Nortel fest goes global

Daily Variety, Landmark Theatres sponsor symposium

The Nortel Networks Palm Springs Intl. Film Festival (Jan 13-24) ratcheted up its status as a major unspooling for foreign language cinema this year, playing 32 films from the 47 pics submitted for the foreign language Oscar race.

The laid-back desert community was buzzing with filmmakers from all corners of the globe on Sunday, as Daily Variety and Landmark Theatres sponsored an Intl. Filmmakers Symposium and Reception at the Palm Springs Marquis Hotel.

Symposium, moderated by Daily Variety executive editor Steven Gaydos, brought together five directors of Oscar-submitted films: the Czech Republic’s Sasa Gedeon (“Return of the Idiot”), Soren Kragh-Jacobsen of Denmark (“Mifune”), Tony Bui for Vietnam’s entry (“Three Seasons”), Brazil’s Carlos Diegues (“Orfeu”) and Spain’s Pedro Almodovar (“All About My Mother”). The panel also included Oscar-winning and currently contending director Milos Forman (“Man on the Moon”) and director Hector Babenco of Argentina and Brazil.

Following the discussion on the state of global cinema, Landmark Theatres’ marketing VP Cary Jones presented an award to Italo producer Elda Ferri commemorating the victory of her film “Life Is Beautiful” at the top of a poll naming the 100 favorite foreign-lingo pics of all time.

After the huddle wrapped, the panelists and attendees moved into the Club Marquis for a reception at which Almodovar was presented with an international filmmakers award (a Chihuly glass sculpture) from the Palm Springs fest, and Jones accepted the fest’s international exhibitor award in commemoration of the edgy exhib’s 25th anniversary.

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