PALM SPRINGS, CA - JANUARY 07: Actress Judy Greer arrives at The 23rd Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival Awards Gala at the Palm Springs Convention Center on January 7, 2012 in Palm Springs, California. (Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images For The Palm Springs International Film Festival)
CINEMA UNDER THE SUN: The Golden Globes and all of the guild awards shows are the kick-off to awards season for many viewers, but SoCalers looking for their star-adjacent moment in the sun know that moviedom's big moment arrives in early January. That's when the Palm Springs International Film Festival opens for its nearly two-week run, slipping ahead on the calendar ahead of another January film festival that unfurls in Park City each January. The PSIFF -- you want to be insidery and use the lingo, right? -- is not merely a testing ground for those properties and actors that are set to take flight at the Beverly Hilton and the Dolby Theatre; it truly has become one of the outstanding spots to launch innovative works and build heat around directors and writers as well. And yes, there are stars, indeedy there are: Naomi Watts will Q&A during the cineparty, as will Alan Cumming. Richard Gere, Helen Hunt, and Helen Mirren are on the "we'll be there" list as well. And "Kon Tiki" is set to sail during the festival, so the whole majestic epic end of things will be well taken care of.
FIVE MORE FESTIVALS: Showing that the region does mean business in the movie realm is the fact that five more cinema-focused festivals are set to follow the PSIFF. The Native Film Fest opens on Feb. 27, the American Documentary Film Festival opens on April 4, the Arthur Lyons Film Noir Festival returns in May, and a multi-day celebration of short films kicks off in June. So basically the short awards-season bursts that some film fest towns experience early in the year keeps the glow going for a full six months out in the majestic shadow of San Jacinto. Nice going, Palm Springs. Very nice, indeed.
The Palm Springs International Film Festival runs from Thursday, Jan. 3 through Monday, Jan. 14.