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by Bryce J. Renninger
February 23, 2011 7:20 AM
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Palm Beach Int'l FF Announces 2011 Opener, Closer, and Golden Palm Honoree

The Palm Beach International Film Festival announced it will open with Tom McCarthy's "Win Win" and close with Justin Chadwick's British/Kenyan film "The First Grader."

"Win Win" follows an attorney/high school wrestling coach (Paul Giamatti) in his shady business dealings with a promising young athlete. The film debuted at this year's Sundance Film Festival and will be released by Fox Searchlight. The fest's closing night film, "The First Grader," tells the true story of Maruge (Oliver Musila Litondo), who in his 80s, fights for free education for his nation's people. The film will be distributed in the U.S. by National Geographic.

The fest will also celebrate the career of actor Richard Jenkins, who earned an Oscar nomination for his work in McCarthy's "The Visitor," by giving him their Golden Palm Award. Jenkins also creeped out audiences last year with a chilling performance in the U.S. vampire remake "Let Me In."

The 16th Palm Beach International Film Fest runs from March 23-28, 2011.

The full release from the festival follows.

PALM BEACH INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL TO OPEN 16th EDITION WITH “WIN WIN” AND CLOSE WITH “THE FIRST GRADER” RICHARD JENKINS TO BE HONORED WITH THE GOLDEN PALM AWARD

BOCA RATON, FL – The Annual Palm Beach International Film Festival (PBIFF), which takes place Wednesday, will open its 16th edition with Sundance favorite Win Win, directed by Tom McCarthy and will wrap with the British/Kenyan drama The First Grader, from Justin Chadwick. The full PBIFF film line-up will be announced soon. In addition to the main festival, which takes place March 23 - 28, screenings of the “Best of the Fest” will continue on Tuesday, March 29 through Thursday, March 31 at Living Room Theatres.

Win Win stars Paul Giamatti as a disheartened attorney who moonlights as a high school wrestling coach and stumbles across a star athlete through some questionable business dealings while trying to support his family. Just as it looks like he will get a double payday, the boy's mother shows up fresh from rehab and flat broke, threatening to derail everything. The film, which played to rave reviews at the Sundance Film Festival, also stars Amy Ryan, Melanie Lewinsky, Jeffrey Tambor and Burt Young and will be released by Fox Searchlight late March. Opening Night festivities will take place Wednesday, March 23 at Muvico Parisian at Cityplace.

The First Grader, directed by Justin Chadwick, was a real crowd-pleaser at the Telluride Film Festival. The film, which stars Naomie Harris, Tony Kgoroge and Sam Feuer, is the true story of an 84 year-old Kenyan villager and ex Mau Mau freedom fighter who fights for his right to go to school for the first time to get the education he could never afford. Closing night will take place at Movies of Delray on Monday, March 28.

PBIFF is pleased to present the Golden Palm Award to actor Richard Jenkins. Jenkins, who received an Academy Award nomination for his highly-praised performance in director Tom McCarthy’s The Visitor, is one of the most in-demand character actors in Hollywood, having made over sixty feature films. In addition to having received critical acclaim for his role in The Visitor, Jenkins was most recently seen starring alongside Julia Roberts and Javier Bardem in Eat, Pray, Love, directed by Ryan Murphy, as well as in Overture’s film Let Me In, written and directed by Matt Reeves. Next, he will be seen in Jonathan Segal’s Norman, Drew Goddard’s highly-anticipated thriller Cabin InThe Woods, the Farrelly Brothers’ comedy Hall Pass, Friends with Benefits for Screen Gems and Lawrence Kasdan’s new film Darling Companion, opposite Diane Keaton, Kevin Kline and Diane Weist.
The awards will be presented at the Silver Screen Splash, which will take place poolside at the Boca Raton Resort on Friday, March 25.

”We are thrilled to be able to bookend this year’s festival with two diverse and popular films and even more delighted to be able to celebrate such an esteemed actor’s actor as Richard Jenkins whose career runs a broad spectrum and is SO deserving of this award.” commented PBIFF Director Randi Emerman.

The Palm Beach International Film Festival is a 501(c)(3) not for profit organization supporting film programs in local schools and dedicated to making a difference in the lives of future filmmakers by helping them fulfill their dreams to one-day work in the world of film. For more information, please call (561) 362-0003 or visit the festival web site at www.pbifilmfest.org.

Passes go on sale Friday, March 4! Platinum passes are available for $300, which include unlimited admission to all films, parties and the Silver Screen Splash Party; Gold passes are available for $150, which provide admission to all films, seminars and the Opening and Closing night film and party; and a student pass is $35 with valid student ID, which allows students to see all films and seminars on a space-available basis. Tickets for all movies are regular theatre admission (may differ by theatre) and can be purchased in advance at www.pbifilmfest.org or at each theater’s box office during the festival.

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