By Ray Pride


[PR] The festival’s opening night will be the World Premiere screening of The Sense of an Ending, directed by Ritesh Batra on Thursday, January 5.  The festival will close with The Comedian, directed by Taylor Hackford on Sunday, January 15. The Festival will screen 190 films from 72 countries, including 58 premieres (9 World, 5 International, 20 North American and 24 U.S.) from January 2-16, 2017.  The complete line-up including a focus on cinema from Poland, Premieres, New Voices/New Visions competition, Modern Masters, True Stories, After Dark and more were also announced, in addition to the Awards Buzz program released last week.


PSIFF will open with the World Premiere of the CBS Film The Sense of an Ending, directed by Ritesh Batra.  The film stars Jim Broadbent and Charlotte Rampling who team up with the director of The Lunchbox in this mesmerizing adaptation of Julian Barnes’s acclaimed novel about time, memory, jealousy, and the lies we tell ourselves to survive. The film also stars Harriet Walter, Freya Mavor, Emily Mortimer, Michelle Dockery, Matthew Goode and Billy Howle. The film opens in NY and LA on March 10.

Closing the festival will be the Sony Pictures Classics film The Comedian, directed by Taylor Hackford.  Robert De Niro stars as Jackie Burke, a bitter, angry insult comic who was once the popular star of a TV sitcom, and is now trying to claw his way back on the stand-up circuit, one scabrous joke at a time.  The film’s supporting cast features Leslie Mann, Danny Devito, Cloris Leachman, Harvey Keitel, Patti LuPone and Edie Falco.

“I couldn’t be more proud of this year’s lineup. The programming team has managed to pull together a plethora of different viewpoints in storytelling from around the world in hopes of generating great discussion sorely needed in these divisive times,” said Artistic Director Michael Lerman.  “Between the 42 Foreign Language Oscar® submissions, each selected to represent their own country in a year that’s more competitive than ever, to the poignant work being made by Modern Masters like Kim Ki-Duk, Ken Loach, Feng Xiaogang and Steve James, to the ever-surprising first and second features in our New Voices/New Visions competition like the unmissable Zoology and Kati Kati, the festival is jam-packed with gems. Along with that, I have to say what a pleasure it is to present the World Premiere of Ritesh Batra’s second feature film, The Sense of an Ending for Opening Night. We were all massive fans of his first feature, The Lunchbox, and we can’t wait to welcome him to Palm Springs.”


World premieres:

  • The Beautiful Fantastic (UK/U.S.), Director Simon Aboud
  • Breakable You (U.S.), Director Andrew Wagner with Holly Hunter, Tony Shalhoub and Alfred Molina
  • The Concessionaires Must Die! (U.S.), Director America Young
  • Do It or Die! (U.S), Director Jørn Winther
  • Eagles of Death Metal: Nos Amis (Our Friends) (U.S./France), Director Colin Hanks
  • Everybody Loves Somebody (Mexico), Director Catalina Aguilar Mastretta with Karla Souza
  • Poorna (India), Director Rahul Bose
  • The Sense of an Ending (UK/U.S.), Director Ritesh Batra
  • Take Me Home Huey (U.S.), Directors Alicia Brauns and Christine Steele

International premieres:

  • The 4th Company (Mexico/Spain), Directors Amir Galván Cervera and Mitzi Vanessa Arreola
  • Call Me Thief (South Africa), Director Daryne Joshua
  • Julie and the Shoe Factory (France), Directors Paul Calori and Kostia Testut
  • Tonio (Netherlands), Director Paula van der Oest
  • Xamou (Greece), Director Clio Fanouraki

North American premieres:

