Palm Springs International Film Festival Returns In-Person With Diverse Screening Line-Up


The 34th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) is set to return in-person from Jan. 5-16 for the first time since 2020, and this year’s line-up of screenings is the most diverse the festival has ever seen, according to PSIFF artistic director Lili Rodriguez.

“We always have drama, we always have comedy, we always have docs, but we have sci-fi this year, we have horror, we have animation,” Rodriguez said. “I don’t think you’ll find two movies that are similar in the line-up.”

The celebration kicks off with the Film Awards at Palm Springs Convention Center on Jan. 5, which will honor seasoned filmmakers and performers like “Women Talking” director Sarah Polley, “The Banshees of Inisherin” star Colin Farrell, “Tár” lead performer Cate Blanchett and “The Whale” star Brendan Fraser.

Director Kyle Marvin’s sports comedy, “80 for Brady” will have its global debut Friday evening. Stars Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda, Rita Morena and Sally Field will be in attendance for the screening, as well as seven-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady, who worked as both a producer and an actor on the film.

“[PSIFF] is a great festival and also an incredibly warm festival in terms of film and film lovers, and I think it’s kind of a perfect launching pad for a film like this, that’s really in the same spirit of warmth and love of cinema,” Marvin says.

Also on Friday, Variety will hold a reception to honor its Directors to Watch as well as Creative Impact Award honorees.

Also premiering at the festival is “Shot in the Arm,” a documentary on the history of the anti-vax movement, with director Scott Hamilton Kennedy and executive producer Neil deGrasse Tyson in attendance. Leon Prudovsky’s “My Neighbor Adolf” and Stephen Williams’ “Chevalier” will be screened for the first time in the U.S. as well.

Rather than making the 12-day affair a splashy homecoming for festival veterans, Rodriguez explained the goal among festival staff was to ensure comfort and accessibility above all else while navigating from screening to screening.

“The size of the lineup was not a priority for us; it is quite big — we have 134 movies — but it is smaller from what we did in 2020,” Rodriguez continued. “We also understand that people maybe feel differently, and they’re maybe not as comfortable to dash around from screening to screening, so we made it a little more manageable.”

Theater capacity will be set to 75% at each of the venues, so festival-goers can move freely. Proof of vaccination is required from attendees upon entry, and though masks are not mandated, they are strongly encouraged.

As the festival continues to evolve, Rodriguez said the staff aims to expand viewership to a younger demographic without “changing the lineup to cater to that age group.” This year, a $100 badge will be offered to college-age students with a valid student ID that grants access to all film screenings. A smaller selection of films from the lineup will be made free to view for high school students each weekend, pending proof of vaccination and a student ID.

Other festival passes are available for purchase in varyingly priced tiers, ranging from a 5-day B Pass for $350 to a premium access American Express Pass for $2500.


What: Palm Springs International Film Festival
When: Jan. 5-16
Where: Palm Springs, California

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