One hiccup for the Palm Springs Intl. Film Festival this year is the suspension of what had been a prestigious feather in its cap — a jury organized by Fipresci, the international federation of film critics.
Established in 2001, the jury assessed the field of foreign-lingo submissions to the Oscars (a specialty of the fest), repping a unique case where critics weighed in on a specific Academy Awards category prior to the kudos.
Problems arose last year when the jury was overwhelmed by a lineup of 53 films, and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences’ ramped-up schedule for the first time had the official noms announced before the Palm Springs jury prize was known.
“Last year was great for the festival, but a nightmare for the jury,” says festival executive director Darryl Macdonald. “The new Academy deadlines robbed the jury prize of any impact.”
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Unresolved concerns regarding funding travel and lodging for Fipresci’s typically far-flung members as well as the jury prize’s focus compelled organizers and the critics body to suspend the prize.
Both parties plan discussions for a revised jury in 2006.