The 27th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) will launch on Friday,
January 1 with Klaus Härö’s Golden Globe-nominated and Academy Award-shortlisted “The Fencer.” The Festival’s closing night film will then screen on Sunday, January 10 with the U.S. premiere of “Last Cab to Darwin,” directed by Jeremy Sims. The Festival announced its complete lineup of films including Talking Pictures, Special Presentations
and additional programming. A total of 176 films will screen in this year’s festival from January 1-11.
“Bookending the festival are two films from opposite sides of the globe, both of which promise an emotionally stirring film-going experience,” said
Artistic Director Helen du Toit. “’The Fencer’ is the ideal opener for Palm Springs – not just because it is a beautifully made film, and a
crowd-pleaser, but also because Finnish director Klaus Härö has become a festival favorite over the years. We are equally excited to be wrapping the
festival with the US premiere of Jeremy Sims’ ‘Last Cab to Darwin,’ a road movie/comedy set in the Australian outback and featuring the irresistible
Michael Caton as a man who, while trying to expedite his own demise, finally learns how to live.”
Opening and Closing Screenings
Opening night title “The Fencer” is a Golden Globe nominee for Best Foreign Language Film and Finland’s Best Foreign Language Oscar® submission. The
film is about a young fencer in the early 1950s who, while hiding from the Russian secret police, becomes a physical education teacher in an Estonian
village. His after-school sporting club brings inspiration to students and teacher alike, but the past catches up and faces him with a difficult choice.
The Festival will close with the U.S. premiere of “Last Cab to Darwin” directed by Jeremy Sims. In this warm-hearted road movie Rex is a loner, and
when he’s told he doesn’t have long to live, he embarks on an epic drive through the Australian outback from Broken Hill to Darwin to die on his own terms.
But his journey reveals to him that before you can end your life, you have to live it, and to live it, you’ve got to share it. The film stars Michael Caton
and Jackie Weaver.
Every year, the Festival presents a series of special programs devoted to exploring the careers and creative choices of the top talents in the world of
cinema, including Oscar®-caliber actors and directors in conversation with leading entertainment journalists. Each program includes a film
screening and an on-stage conversation.
Golden Globe nominee Lily Tomlin will attend the screening of Sony Pictures Classics’ “Grandma” and participate in an on-stage interview immediately
following, presented by Tribeca Short List. Elle Reid has just gotten through breaking up with her girlfriend when her granddaughter Sage unexpectedly
shows up needing 600 dollars before sundown. Temporarily broke, Grandma Elle and Sage spend the day trying to get their hands on the cash and their
unannounced visits to old friends and flames end up rattling skeletons and digging up secrets.
Director Asif Kapadia will attend the screening of his documentary “Amy,” a sympathetic and revealing portrait of Amy Winehouse which
employs the singer’s own candid footage and creative visualizations of her lyrics to illuminate the story of her all-too-short life and career.
“The Talking Pictures program creates once in a lifetime opportunities for audiences to hear directly from some of the year’s hottest Oscar ®contenders —
and this year is no exception,” said Festival Director Darryl Macdonald. “Golden Globe nominee Lily Tomlin will discuss her widely acclaimed work in ‘Grandma’ following the film’s screening; and director Asif Kapadia will join us to unpack his heartbreaking, intimate documentary ‘Amy.’ ”
The Festival will hold three special presentations. Golden Globe-nominated “The Brand New Testament,” which is also the Best Foreign Language Oscar submission from Belgium, directed
by Jaco Van Dormael and starring Pili Groyne, Benoit Poelvoorde and Catherine Deneuve. The film is a high-concept satire in which God accidentally sets off
a panic after his disgruntled daughter leaks the apocalyptic plans stored on his computer. The U.S. premiere of “Eye in the Sky,” directed by Gavin
Hood and starring Helen Mirren, Alan Rickman and Aaron Paul, is a thriller set in the world of remotely piloted aircraft warfare. “The Revenant,” directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu and starring Leonardo DiCaprio as frontiersman Hugh Glass, is nominated for three Golden Globe awards
including Best Picture-Drama, Best Actor-Drama and Best Director.
Dinner and a Movie
The festival will screen the documentary “Cooking Up a Tribute,” directed by Luis Gonzalez and Andrea Góme, as part of its Dinner & a Movie
program. The film follows famed restaurateurs Josep, Jordi and Joan Roca as they take their renowned El Celler de Can Roca on the road, exploring and
incorporating the native cuisines of Mexico, Colombia and Peru in their cooking. And the screening will be followed by a dinner at Mr. Lyons restaurant
with a menu by chef Tara Lazar and Masterchef finalist Stephen Lee