‘Coach Carter’ kicks off fest

'Red Dust' to make U.S. preem at Palm Springs

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The Palm Springs Film Festival has announced its official lineup for the Jan. 6-17 event. Close to 200 films have been selected for screening, 79 of which will be premieres.

A screening of Samuel L. Jackson starrer “Coach Carter,” based on a real-life story, kicks off the 16th annual fest. Closing-night unspooling will be the U.S. premiere of “Ladies in Lavender,” starring Judi Dench and Maggie Smith.

Also making its U.S. preem is “Red Dust,” which stars Hilary Swank. World preeming are “The Thing About My Folks,” starring Peter Falk, Paul Reiser and Olympia Dukakis, and “Americano,” starring Joshua Jackson and Dennis Hopper.

Also screening will be 41 of the 50 films submitted for the Oscar foreign-language film category.

The festival also has announced thesps to be honored at the 2005 Gala Awards on Jan. 8. Kirk Douglas will receive the lifetime achievement award. Kevin Spacey, Samuel L. Jackson, Liam Neeson and Laura Linney are among other honorees.

Official screening list is as follows (from official site):


This year’s festival will open on Thursday, January 6, 2005 with Paramount Pictures’ Coach Carter, directed by Thomas Carter (Save the Last Dance), starring Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Ri’Chard, Rob Brown, Debbi Morgan and Ashanti. Coach Ken Carter and the film’s director are expected to attend the screening. The film’s star Samuel L. Jackson will be honored at the Festival’s Awards Gala on Saturday, January 8, 2005 with the Career Achievement Award for Acting. Based on a true-life story, Coach Carter is an inspirational account of controversial high school basketball coach Ken Carter (Samuel L. Jackson), who received high praise and staunch criticism when he made national news for benching his entire undefeated team for poor academic performance.

The Festival will close on Sunday, January 16, 2005 with the U.S. premiere of Ladies in Lavender (United Kingdom), directed by Charles Dance, starring Judi Dench and Maggie Smith. The film follows two spinster sisters whose emotions are unleashed after a dapper young foreigner washes ashore on their beach on the eve of World War II.

Other International Gala Screenings include the World Premiere of The Thing About My Folks (USA), directed by Raymond De Felita, starring Peter Falk, Paul Reiser and Olympia Dukakis; the North American Premiere of Roma (Argentina/Spain), directed by Adolfo Aristarain; and the U.S. Premieres of Prom Queen (Canada), directed by John L’Ecuyer; The Story of My Life (France), directed by Laurent Tirard; and Red Dust (South Africa/United Kingdom), directed by Tom Hooper, starring Academy Award winner Hilary Swank.


Five films have been selected as Special Presentations featuring acclaimed films marking their U.S. or World Premieres, including the World Premieres of the controversial documentary on Lew Wasserman, The Last Mogul (USA/Canada), directed by Barry Avrich, and Life of the Party (USA), directed by Barra Grant, starring Eion Bailey. Other films selected in this program include the U.S. Premieres of 5 X 2 – Five Times Two (France), directed by Francois Ozon; Millions (United Kingdom/USA), directed by Danny Boyle; and Summer Storm (Germany), directed by Marco Kreuzpaintner.


The Festival will offer a selection of 79 premieres of highly anticipated films showcasing the diversity of international cinema. World Premieres include Americano (USA/Spain), starring Joshua Jackson and Dennis Hopper, Everything Blue (Brazil/Mexico), Decryptage (France), Sergeant Pepper (Germany), The Civilization of Maxwell Bright (USA), Going Through Splat: The Life and Work of Stewart Stern (USA), Hate Crime (USA), The Last Mogul (USA/Canada), Life of the Party (USA), Ocean Odyssey (USA/Canada, Kingdom of Tonga), Say Yes Quickly (USA), The Thing About My Folks (USA), Voices In Wartime (USA).

North American Premieres include Nietos (Identity and Memory) (Argentina), Roma (Argentina/Spain), Cazuza, There’s No Stopping Time (Brazil), The Diary of a Provincial Girl (Brazil), Day and Night (China/France), El Rey (Colombia/France, Spain), Long Dark Night (Croatia), A Wonderful Night in Split (Croatia), Eros Therapy (France), Inguélézi (France), Yesterday Once More (Hong Kong), Changing Destiny (Italy), Consequences of Love (Italy), Princess of Mount Ledang (Malaysia), The Welts (Poland), The Miracle According to Salomé (Portugal/France), Goose Feather (Serbia/Montenergo), Beneath Her Window (Slovenia), Bars in the Memory (Spain), Hours of Light (Spain), As It Is In Heaven (Sweden).

U.S. Premieres include Earth and Ashes (Afghanistan/France), It’s Not You, It’s Me (Argentina), Little Sky (Argentina), The Alzheimer Case (Belgium), La Femme de Gilles (Belgium), Almost Brothers (Brazil), Mila from Mars (Bulgaria), Prom Queen (Canada), White Skin (Canada), Wilby Wonderful (Canada), Electric Shadows (China), Two Great Sheep (China), The Art of Losing (Columbia/Spain), Three Times Two (Cuba), Return to Sender (Denmark/UK), Strings (Denmark/Sweden; UK; Norway), 5 X 2 – Five Times Two (France), Bad Spelling (France), Deadlines (France/UK, Tunisia), Genesis (France/Italy), When the Tide Comes In (France), The Story of My Life (France), Downfall (Germany), The Ninth Day (Germany/Luxembourg), Summer Storm (Germany), Cold Light (Iceland/UK, Norway, Germany), Avanim (Israel/France), First Love (Italy), An Italian Romance (Italy/France), Vento di Terra (Italy), Marebito (Japan), The Hunter (Kazakhstan/Japan/France/Switzerland/the Netherlands), Tarfaya (Morocco/France), Justice (Netherlands), Uno (Norway), Midwinter Night’s Dream (Serbia/Montenegro), Forgiveness (South Africa), Red Dust (South Africa/United Kingdom), Spider Forest (South Korea), Sternenberg (Switzerland), 20:30:40 (Taiwan), Formula 17 (Taiwan), Ladies in Lavender (United Kingdom), Millions (United Kingdom/USA), Land of Plenty (USA/Germany).


As part of the Awards Buzz program, the Festival will screen 41 of the official submissions to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for Best Foreign Language Film. Documentaries screening in the Awards Buzz category include Born into Brothels (USA), Home of the Brave (USA), Howard Zinn: You Can’t be Neutral on a Moving Train (USA), In the Realms of the Unreal (USA), Riding Giants (USA), The Ritchie Boys (Germany/Canada), The Story of the Weeping Camel (Mongolia), Super Size Me (USA), Tell Them Who You Are (USA), Touching the Void (USA).


The Festival will present two juried competitions this year. The New Voices/New Visions Award will honor one of 12 features from new international talents making their first or second films. Last year Pablo Berger, director of Torremolinos 73 (Spain), received the award. The John Schlesinger Award for Outstanding First Feature or Documentary that acknowledges the work of a first-time filmmaker whose narrative or documentary feature is presented at the Festival. Last year Yann Samuell, director of Love Me If You Dare (France), received the award.

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