By John Bayern

The Palm Springs International Film Festival brings Hollywood to Palm Springs

Now entering its 34th year, the Palm Springs International Film Festival has a well-established reputation as one of the most prestigious and well-attended film festivals in the country. The Festival has long secured its place on the world stage as the portal for the very best in world cinema, welcoming thousands of enthusiastic filmgoers to Palm Springs every January.

The depth and breadth of the program – all set against the dramatic backdrop of Palm Springs – features more than 180 films from over 60 countries and includes the largest selection Foreign Language Oscar® submissions of any Festival in the nation. In addition to having earned a reputation as a destination festival, the film screenings, special presentations, tributes, and nightly parties that constitute the Festival have a decidedly international flair and make PSIFF a cosmopolitan experience in world cinema. The national and international print and electronic media converge on Palm Springs and generate over 1 billion media impressions worldwide.

PSIFF has also evolved into one of the most highly anticipated preludes to the Oscars®. The Festival’s glamorous centerpiece, the Awards Gala, honors the year’s brightest talents in front of and behind the camera before a glittering crowd of 2,000 attendees. joins This year’s honorees include Brendan Fraser (Spotlight Award, Actor), Cate Blanchett (Desert Palm Achievement Award, Actress), Austin Butler (Breakthrough Performance Award, Actor), Viola Davis (Chairman’s Award), Danielle Deadwyler (Breakthrough Performance Award, Actress), Colin Farrell (Desert Palm Achievement Award, Actor), Bill Nighy (International Star Award, Actor), Sarah Polley (Director of the Year Award), Michelle Yeoh (International Star Award) and The Fabelmans (Vanguard Award).

Past recipients of the Spotlight Award, Actor include Bryan Cranston for Trumbo and Andrew Garfield for Hacksaw Ridge. Both went on to receive Academy Award nominations for Best Actor.

“We are beyond excited to welcome back our beloved audience and filmmakers in Palm Springs. We’re especially thrilled to be joined by all four leads of 80 For Brady. The film is brimming with joy and heart, and it’s a perfect film to kick off our 34th edition,” said Artistic Director Lili Rodriguez. “Our programmers have dedicated almost a year to scouting the world for the films that make up this edition. It is our most thematically diverse year yet and I don’t believe you’ll find two movies that are alike. From light entertainment for casual nights out to urgent commentaries that beg for post-screening conversation and beyond, the cinema is there to capture it all.”

The Standard Magazine recommends the following films that include

poignant, heartfelt and insightful stories from the LGBTQ community. 

1946: The Mistranslation that Shifted Culture

The word “homosexual” did not appear in the Bible until 1946. Scholars, linguists, theologians, and others have concluded it was a mistranslation, one that has had deadly consequences for the LGBTQ community. Sight unseen, this revelatory film has already been fiercely attacked by Christian conservatives.

Casa Susanna

Tucked away in the Catskills, Casa Susanna was a secretive, summertime oasis for crossdressing men and trans women in the 1950s and early ‘60s. With fabulous interviews and a treasure trove of archival photos, this lovely, often surprising salute to these genderbending pioneers unearths a delicious hidden corner of queer.


Hyper-macho Sergeant Major Eismayer is the most feared instructor in the Austrian Armed Forces. His fierce masculinity, however, is a protective shell that hides his true nature. When he falls for the openly gay recruit Mario, his carefully constructed world is shattered.

Esther Newton Made Me Gay

Cultural anthropologist and proud lesbian Esther Newton was years ahead of her time when she studied Midwestern drag shows in the 1960s, back when academia turned its back on her. Now an icon who has inspired legions of activists and scholars, Newton reflects on her life in this warm, saucy tribute.

God Save the Queens

Featuring a glittering constellation of Los Angeles drag stars, this audacious and candy-colored comedy follows a quartet of down-on-their-luck queens who end up stuck at the same therapy retreat. Together they face their respective plights with rapid-fire wit, unexpected poignancy, and a dash of the divine.

Mama Bears

In this soul-warming documentary, we meet the brave Christian mothers – indoctrinated by anti-gay bias in their fundamentalist and Evangelical churches – who band together to protect their queer and trans children. At risk of losing their friends and communities, they make the grand leap from prejudice to Pride protests.

My Emptiness and I

In this searingly honest and emotionally raw coming-of-age story, French millennial dreamer Raphi struggles to find love, acceptance and her place in the world as she begins her gender transition in Barcelona.

Nelly & Nadine

Nelly and Nadine fell in love on Christmas Eve in 1944, when they were prisoners in the Ravensbrück concentration camp. Miraculously reunited after the war, they went on to spend a rich but hidden life together in Venezuela – a life revealed in diaries and home movies discovered by Nelly’s granddaughter.


Trained by his demanding, alcoholic father (Tim Roth), 17-year-old Jim is a small-town boxing hero training for his first pro fight. But his deepening friendship with schoolmate Whetu, a gay Maori loner, forces him to rethink his sexuality and future in his New Zealand town where homophobia is rampant.

Winter Boy

After a sudden death in the family shatters the well-ordered life of 17-year-old Lucas (Paul Kircher in a starmaking debut), the teen flees to Paris. Full of lust and rage, Lucas hurls himself into sex with older men to process his grief. Read More

Visit for complete synopsis and full schedule of all the films.