Sean Penn to headline opening night of 2024 AmDocs Film Festival in Palm Springs

PALM SPRINGS – The American Documentary and Animation Film Festival (AmDocs) has announced that two-time Oscar winner Sean Penn will headline Opening Night and screen his documentary, “Superpower,” on March 21 at the Palm Springs Cultural Center.

This year’s event is presented by the Supple Foundation which supports cultural arts programs, events and scholarships throughout the Greater Palm Springs area.

The 13th Annual AmDocs, scheduled for March 21-25, will showcase a selection of more than 200 films from across the globe.

Penn’s film, “Superpower,” started as a feature on Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy, but took a dramatic turn when Russia invaded Ukraine while Penn and his film team were in the country.

“Sean Penn, one of the most distinguished actor-auteurs of his generation and a committed humanitarian, is not only headlining our festival this year but also being honored with our highest accolade, the ‘Seeing The Bigger Picture’ award,” stated Ted Grouya, Director of AmDocs.

“This work provides a close-up perspective on Volodymyr Zelenskyy, offering an unfiltered view into the onset of the war.  I believe our audience will resonate with the film’s narrative and Sean’s insights on the invasion of Ukraine.”

Penn has been nominated five times for an Academy Award®

Penn won his first Academy Award® in 2003 for the Clint Eastwood feature, “Mystic River.” In 2008, Penn won his second Oscar® for “Milk,” when he portrayed San Francisco Mayor Harvey Milk. Penn also earned nominations for “Dead Man Walking,”, “Sweet and Lowdown,” and “I Am Sam.”

In 1991, Penn made his directing debut with “The Indian Runner.” His 2007 film, “Into the Wild,” earned a Directors Guild of America nomination.

In addition to “Superpower,” there are other significant films screening at the festival including two which were on the shortlist for an Oscar® nomination.

“Oasis” is a story of brothers – one with developmental disabilities – as they come of age.

“Wings of Dust,” is about a Peruvian indigenous journalist who risks his life to protect the natural resources of ancestral lands. Actor Benjamin Bratt is one of the producers of “Wings of Dust”, which won the 2023 gold medal at the Student Academy Awards®.

The 2024 festival will be the 13th consecutive year of the event, which has attracted and honored top filmmakers such as Oscar®-winners Oliver Stone (Platoon, Born on the 4th of July), Michael Moore (Bowling for Columbine), and the late John G. Avildsen (Rocky, Karate Kid) and many other acclaimed artists, including Peter Bogdanovic, Pierce Brosnan, Dionne Warwick, Shia LaBeouf, Haskell Wexler, George Takei, Sacheen Littlefeather and more.

Alongside an extensive collection of documentary films, AmDocs presents a diverse selection of world-class animated works from various corners of the globe. Additionally, for the 2024 edition, there is a compelling new competition category featuring music videos.

Festival passes and tickets are now available at

Go to for the full schedule and synopses of films.

This year, AmDocs reviewed more than 2,000 films from around the world. The vast array of topics includes human rights, Native Peoples, food, seniors in action, women’s rights, entrepreneurship, the arts, social justice, politics, wellness, environment, politics, a new slate of local student films and many more exciting and interesting stories that affect us all.

AmDocs draws in numerous members from the Director’s Guild of America and the Academy Awards®. Before the festival kicks off, AmDocs is set to host two complimentary education outreach special screenings on dates to be determined. One will take place in collaboration with UC Riverside’s Palm Desert Campus as part of its Osher program, while the other will be held at the FourTwenty Bank, a cannabis lounge in Palm Springs.

Image Sources

  • Sean Penn: AmDocs