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Previews and Features

25 Jun 2018
What do you have to do to stay relevant in Palm Springs? “Keep it gay, keep it gay, keep it gay!” would be the answer from famed Broadway director Roger DeBris. This was on my mind after seeing The Filmmakers’ Gallery presentation of the musical film The Producers in June. Before the screening, producer Jonathan Sanger and Tony Award-winning actor Gary Beach—who played DeBris in the Broadway musical and the film adaptation—did a funny and insightful Q&A. The Filmmakers’ Gallery is the brainchild of Paul Belsito and Steven Roche, a team that relocated from Long Beach. The Filmmakers’ Gallery is a series of screenings and events with “special guest” appearances by friends and well-known stars from the “gallery” of entertainment-industry colleagues. It takes place on the second Saturday of the month (usually) at the Palm Springs Cultural Center—formerly known as the Camelot Theatres—and on July 14, it will feature a…
02 Jan 2018
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If you’re not a follower of Native American history, you’ve probably never heard of the late Wilma Mankiller—even though she’s arguably one of the most influential women of the 20th century. Thankfully, a new documentary, Mankiller, takes a deep look at the life of Wilma Mankiller (1945-2010), the first woman to be elected principal chief of the Cherokee Nation. The film, directed by Valerie Red-Horse Mohl, will be screened at the Palm Springs International Film Festival. During a recent phone interview with Red-Horse Mohl, she said a documentary on Wilma Mankiller seemed like an obvious thing to do. “Wilma Mankiller passed away in 2010, and I obviously knew who she was because I’m Cherokee, but a lot of people don’t know who she was,” Red-Horse Mohl said. “In 2011, PBS reached out to us and said, ‘Maybe you and (co-producer) Gale (Anne Hurd) should think about doing Wilma’s life story.’…
07 Sep 2017
The year was 2008. The economy was imploding; Coldplay’s Viva la Vida was the No. 1 album in the world; and United States voters elected a guy named Barack Obama as president. Meanwhile, here in the Coachella Valley, the Palm Springs Cultural Center held the first Cinema Diverse, the valley’s LGBT film festival. The 10th anniversary edition of the festival takes place Sept. 21-24. Michael Green is the festival director and the executive director of the Cultural Center. He talked about the process he goes through to select films for the festival. “I work with all the independent film distributors who specialize in LGBT films, as well as others,” he said. “I pretty much screen films year-around. Films also come in to us from directors, many we have worked with before. We don’t show anything that is out commercially.” Palm Springs’ proximity to Hollywood is a boon to Cinema Diverse.…
06 Jun 2017
The month of June brings the Palm Springs International ShortFest—the largest short-film festival on the continent. This leads to a common question: “What makes a film a short?” The answer: No, it has nothing to do with the height of the director. Instead, a “short film” is any motion picture not long enough to be considered a “feature film.” The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences defines a short film as “an original motion picture that has a running time of 40 minutes or less, including all credits.” Sometimes, the synopsis may seem longer than the actual movie. Lili Rodriguez is the festival director of the Palm Springs International ShortFest. Festival organizers receive more than 4,200 submissions for about 325 slots, organized into 90-minute themed screenings—and the nature of the films submitted often reflects the social and political issues of our time. “This year, we’ve seen a lot of…