  • At the End of the Tunnel (Argentina/Spain), Director Rodrigo Grande
  • Bad Influence (Chile), Director Claudia Huaiquimilla
  • Dark Skull (Bolivia/Qatar), Director Kiro Russo
  • The Day Will Come (Denmark), Director Jesper W. Nielsen
  • Ethel & Ernest (UK/Luxembourg), Director Roger Mainwood with the voices of Brenda Blethyn and Jim Broadbent
  • Half Ticket (India), Director Samit Kakkad
  • The Hippopotamus (UK), Director John Jencks with Roger Allam, Matthew Modine and Fiona Shaw
  • A Jew Must Die (Switzerland), Director Jacob Berger
  • King of the Belgians (Belgium/Netherlands/Bulgaria), Director Peter Brosens and Jessica Woodworth
  • The Liberation of Skopje (Macedonia/Croatia/Finland), Directors Rade Šerbedžija and Danilo Šerbedžija
  • Mellow Mud (Latvia), Director Renārs Vimba
  • Mercenary (France), Director Sacha Wolff
  • Mountain Cry (China), Director Larry Yang
  • No Dress Code Required (Mexico), Director Cristina Herrera Bórquez
  • The Spy and the Poet (Estonia), Director Toomas Hussar
  • Tommy’s Honour (U.S.), Director Jason Connery
  • The Turkish Way (Spain), Director Luis González
  • Vincent and the End of the World (Belgium/France), Director Christophe Van Rompaey
  • When We Rise (U.S.), Director Gus Van Sant with Guy Pearce, Mary-Louise Parker, Rachel Griffiths and Rosie O’Donnell
  • The Winter (Argentina/France), Director Emiliano Torres


U.S. premieres:

  • Barakah Meets Barakah (Saudi Arabia), Director Mahmoud Sabbagh
  • Behind the Clouds (Belgium), Director Cecilia Verheyden
  • Blessed Benefit (Jordan/Germany/Netherlands), Director Mahmoud al Massad
  • Brimstone (Netherlands/Germany/France/Belgium/Sweden/UK), Director Martin Koolhoven with Guy Pearce and Dakota Fanning
  • Center of My World (Germany/Austria), Director Jakob M. Erwa
  • Daguerrotype (France/Japan/Belgium), Director Kiyoshi Kurosawa
  • The Distinguished Citizen (Argentina/Spain), Director Mariano Cohn and Gastón Duprat
  • In Between (Israel/France), Director Maysaloun Hamoud
  • It’s Not the Time of My Life (Hungary), Director Szabolcs Hajdu
  • J: Beyond Flamenco (Spain), Director Carlos Saura
  • King of the Dancehall (U.S./Jamaica), Director Nick Cannon with Louis Gossett, Jr., Whoopi Goldberg and Busta Rhymes
  • The King’s Choice (Norway), Director Erik Poppe
  • KONELĪNE: our land beautiful (Canada), Director Nettie Wild
  • Little Wing (Finland/Denmark), Director Selma Vilhunen
  • Ma’ Rosa (Philippines), Director Brillante Mendoza
  • Memories of Summer (Poland), Director Adam Guziński
  • Noces (Belgium/France/Luxembourg/Pakistan), Director Stephan Streker
  • Past Life (Israel), Director Avi Nesher
  • Pihu (India), Director Vinod Kapri
  • Souvenir (Belgium/Luxembourg / France), Director Bavo Defurne with Isabelle Huppert
  • The Stopover (France/Greece), Director Delphine Coulin and Muriel Coulin
  • A United Kingdom (UK), Director Amma Asante with Rosamund Pike and David Oyelowo
  • White Sun (Nepal/US/Qatar/ Netherlands), Director Deepak Rauniyar
  • X500 (Canada/Colombia/Mexico), Director Juan Andrés Arango


The festival’s country focus this year offers new works by contemporary Polish filmmakers, each evoking a specific time and place in their country’s history and examining politics both personal and institutional. The section also honors Andrzej Wajda, one of the greats of European cinema, with screenings of his final work Afterimage as well as an archival print of his 1958 masterpiece Ashes and Diamonds.  The films in the program include:

