Variety’s Indie Impact and 10 Directors to Watch 2012 brunch presented by Mercedes-Benz unspooled under vivid blue desert skies Sunday at the Parker Hotel in Palm Springs.

Honoree Charlize Theron said, “I have the career I have today because of independent films,” crediting “Monster” helmer Patty Jenkins with seeing her potential. All the directors she’s worked with deserve credit, she concluded, “even the bad ones.”

Variety’s Steven Gaydos introduced the 10 helmers to watch, saying, “What they have in common is a commitment to indie cinema — even when they make a studio film, it feels independent.”

Among the directors at the relaxed event were Mexican helmer Gerardo Naranjo, who said he’s almost hoping “Miss Bala” doesn’t get Oscar nommed so he can get off the campaign trail and back to work. “Sound of My Voice” helmer Zal Batmanglij said his next film, “The East,” will also feature “Voice” star Brit Marling, this time in a story about a woman who infiltrates an anarchist group.

Also brunching on the Parker lawn were Palm Springs Film Fest director Darryl Macdonald, fest chairman Harold Matzner and artistic director Helen du Toit, as well as thesps Shailene Woodley, Robert Forster and Ed Lauter.