PALM SPRINGS – The Palm Springs International Film Festival, a juggernaut of cinematic entertainment, red carpets, and Hollywood celebrities that attracts tourists from around the globe, will not let a worldwide pandemic stop it.
The Palm Springs International Film Festival has made some adjustments to work with the virus, but organizers will not let a mysterious, invisible virus stop it.
Some cities have also had to adjust on how they sponsor — or will not sponsor — the festival due to plummeting revenues related too the coronavirus.
But the showcase of films is set to go on.
The movie-based extravaganza, often considered a precursor to the Academy Awards, is usually held in January. This year, the Palm Springs International Film Festival Society has announced new dates for the 32nd annual Palm Springs International Film Festival. The festival will move to Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021 through Monday, March 8, 2021.
On Thursday, Feb. 25, the annual Film Awards Gala will kick off the festival at the Palm Springs Convention Center. Full days of film screenings will begin Feb. 26 including the Opening Night presentation that evening and will conclude with Best of Fest on March 8.
The date change is to ensure the health and safety of patrons, staff, filmmaker guests and partners and to make sure all can have a memorable and enjoyable festival experience.
Film submissions will be accepted beginning Aug. 1 through FilmFreeway. Film Award Gala seats and tables and Festival passes will go on sale in October.
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The festival, a centerpiece of Palm Springs tourism, will still be in a position to predict Oscar winners.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the ABC Television Network announced the 93rd Oscars® ceremony will move to Sunday, April 25, 2021, as a result of the global pandemic caused by COVID-19. The show, which will air live on ABC, was originally scheduled for Feb. 28, 2021.
As festival organizers searched for a new date, at least two Coachella Valley cities, beset by revenue losses due to the pandemic, tried to find ways to continue sponsor the Festival. One did, one did not.
For the city of Palm Springs, the 2021 Film Festival Title Sponsorship cost of $350,000 was not budgeted in the General Fund as in previous years, due to the city’s budget reduction, City Manager David H. Ready told Uken Report. For the first time, it will be paid for with money from the PS Resorts group, which receives a portion of their hotel’s “resort fee TOT” as a rebate and is allowed for expenditures related to marketing and bringing in conventions, he said.
“The importance of the Film Festival for the city remains as a premier brand marketing tool,” Ready said. “The positive Palm Springs digital impressions far exceed the $350,000 value of the sponsorship.”
Cathedral City had to cut $50,000 from its budget that had been intended to help sponsor the Festival.
“We reluctantly cut the Film Festival funding which was a difficult decision,” Cathedral City Mayor John Aguilar told Uken Report. “As you know from our budget discussions, our revenues this fiscal year will be over $10 million less than what we had originally planned due to the pandemic we are all experiencing. Like with other cities, we were forced to take drastic measures to protect the current and financial basic services and health of the city, which included eliminating funding for the production or sponsorship of all events in FY20-21.”
Aguilar added, “We are hoping that if the economy improves and as the city prepares their next budget, we will be able to restore some of the cuts, including the Film Festival. The Festival is a strong economic driver for the area and we would very much like to continue to participate as future funding allows.”
Harold Matzner, Festival Chairman, took the cut all in stride.
“The Festival will continue to use the Mary Pickford theater in Cathedral City,” he told Uken Report. “We understand that these are bad times for all of us.”
- John Aguilar: Cathedral City
- Cinema strip: Pixaby