Palm Springs Ends Fest with "The Man Without a Past," "Broken Wings" Taking Honors
by Brian Brooks
The Palm Springs International Film Festival ended its 14th installment early last week screening more than 200 films including 45 of the 54 submissions to the Academy for Best Foreign Language consideration. The festival, which opened January 9, announced Finnish director Aki Kaurismaki's "The Man Without a Past" won the International Critics Prize (FIPRESCI Prize) for Best Official Foreign Language Film of the Year (for 2002). The film was selected from the 45 contenders that screened during the event.
In other prizes, the festival awarded its inaugural John Schlesinger Award for debut feature film to "Broken Wings" by Israeli director Nir Bergman. The Schlesinger Award will become an annual tradition in honor of a first-time narrative or documentary filmmaker with work playing in the festival. This year, "X-Men" director Bryan Singer presented the award.
PSIFF's audience favorite prize went to Scott Hamilton Kennedy's "OT: Our Town." Others in the top 10 included Toronto fave "The Magdalene Sisters," by Peter Mullan (UK/Northern Ireland); "A Peck on the Cheek," by Mani Ratnam (India); and "Touching Wild Horses," by Eleanor Lindo (England/Canada).
"We had a tremendous assortment of high caliber, quality films that played exceedingly well, and the audience responded accordingly," said festival executive director Mitch Levine in an event release. "We broke every box-office record we've ever had in terms of attendance and receipts, and the critical response and world media attention has been sensational." The 12-day event included five world premieres, 23 North American premieres and 56 U.S. premieres as well as career achievement awards presented to director Franco Zeffirelli ("Callas Forever"), composer Michel Legrand, producer Mace Neufeld, and actress Lynn Redgrave ("Peter Pan").