The 31st annual Palm Springs International Film Festival begins Thursday, bringing with it screenings of the year’s most acclaimed films and appearances by some of Hollywood’s most celebrated A-listers.
The 12-day affair kicks off Thursday morning with a 10 a.m. screening of “Harriet,” which tells the story of Harriet Tubman’s extraordinary escape from slavery, and her journey helping others follow in her footsteps. British actress Cynthia Erivo, who portrays Tubman in the film, will take part in a discussion after the screening.
Also at 10 a.m., “Bombshell,” starring Charlize Theron and Nicole Kidman, will be screened at the Annenberg Theater. Director Jay Roach will be present for a post-screening discussion.
Then at noon, a screening of “Marriage Story” at Palm Springs High School will conclude with a discussion with film stars Adam Driver and Laura Dern.
Later in the evening, the film awards gala will see Erivo, Dern, Theron and Driver honored for their performances, plus other celebrities including Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Lopez, Martin Scorsese, Joaquin Phoenix and Quentin Tarantino, will receive awards for their work in the film industry over the past year.
The following day, Variety magazine is set to recognize actor Robert De Niro and screenwriter and producer Lena Waithe at the festival’s “10 Directors to Watch Brunch” at the Parker Palm Springs.
Then comes more movies. This year’s screening lineup features 188 movies from 81 countries, including 51 premieres.
The special focus of this year’s film festival is Italian cinema, comprising seven films including “The Champion,” directed by Leonardo D’Agostini, and “The Disappearance of My Mother,” directed by Beniamino Barrese.
The 2019 film “Hustlers,” starring Jennifer Lopez as an exotic dancer who leads a group of her dancer friends to steal money from their wealthy Wall Street clients, will receive special attention at this year’s festival.
Director Lorene Scafaria will be featured during the Talking Pictures and Book to Screen program, which includes a film screening and question-and- answer session. Journalist Jessica Pressler, who penned a 2015 piece for New York Magazine that inspired the film, will be there too. Lopez was selected to receive the Spotlight Award at the awards gala for her lead role in the film.
The U.S. premiere of “Military Wives” at the Richards Center for the Arts at Palm Springs High School will help close out the festival on Jan. 12, followed by a reception at the Hilton Hotel.
The festival runs until Jan. 13. For tickets, along with a complete list of the 188 films slated to be shown, head to http://www.psfilmfest.org.