Palm Springs International Film Festival

Palm Springs International Film Festival (sometimes stylized shortly as PSIFF) is a film festival held in Palm Springs, California. Originally promoted by Mayor Sonny Bono and then sponsored by Nortel,[1]: 198  it started in 1989 and is held annually in January. It is run by the Palm Springs International Film Society, which also runs the Palm Springs International Festival of Short Films (ShortFest), a festival of short films and film market in June.

Palm Springs International Film Festival
Official poster
LocationPalm Springs, California, U.S.
Founded1989; 35 years ago (1989)
Most recent2023
Hosted byPalm Springs International Film Society
No. of films2023: 134
Current: 34th

Though the festival does feature American independent films, the focus from its inception was to shine a spotlight on international cinema.[2]

The festival was cancelled in both 2021 and 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic in California. It was held from January 6 to January 16 in 2023. The 34th edition screened 134 films from 64 countries including 27 premieres. Film Awards ceremony on January 5 at the Palm Springs Convention Center started the celebrations.[3][4]



Michael Barker, co-president of Sony Pictures Classics, described the festival as a good place to show foreign-language movies and heralded this festival's ability to spread good word-of-mouth for movies. The event is noted for screening most foreign Oscar nominees. In 2013, the festival screened 42 of the 71 movies that were submitted by countries around the world to the Oscars for that year's foreign language film prize.[2]

In the days before the festival's opening, several of the foreign filmmakers convene at Sunnylands, the Annenberg estate in Rancho Mirage, to trade strategies on funding, producing and promoting their movies.[5]

The festival regularly attracts around 135,000 people, with some 70% coming from outside of the Coachella Valley, including Canada and Europe.[2] It is noted for its Award Ceremonies where such actors as Christian Bale, Brad Pitt, Clint Eastwood, Sean Penn, Dustin Hoffman, Anne Hathaway, Allison Janney, Brie Larson and Leonardo DiCaprio have appeared. In January 2011, the festival's honorees included Ben Affleck and Danny Boyle.[6] The current artistic director of the festival is Liliana Rodriguez.[7]

In 2021 the main festival was not held, but the Palm Springs International Festival of Short Films on June 22–28 did go ahead.[8][9] As of April 8, 2021, the next PSIFF was scheduled for January 6−17, 2022.[10] However, due to rising cases of COVID-19, the 2022 festival was canceled.[11]



Film Gala Awards


The Gala awards are Sonny Bono Visionary Award, Career Achievement Award, Desert Palm Achievement Award, Director of the Year Award, Frederick Loewe Award for Film Composing, Icon Award, Chairman's Award, Ensemble Performance Award and Spotlight Award.[12]

In 2014 the Desert Palm Achievement Award was given to Matthew McConaughey for his role in Dallas Buyers Club and Sandra Bullock for her role in Gravity,[12] while Johnny Depp and Cate Blanchett received the Desert Palm Achievement Award in 2016 for Black Mass and Carol, respectively. Casey Affleck received the Desert Palm Achievement Award in 2017 for Manchester by the Sea. Gary Oldman and Saoirse Ronan received the Desert Palm Achievement Award in 2018 for their films Darkest Hour and Lady Bird.[citation needed]

Festival awards


The following awards[13] were presented at the 2019 Palm Springs International Film Festival:

  • FIPRESCI Prize for Best Foreign Language Film
  • FIPRESCI Prize for Best Actor in a Foreign Language Film
  • FIPRESCI Prize for Best Actress in a Foreign Language Film
  • New Voices New Visions Award
  • John Schlesinger Award
  • CV Cine Award
  • Ricky Jay Magic of Cinema Award
  • GoE Bridging the Borders Award
  • Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature
  • Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature


  1. ^ Niemann, Greg (2006). "20: Showcasing Movies". Palm Springs Legends: creation of a desert oasis. San Diego, CA: Sunbelt Publications. p. 286. ISBN 978-0-932653-74-1. OCLC 61211290. (here for Table of Contents)
  2. ^ a b c Susan King (January 2, 2013), Palm Springs film fest lineup includes black and white silent films Los Angeles Times.
  3. ^ Brian Blueskye and Ema Sasic (December 16, 2022). "2023 Palm Springs International Film Festival lineup announced". Palm Springs Desert Sun. Naver. Retrieved December 18, 2022.
  4. ^ Grobar, Matt (6 December 2022). "Palm Springs Film Festival Unveils 2023 Lineup; '80 For Brady' To Open Fest, With 'The Lost King' Closing It Out". Deadline. Retrieved December 18, 2022.
  5. ^ Rebecca Keegan (January 6, 2011), Palm Springs International Film Fest mixes glamour, grit Los Angeles Times.
  6. ^ "Ben Affleck and Danny Boyle to be honored at PSIFF Awards Gala". December 21, 2010. Archived from the original on March 11, 2012. Retrieved January 25, 2011.
  7. ^ Kilday, Gregg (March 28, 2019). "Palm Springs Film Festival Names Lili Rodriguez as New Artistic Director". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 5, 2021.
  8. ^ Matzner, Harold; Lewis-Woodson, Rhea; Rodriguez, Lili. "Film Festival 2021 Update". Palm Springs International Film Society. Retrieved July 5, 2021.
  9. ^ Weil, Madison (June 24, 2021). "Palm Springs International Short Film Festival returns in-person, screening 295 films". KESQ-TV. Gulf-California Broadcast Company. Retrieved July 5, 2021.
  10. ^ "Palm Springs International Film Festival Announces 2022 Dates". Palm Springs International Film Society. April 8, 2021. Retrieved July 5, 2021.
  11. ^ "Palm Springs Film Festival Canceled for 2022". Variety. 29 December 2021. Retrieved 30 December 2021.
  12. ^ a b "Feature Festival Awards Archive", Palm Springs International Film Society. Accessed July 24, 2014.
  13. ^ "Film Festival Award Winners−2019". Palm Springs International Film Society. Retrieved July 5, 2021.