Plans for the 17th Palm Springs International Film Festival have been announced with 232 films from 70 countries, including four world, 31 North American and 51 U.S. premieres slated. Once again the festival will spotlight entries for the best foreign language Oscar consideration, with 51 of this year's 56 films screening during the festival. PSIFF will also host a small parade of celebs who will receive kudos at the event, in addition to its two juried competitions. New Line's "The New World" by Terrence Malick will open the festival, one of seven galas planned for the fest.
Malick's "The New World," starring Colin Farrell, Q'Orianka Kilcher, Christian Bale and Christopher Plummer is described as an epic adventure inspired by the legend of John Smith and Pocohontas "set amid the encounter of European and Native American cultures during the founding of the Jamestown settlement in 1607." The film portrays the classic story with "sweeping explorations of love, loss and discovery," according to the festival.
Additional gala screenings include the North American premieres of French director Valerie Lemercier's "Palais Royal!" starring Lemercier and Catherine Deneuve as well as Brazilian director Breno Silveira's "Two Sons of Francisco." "Palais" parodies the setbacks of the late Diana, Princess of Wales when a speech therapist marries the heir of an imaginary kingdom who becomes queen after the old king dies and is placed into a role she is unready to perform. "Two Sons," meanwhile is the story of Zeze Di Camargo and Luciano, two sons of a sharecropper who became a famous country music duo. The festival's "gay-la" will be Craig Chester's Tribeca '05 feature "Adam & Steve." The romantic-comedy revolves around 30-something gay man Adam, who encounters one of his most unsuccessful one-night stands without either of them realizing they've met before. The film stars Chester, Malcolm Gets and Parker Posey.
PSIFF world premieres include American directors Pippa Scott and Oree Rees' "King Leopold's Ghost" and Indian Rajeev Manoj Virani's "My Bollywood Bride." "Leopold" takes a look at colonial exploitation through Belgium's King Leopold II's plundering of the Congo in the 1800s, setting up a system of tyranny, which has shaped the country even to this day. Don Cheadle narrates the film. "Bollywood Bride," starring Jason Lewis and Kashmira Shah centers on a vacationing Bollywood star in California who embarks on a romance with a novelist, but then returns to India without saying "good bye" because she's torn by her feelings for him and her Indian roots.
"A History of Violence" director David Cronenberg will be in Palm Springs to receive the festival's "Visionary Award," one of a slew of celebs traveling to the desert resort to pick up accolades. "Brokeback Mountain" star Jake Gyllenhaal will be honored with the "Desert Palm Achievement Award, Actor," and Charlize Theron will take the same prize for "actress," while "Hustle & Flow" star Terrence Howard will receive the "Rising Star Award." Also in town will be Michael London (Producer of the Year Award) and Shirley MacLaine, this year's recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award. Thomas Newman will pick up the fest's "Frederick Loewe Award for Film Composing."
PSIFF will take place January 5 - 16 in Palm Springs. The festival will announce its closing film at a later date. Then Mayor Sonny Bono founded the festival in 1990.
[For more information and a complete list of the '06 PSIFF slate, visit their TARGET="_blank">website.]