Palm Springs fest to open Jan. 6

Will run through Jan. 19

The 2009 edition of the Palm Springs International Film Festival will kick off earlier than usual -- instead of its traditional Thursday opening, next year the fest will begin on Tuesday, Jan. 6 and run through Jan. 19.

The schedule is expected to accommodate more than 400 screens of more than 200 films from about 60 countries -- including most of the films submitted for consideration in the Academy Awards' best foreign-language film category.

The fest will get underway on Jan. 6 with its annual black-tie awards show, once again hosted by Mary Hart, at the Palm Springs Convention Center.

On Wed., Jan. 7, the festival will use its screens for free educational programming for youngsters from Palm Springs and the rest of the Coachella Valley.

The traditional opening night screening and party will take place on Thursday, Jan. 8.

The fest is presented by the Palm Springs International Film Society.