Films showcase emphasize global flavor

The 19th annual Palm Springs Film Festival has assembled its slate, which showcases a decidedly global flavor. The 2008 installment will feature 222 films from more than 60 countries.

Fest, which runs Jan. 3-14, will offer 69 premieres, including the world bows of U.S. pics “Chihuly in the Hotshop,” “Cosmic Radio” and “Hollywood Singing & Dancing” plus “Icons” (U.S./Romania/Bulgaria).

“We’ve streamlined the festival lineup this year, trimming the overall numbers while adding some exciting new features and showcases,” said festival director Darryl Macdonald. “The result is a richer and more focused event.”

Fest will close Jan. 13 with the French romantic comedy “Priceless,” directed by Pierre Salvadori and starring Audrey Tautou and Gad Elmaleh. Festivities also include the American premiere of “Before the Rains” (U.S./India) as its World Cinema Now gala.

With a nod to the upcoming Oscars, fest’s Awards Buzz program will screen 55 of the official submissions to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences for foreign-language film. A special jury of international film critics including Ronald Bergen (U.K.), Isabelle Danel (France) and Adam Nayman (Canada) will award prizes for foreign-language film, actor and actress. Festival will also screen the shortlisted documentaries and short-subject docs for Academy consideration as part of this category.

A New Voices/New Visions Award will be bestowed upon an international filmmaker making his first or second film. Fest also will tap a winner for the John Schlesinger Award for first feature or documentary, audience awards for narrative feature and docu feature and two new nods: the Bridging the Borders Award, presented by Cinema Without Borders to an international film that extols the universality of the human experience, and the Heineken Red Star Award, which goes to a movie showcasing exceptionally original work.

In all 25 films from Latin America, Spain and Portugal will screen in the festival’s Cine Latino program, which will highlight emerging talent from the Latino film world. World Cinema Now will feature 77 films in an overview of contemporary international cinema. True Stories highlights 25 of the best new films in contemporary nonfiction cinema. Three films have been selected as special presentations: “The Band’s Visit” (Israel/U.S./France), “Hairspray” and “Honeydripper.” Archival Treasures will feature “Crime and Punishment” (U.S.), “Leave Her to Heaven” (U.S.) and “Reenactment” (Romania). And “Seventh Heaven” (U.S.) is the Silver Screen Silent Film Presentation, which will unspool with a live musical accompaniment.

“This was an incredibly strong year for emerging international filmmakers, especially those from the countries of Israel, Italy and throughout Latin America,” said director of programming Carl Spence and co-director of programming Helen du Toit in a statement.Among the premieres are 40 U.S. and 25 North American bows.

World premieres: “Chihuly in the Hotshop” (U.S.), “Cosmic Radio” (U.S.), “Hollywood Singing & Dancing” (U.S.) and “Icons” (U.S./Romania/Bulgaria).

North American premieres: “881” (Singapore/Japan), “The Art of Travel” (U.S.), “The Best of Me” (Spain), “Breath” (South Korea), “Burn the Bridges” (Mexico), “City of Men” (Brazil), “Eight Twenty Eight” (Israel), “How About You” (Ireland), “Investigation” (Bulgaria), “It’s Hard to Be Nice” (Bosnia), “Jani Gal” (Iraq), “King of Fire” (Thailand), “Late Bloomers” (Switzerland), “M for Mother” (Iran), “Noodle” (Israel), “Oxen’s Eye” (Brazil), “Possible Lives” (Argentina/Germany), “Protégé” (Hong Kong), “The Reject” (Serbia), “Return of the Storks” (Slovakia/Germany/Czech Republic), “The Roses of the Desert” (Italy), “Saturn in Opposition” (Italy), “Shotgun Stories” (U.S.), “Sparkle” (U.K.) and “The Stone Angel” (Canada).

