firth and Portman join previously announced 2011 festival honorees (and potential Oscar contenders) Javier Bardem, Jennifer Lawrence and Carey Mulligan.

--Susan King


Photo: Colin Firth in "The King's Speech." Credit: Laurie Sparham/The Weinstein Co.


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