It’s that time again. The annual Palm Springs Film Festival is upon us! With its promotion of multicultural exchange in the Coachella Valley, the festival will screen 134 films from 64 countries. Of these films, 27 are premieres never before viewed by the public. The festivities open on Thursday, January 5, running through January 16. Movie buffs popularly regard it as one of the top three film festivals in the U.S. Therefore, the Palm Springs Film Festival brings a flurry of media coverage and celebrities along with its inspiring films. So, what are the can’t-miss moments of this year’s festival?
Opening the Event with Star-Studded Smiles
While the 2023 Palm Springs Film Festival opens on Thursday, January 5, the first film screens Friday, January 6. That honor belongs to the world premiere of buddy sports comedy 80 For Brady directed by Kyle Marvin.
The film follows a quartet of friends played by Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda, Rita Moreno and Sally Field as they make an epic trek to the Super Bowl. With all of the main cast expected to be in attendance, it’s a star-studded way to kick off the festivities.
In-Person Appearances Amplify the Palm Springs Film Festival
Pitch Perfect fans won’t want to miss Anna Kendrick in person as she discusses her thriller, the Mark Night-directed Alice, Darling. Following the bond between a woman and her friends as she flounders at the culmination of an abusive relationship, the film captures Kendrick at her most intense. Alice, Darling screens on Saturday, January 14.
Though it’s already been stirring up acclaim, Martin McDonagh’s The Banshees of Inisherin is another must-see festival moment. Lead Colin Farrell will be on hand to discuss the Irish dramedy about the severance of a lifelong friendship and its aftermath. A late shining star of 2022, The Banshees of Inisherin is enjoying considerable buzz, so Farrell’s presence should just be icing on the cake. The film screens on Friday, January 6.
If documentaries are more your speed, Scott Hamilton Kennedy’s Shot in the Arm is sure to be illuminating. Tackling the history of “anti-vax” movements all the way to the present day, the screening is scheduled to feature both the director and noted astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson in attendance. You can catch Shot in the Arm on Friday, January 6.
Finally, rounding out the in-person appearances, director Paul Weitz and producer Andrew Miano will be present for the screening of their revenge comedy, Moving On. Like the aforementioned 80 For Brady, Moving On stars Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda. See it for yourself on Sunday, January 8.
Additionally, you’ll find plenty of eagerly anticipated movies punctuating the Palm Springs Film Festival. Stephen Williams marks Chevalier as his first directorial effort for the silver screen. The period piece follows the true account of composer Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges. The child of an African slave and a plantation owner, Bologne’s unusual rise to acclaim is sure to provide a suitably dramatic platform for William’s directing style. You can see Chevalier on Saturday, January 14.
Next we have a film that features Palm Springs resident Udo Kier. Yes, the one who formerly worked with Andy Warhol, Gus Van Sant, and Madonna! Those are some eccentric credentials. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that My Neighbor Adolf is unusual to say the least. Ultimately, it presents a dramedy following a holocaust survivor who believes his neighbor is none other than Adolf Hitler. My Neighbor Adolf screens several times throughout the festival, but you can catch it first on January 7.
Back to documentaries, Sara Newens and Mina T. Son present one steeped in Palm Springs history. Racist Trees tells the story of a looming wall of trees used to divide the upscale Tahquitz Creek Golf Course and Lawrence Crossley community. Because they were viewed as a symbol of racism, the trees were finally removed in 2018. See their story throughout the festival with your first chance on January 7.
A Strong Close to the Palm Springs Film Festival
The festival closes with its final screening on January 15 of the Steve Coogan-penned comedy The Lost King. Based on a book by Philippa Langley, the film follows a rogue historian in her search for the remains of King Richard III. Starring Coogan, Sally Hawkins and Game of Thrones’ Harry Lloyd as King Richard III, it’s sure to be a strong close to an impressive festival year.
Celebrating Over Three Decades of Cinematic Art in Palm Springs
The Palm Springs Film Festival got its start over three decades ago. It was largely driven by musician, TV personality and former Palm Springs mayor Sonny Bono. He felt a film festival would be crucial in extending the typical Palm Springs tourist season. In January 1990, the Palm Springs Film Festival made its debut and has been a fixture ever since. It’s largely responsible for maintaining Palm Springs’ reputation as a haven for the arts.
If you’re curious about the other movies screening throughout the duration of the Palm Springs Film Festival, you can see the list here. Additionally, a variety of ticket packages can be purchased here. General sales open December 22nd.