  • Afterimage (Poland), Director Andrzej Wajda
  • Ashes and Diamonds (Poland), Director Andrzej Wajda
  • Memories of Summer (Poland), Director Adam Guziński
  • The Last Family (Poland), Director Jan P. Matuszyński
  • United States of Love (Poland/Sweden), Director Tomasz Wasilewski
  • Zacma: Blindness (Poland), Director Ryszard Bugajski


The New Voices/New Visions competition showcases ten films from emerging international directors bringing their first or second narrative features to the Festival. The winner is selected by a jury of festival programmers and U.S. distributors. Films selected for this year include:

  • Barakah Meets Barakah (Saudi Arabia), Director Mahmoud Sabbagh
  • Boundaries (Canada), Director Chloé Robichaud
  • In Between (Israel/France), Director Maysaloun Hamoud
  • Julie and the Shoe Factory (France), Director Paul Calori, Kostia Testut
  • Kati Kati (Kenya/Germany), Director Mbithi Masya
  • Little Wing (Finland/Denmark), Director Selma Vilhunen
  • Mellow Mud (Latvia), Director Renārs Vimba
  • The Winter (Argentina/France), Director Emiliano Torres
  • White Sun (Nepal/U.S./Qatar/Netherlands), Director Deepak Rauniyar
  • Zoology (Russia/France/Germany), Director Ivan I. Tverdovsky


The Modern Masters section features ten films from international directors who set the standards for contemporary cinema. Films selected for this year include:

  • A Quiet Passion (UK/Belgium), Director Terence Davies
  • Abacus: Small Enough to Jail (U.S.), Director Steve James
  • After the Storm (Japan), Director Hirokazu Kore-eda
  • The Commune (Denmark/Sweden/Netherlands), Director Thomas Vinterberg
  • Daguerrotype (France/Japan/Belgium), Director Kiyoshi Kurosawa
  • Frantz (France/Germany), Director François Ozon
  • I Am Not Madame Bovary (China), Director Feng Xiaogang
  • I, Daniel Blake (UK/France/Belgium), Director Ken Loach
  • J: Beyond Flamenco (Spain), Director Carlos Saura
  • The Net (South Korea), Director Kim Ki-duk
  • Past Life (Israel), Director Avi Nesher
  • Personal Shopper (France), Director Olivier Assayas
  • The Teacher (Slovakia/Czech Republic), Director Jan Hrebejk
  • The Unknown Girl (Belgium/France), Director Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne


There’s a film for every interest in True Stories, and many of the documentaries in this year’s section place a particular focus on the arts – from music and dance, to fashion and Hollywood.

  • Aida’s Secrets (Israel/U.S./Germany/Canada), Directors Alon Schwarz, Shaul Schwarz
  • Alive and Kicking (U.S./Sweden), Director Susan Glatzer
  • Beauties of the Night (Mexico), Director María José Cuevas
  • Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds (U.S.), Director Alexis Bloom, Fisher Stevens
  • Eagles of Death Metal: Nos Amis (Our Friends), (U.S./France), Director Colin Hanks
  • Forever Pure (Israel/UK/Ireland/Norway), Director Maya Zinshtein
  • Franca: Chaos and Creation (Italy/U.S.), Director Francesco Carrozzini
  • Gun Runners (Canada), Director Anjali Nayar
  • I Am Not Your Negro (U.S./France/Belgium/Switzerland), Director Raoul Peck
  • I Called Him Morgan (Sweden/U.S.), Director Kasper Collin
  • Jewel’s Catch One (U.S.), Director C. Fitz
  • Karl Marx City (U.S./Germany), Directors Petra Epperlein, Michael Tucker
  • Kedi (Turkey/U.S./Germany), Director Ceyda Torun
  • Keep Quiet (UK/Hungary), Directors Sam Blair, Joseph Martin
  • KONELĪNE: our land beautiful, (Canada), Director Nettie Wild
  • Magicians: Life in the Impossible (U.S.), Directors Christoph Baaden, Marcie Hume
  • No Dress Code Required (Mexico), Director Cristina Herrera Bórquez
  • Obit. (U.S.), Director Vanessa Gould
  • Restless Creature: Wendy Whelan (U.S.), Directors Adam Schlesinger, Linda Saffire
  • Take Me Home Huey (U.S.), Directors Alicia Brauns, Christine Steele
  • The Turkish Way (Spain), Director Luis González
  • Who’s Gonna Love Me Now? (Israel/UK), Directors Barak Heymann, Tomer Heymann, Alexander Bodin Saphir
  • Wrestling Alligators (U.S.), Director Andrew Shea


