The 24th Palm Springs International Film Festival will kick off today.
The festival will open with a 6:30 p.m. screening at Palm Springs High School of a foreign language Academy Award submission from Spain, Pablo Berger's "Blancanieves," and a reception at the Palm Springs Art Museum.
A total of 180 films from 68 countries will be shown during the festival, which will conclude on Jan. 13 with the U.S. premiere of Paul Andrew Williams' "Unfinished Song," starring Terence Stamp and Vanessa Redgrave.
Featured screenings include the Canadian films "Laurence Anyways," "War Witch" and "Still" and the British film "Goltzius and the Pelican Company." The festival will also include forums with directors, actors and entertainment journalists, a student screening day and a free screening.
The festival will screen 42 of the 71 foreign-language films submitted for Academy Awards. The New Voices/New Visions Award will recognize one of 10 films from international directors who are debuting films at the festival.
A new program this year is "Nordic Light," screenings of 20 films from Scandinavia. Additionally, 10 films "from some of the true auteurs of contemporary cinema" will compete in the Modern Masters category.
Actors Sally Field, Helen Hunt, Helen Mirren, Naomi Watts, Bradley Cooper and Richard Gere, directors Tom Hooper and Robert Zemeckis, composer Mychael Danna and the cast of "Argo" will be honored at the awards gala at the Palm Springs Convention Center on Saturday.
For more information on the festival and to see the full lineup, call (760) 322-2930 or go to www.psfilmfest.org.