Stylish Cinema: Palm Springs International Film Festival

Here comes cinema's biggest season, via its first sunshine-y stop.

LET'S GET THIS PARTY STARTED: We may let our resolutions take a few easy days to kick in -- Jan. 4th or 5th, or the first Monday following New Year's Day, feels like the right time to buckle down -- and we may not get around to cleaning out the files for the previous year for a couple of weeks. But the film festival and awards business is not about dilly-dallying when the first month of the year steps up: In short, when the year starts, it is as if the cinema world says "let's do this" with one collective breath. Stop number one in doing this -- hailing fresh films, screening gems, and bestowing honors upon creative types -- is always the desert and the Palm Springs International Film Festival, which will rev up movie award season just hours into 2015. Make that hours plus a day: The mega movie-celebrity-Q & A happening, which is awash in both red carpet glamour and nook-ish to-dos aimed at niche tastes, opens on Friday, Jan. 2.

THE FILM FESTIVAL... is indeed the traditional start to the annual cinema calendar, and while the scene and pool parties and La Vida Resort Living is part of the party, so are the screenings: "(Y)oung, emerging filmmakers" shall get their time to shine in the Breaking Waves screenings, while Another Europe applauds filmmakers from Central and Eastern Europe. There are secret screenings, a free film ("X + Y"), documentaries, and the bountiful bevy of works that come from a festival being around for a quarter century (make that a quarter century plus a year: PSIFF turns 26 in 2015). "Selma" is the centerpiece of the Opening Night Gala and "Boychoir" closes out the festival on Sunday, Jan. 11.

SO... are you ready for all of the red-carpet-y, camera-flash-bulb-y happenings that will roll out over the first fifth of the year around Southern California? Palm Springs is, too. And, nope, the festival isn't just for industry insiders; any film fan is welcome to purchase a ticket or line-up for a stand-by seat, if that option is available. If the Oscars and even the Golden Globes are still too faraway, go P.S. to get your film fandom on.

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