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In its second shake-up in three years, the Palm Springs International Film Festival has named a new artistic director, Lili Rodriguez, who has been the fest’s director of programming since 2017. She succeeds Michael Lerman, who joined PSIFF as its artistic director in the fall of 2016 and oversaw the past three editions of the event.
In her new role, Rodriguez will oversee all artistic decisions for the upcoming Palm Springs International ShortFest, which is set to take place June 18-24, and the 31st annual Palm Springs Film Festival, which is set to run Jan. 2-13, as well as the Film Society’s membership and community outreach programs throughout the year.
In addition to his duties with PSIFF, Lerman had simultaneously been serving as artistic director of the Philadelphia Film Festival and as a programmer for the Toronto International Film Festival.
In promoting Rodriguez, festival chairman Harold Matzner said, “The festival needed a full-time employee that exclusively programmed, developed and operated Palm Springs International Film Society programs. Lili lives for film. The improved performance of ShortFest under her direction has been nothing short of remarkable. She is extremely intelligent and talented and going to be a superstar in the festival world.”
A Coachella Valley native, Rodriguez became the year-round program manager at the Palm Springs Film Society in 2016, programming films for both PSIFF and ShortFest, and a year later was named director of programming at PSIFF and festival director of ShortFest.
“I’ve been incredibly fortunate to work alongside such great collaborators along the way,” said Rodriguez. “Palm Springs and the Film Society have been an amazing home and I look forward to working with our team and the community to promote the organization’s vision at a high level of excellence.”
When Lerman was named artistic director in 2016, he succeeded Helen du Toit, who had served as interim festival director during the event’s 2016 edition. At the beginning of that January’s fest, Matzner announced that Darryl MacDonald, the longtime executive director of the festival, was taking a medical leave and that du Toit, who had been working alongside MacDonald as artistic director, would take on the title of acting festival director.
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Sterling K. Brown