Palm Springs International Film Festival is a film festival held in Palm Springs, California. Originally promoted by Mayor Sonny Bono and then sponsored by Nortel Networks Corporation, it started in 1989 and is held annually in January. It is run by the Palm Springs International Film Society, which also runs the Palm Springs International Festival of Short Films (ShortFest), a festival of short films and film market in June. Michael Barker, co-president of Sony Pictures Classics, described the festival as a good place to show foreign-language movies and heralded this festival’s ability to spread good word-of-mouth for movies.
Though the festival does feature American independent films, the focus from its inception was to shine a spotlight on international cinema.
The festival regularly attracts around 135,000 people, with some 70% coming from outside of the Coachella Valley, including Canada and Europe. It is noted for its Award Ceremonies where such actors as Brad Pitt, Clint Eastwood, Sean Penn, Dustin Hoffman, Anne Hathaway and Leonardo DiCaprio have appeared. In January 2011, the festival’s honorees included Ben Affleck and Danny Boyle. The current director of the festival is Darryl Macdonald, long time festival director for the Seattle Film Festival.