U.S. premieres: “The 3 Little Pigs” (Canada), “12” (Russia), “Ballerina” (France), “Before the Rains” (U.S./India), “Ben X” (Belgium), “Body” (Brazil), “The Bodybuilder and I” (Canada), “Breakfast With Scot” (Canada), “Children of the Sun” (Israel/U.S.), “The Class” (Estonia), “Crossed Tracks” (France), “Crossing a Shadow” (Peru), “Duska” (Netherlands/Russia), “The Girl by the Lake” (Italy), “In the City of Sylvia” (Spain/France), “In Memory of Myself” (Italy), “Iska’s Journey” (Hungary), “Jimmy from the Hill” (Italy), “A Man’s Job” (Finland), “Mongol” (Kazakhstan/Germany), “Night Bus” (Italy), “Nightwatching” (U.K.), “Our Father” (Chile), “Pistoleros” (Denmark), “The Pope’s Toilet” (Uruguay/Brazil/France), “Princess of the Sun” (France/Belgium/Hungary), “Romulus, My Father” (Australia), “Run, Fat Boy, Run” (U.K.), “The Russian Triangle” (Georgia), “Santa Fe Street” (Chile/France/Belgium), “Shadows” (Macedonia/Germany), “She’s a Boy I Knew” (Canada), “Short Circuits” (Slovenia), “Then She Found Me” (U.S.), “Time to Die” (Poland), “To the Limit” (Germany/Austria), “Unspoken Passion” (Philippines), “The Waltz” (Italy), “Warden of the Dead” (Bulgaria) and “You” (Canada).

Awards Buzz Films

Foreign language submissions: “XXY” (Argentina/Spain/France), “The Home Song Stories” (Australia/Singapore), “The Counterfeiters” (Austria/Germany), “On the Wings of Dreams” (Bangladesh), “Ben X” (Belgium), “It’s Hard to Be Nice” (Bosnia), “The Year My Parents Went on Vacation” (Brazil), “Warden of the Dead” (Bulgaria), “Days of Darkness” (Canada/France), “Our Father” (Chile), “The Knot” (China), “Satanas: Profile of a Killer” (Colombia/Mexico), “Armin” (Croatia/Germany/Bosnia), “The Silly Age” (Cuba/Spain/Venezuela), “The Art of Crying” (Denmark), “In the Heliopolis Flat” (Egypt), “The Class” (Estonia), “A Man’s Job” (Finland), “Persepolis” (France), “The Russian Triangle” (Georgia), “The Edge of Heaven” (Germany/Turkey), “Eduart” (Greece), “Exiled” (Hong Kong), “Jar City” (Iceland/Germany), “Eklavya: The Royal Guard” (India), “Denias, Singing on the Cloud” (Indonesia), “M for Mother” (Iran), “Jani Gal” (Iraq), “Kings” (Ireland/U.K.), “Beaufort” (Israel), “I Just Didn’t Do It” (Japan), “Mongol” (Kazakhstan/Germany), “Caramel” (Lebanon/France), “Small Secrets” (Luxembourg), “Shadows” (Macedonia), “Gone With the Woman” (Norway), “Crossing a Shadow” (Peru), “Donsol” (Philippines), “Belle toujours” (Portugal), “Lovesickness” (Puerto Rico), “4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days” (Romania), “12” (Russia), “The Trap” (Serbia/Germany/Hungary), “881” (Singapore), “Return of the Storks” (Slovakia/Germany/Czech Republic), “Short Circuits” (Slovenia), “Secret Sunshine” (South Korea), “The Orphanage” (Spain/Mexico), “You, the Living” (Sweden), “Late Bloomers” (Switzerland), “King of Fire” (Thailand), “Duska” (Netherlands), “Takva — A Man’s Fear of God” (Turkey/Germany), “The Pope’s Toilet” (Uruguay/Brazil/France) and “The White Silk Dress” (Vietnam)

Documentaries: “A Promise to the Dead: The Exile Journey of Ariel Dorfman” (Canada/Netherlands), “Autism: The Musical” (U.S.), “Body of War” (U.S.), “Lake of Fire” (U.S.), “Nanking” (U.S.), “No End in Sight” (U.S.), “Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience” (U.S.), “Please Vote for Me” (China), “Taxi to the Dark Side” (U.S.), “The Price of Sugar” (U.S.), “War/Dance” (U.S.) and “White Light/Black Rain” (U.S.); short subject documentary: “Body & Soul: Diana & Kathy” (U.S.), “Freeheld” (U.S.), “Salim Baba” (India) and “Sari’s Mother” (U.S./Iraq).

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