After Dark films are the mysterious strangers in town, films that lurk in the shadows and tempt you into the unknown. The festival’s youngest section comes of age in 2017, as it includes the UK’s Oscar entry in Under the Shadow, as well as films featuring Guy Pearce, Dakota Fanning, and Glenn Close. The films selected include:

  • Brimstone (Netherlands/Germany/France/Belgium/Sweden/UK), Director Martin Koolhoven
  • The Girl with All the Gifts (UK/U.S.), Director Colm McCarthy
  • Under the Shadow (UK/Jordan/Qatar), Director Babak Anvari
  • The Untamed (Mexico/Denmark/France/Germany/Norway), Director Amat Escalante

Additional programming for the festival includes:

  • The festival will screen two of the films selected as part of Variety’s 10 Directors to Watch which include Aquarius (Brazil/France), directed by Kleber Mendonça Filho and The Eagle Huntress (UK/Mongolia/U.S.), directed by Otto Bell.
  • Two films will screen in the Dinner & A Movie section which are Insatiable: The Homaro Cantu Story (U.S.), directed by Brett A. Schwartz and Tampopo (Japan), directed by Juzo Itami.
  • The festival’s Gay!La screening will be the North American Premiere of ABC’s When We Rise directed by Gus Van Sant.
  • Four Special Presentations including the World Premiere of Breakable You (U.S.), the U.S. Premiere of King of the Dancehall (U.S./Jamaica) directed by Nick Cannon, Old Money (Austria) directed by David Schalko and starring Udo Kier, and the North American Premiere of The Hippopotamus.
  • Other Festival films with notable talent and directors include After Love (Belgium/France) starring Bérénice Béjo, Camera Store (U.S.) starring John Larroquette, John Rhys Davies and Cheryl Ladd, The Girl with all the Gifts starring Gemma Arterton, Paddy Considine and Glenn Close, Everything Else (Mexico/US/France) starring Adriana Barraza, Paint It Black (U.S.) directed by Amber Tamblyn and starring Alia Shawkat, Janet McTeer and Alfred Molina, and Youth in Oregon (U.S.) directed by Joel David Morre and starring Frank Langella, Billy Crudup, Christina Applegate, Mary Kay Place and Josh Lucas.

About The Palm Springs International Film Festival

The Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) is one of the largest film festivals in North America, welcoming 135,000 attendees last year for its lineup of new and celebrated international features and documentaries. The Festival is also known for its annual Film Awards Gala, a glamorous, black-tie event, presented by Chopard and sponsored by Mercedes Benz and Entertainment Tonight, and attended by 2,500.  The Film Awards Gala honors the year’s best achievements in cinema in front of and behind the camera.  The celebrated list of talents who have been honored in recent years includes Ben Affleck, Javier Bardem, Cate Blanchett, Sandra Bullock, Bradley Cooper, George Clooney, Daniel Day-Lewis, Leonardo DiCaprio, Clint Eastwood, Tom Hanks, Matthew McConaughey, Julianne Moore, Brad Pitt, Eddie Redmayne, Julia Roberts, David O. Russell, Meryl Streep, and Reese Witherspoon.  PSIFF is organized by The Palm Springs International Film Society, a 501(c)(3) charitable non-profit organization with a mission to cultivate and promote the art and science of film through education and cross-cultural awareness.

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon