I would wager that Palm Springs has more film festivals per capita than anywhere else in the world.
Most everyone knows about the Palm Springs International Film Festival that has been taking place for almost 30 years every January. It’s gotten so big, there are now over 135,000 attendees and it’s one of the top Film Festivals in the world. Not only that, our annual gala is one of the most star-studded non-Hollywood events ever. This year alone, we welcome Tom Hanks, Gary Oldman, Meryl Streep, Jessica Chastain, Holly Hunter, Steven Speilberg, Annette Benning and dozens of others.
The Palm Springs International Film Festival is put on by the Palm Springs International Film Society, a non-profit whose mission is cultivate and promote the art and science of film through education and cross-cultural awareness. Each June they also put on the Palm Springs International Short Film Festival and Film Market, better known as ShortFest. This has to be one of the most fun festivals and it’s actually the largest short film festival in North America. Despite temperatures sometimes topping 120 degrees, it’s a fun-filled, exciting and very personal festival. Last year over 500 filmmakers attended and you’d see them at every screening, party and lecture.
The Palm Springs Cultural Center, another non-profit organization here in Palm Springs, is host to no less than five film festivals!
Cinema Diverse – the Palm Springs LGBTQ Film Festival is now in its eleventh year. This world-class film festival presents international lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender motion pictures that reflect, inform, enrich and often transform lives.
The American Documentary Film Festival is now in it’s seventh year and brings independent filmmakers together with the public to screen some of the most provocative and relevant films from around the world.
The Arthur Lyons Film Noir Film Festival is known in the world of noir for showing the very best of rare Noir classics. The festival will open its nineteenth season in May.
The Palm Springs Cultural Center is also putting on two new film festivals this year! The Architecture Design Art Film Festival is presented in partnership with Modernism Week. This series of films focus on the real-life stories behind some of the most iconic masterpieces in art, architecture and design, with a view towards preservation and future innovations.
The Cannabis Film Festival & Summit takes on the cannabis debate with a progressive attitude towards eroding stereotypes and cliché’s to discover the life-enhancing potential of this remarkable yet controversial planet.
Wait, there’s more…..
Temple Isaiah, in conjunction with Jewish Federation of the Desert, is proud present the 5th Annual Palm Springs Jewish Film Festival (PSJFF). The Palm Springs Jewish Film Festival offers an opportunity to expand understanding of Jewish life through film and dialogue.
The PSJFF promotes awareness, appreciation and pride in the diversity of the Jewish people. The programs are chosen to create community and strengthen consciousness of Jewish identity, history, and culture; provide a dynamic and inclusive forum for exploration of. and dialogue about Jewish experiences as well as films for sheer entertainment.
The Native FilmFest is one of the nation's most highly regarded events of its kind
featuring the best in films by, about, and starring Native Americans and other
Indigenous peoples from around the world.
And finally this year, we saw the first Palm Springs International Animation Festival! It’s already hit the ground running and was a huge success. We can’t wait for next year.
There are a few other film festivals that seem to be in the drawing boards, so keep an eye out. But now you can see why Destination PSP has created a whole line of merchandise centered around the tagline "Palm Springs is Film."