PALM SPRINGS – It’s that time of year when this world-famous tourist destination becomes ground zero for an international audience of thousands who gather for the Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival.

The much-anticipated 30th Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival opens Friday, Jan. 4 with the screening of “All is True” directed by Kenneth Branagh who is expected to attend.

Film Fest Draws International Crowd of Thousands

“All is True”

Branagh, Judi Dench and Ian McKellen star in Branagh’s intimate, revelatory portrait of William Shakespeare in the last act of his life. His career over, he returns to his home in Stratford-upon-Avon to encounter old ghosts, old loves, and his resentful family.

The festival closes on Sunday, Jan. 13 with “Ladies in Black” directed by Bruce Beresford.

Film Fest Draws International Crowd of Thousands

“Ladies in Black”

Set in Sydney in 1959, Oscar-nominated writer/director Bruce Beresford takes us back to the heyday of glamorous upscale department stores, when a concierge met you at the door and clerks wore gloves. The film from Lumila Films stars Julia Ormond, Angourie Rice, Rachael Taylor, Ryan Corr, Shane Jacobson and Alison McGirr. Beresford, Ormond, Taylor and McGirr are expected to attend.

In between the opening and closing films, the Film Festival will screen 223 films from 78 countries, including 48 premieres (four World, 13 North American and 31 U.S.) from Jan. 3-14.

Other key highlights of the festival are:

  • The Talking Pictures & Book to Screen program includes screenings/Q&As for BlacKkKlansman with Author Ron Stallworth, Bohemian Rhapsody with Actor Rami Malek, If Beale Street Could Talk with Writer/Director Barry Jenkins and Actress Regina King, Support The Girls with Actress Regina Hall, and The Wife with Actress Glenn Close
  • The festival will screen 43 of the 87 official submissions in the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar® category
  • In celebration of 30 years, the festival will host a 30-film retrospective of selections from past festivals, called the Palm Spring Canon. Films include Chocolat, City of God, Memento, Strictly Ballroom and more.
  • There will be a special focus on cinema from on France, India and Mexico.
  • The festival has added two new programs this year with a focus on Jewish cinema and Queer cinema.
  • The festival will have a new award honor this year dubbed the Ricky Jay Magic of Cinema Award, named for actor and magician Ricky Jay and in honor of a film made by a master filmmaker that exemplifies a pioneering spirit in furthering the language of storytelling and the magic of cinema.

The film line-up includes a focus on cinema from France, India and Mexico, Premieres, Talking Pictures, Book to Screen, Special Presentations, FLOS: Foreign Language Oscar Submissions, Gay!La, Local Spotlight, Modern Masters, True Stories, World Cinema Now, a 30-film retrospective of selections from past festivals (free screenings sponsored by Desert Care Network and National Endowment for the Arts), and more.

Juried awards for films in-competition will be presented at the Awards Brunch on Saturday, Jan. 12 for five categories, including New Voices New Visions Award for unique viewpoints from first- and second-time directors; Schlesinger Documentary Award for first or second time documentary filmmakers; CV Cine Award for the best Ibero-American film; and the FIPRESCI Prize for films in the Foreign Language Oscar® Submissions program.

The complete line-up is available now right here.