Palm Springs Film Fest: Amma Asante's 'Belle' to Open Lineup

Roger Michell's "Le Week-End" will close the festival, which runs Jan. 3-12.

Amma Asante’s Belle will serve as the opening-night film of the 25th annual Palm Springs Film Festival, which runs from Jan. 3-12. Roger Michell’s Le Week-End will close the event, which is screening 187 films, including eight world premieres, from 60 countries.

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Belle, starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Tom Wilkinson, tells the true story of a mixed race girl raised by English aristocrats in the 18th century and is scheduled for release in the spring by Fox Searchlight. Le Week-End stars Jim Broadbent and Lindsay Duncan as a married couple who reassess their relationship during a visit to Paris; it will be released by Music Box.

The opening and closing films illustrate "the festival's commitment to celebrating the work of both emerging and seasoned filmmakers," artistic director Helen du Toit said. "A further pool of exciting new talent is featured in our New Voices/New Visions showcase -- which bodes extremely well for the future of international cinema. In addition, we will present an archival program of seven audience favorites, including an outdoor screening of Cinema Paradiso. Many of our archival selections went on to win the foreign language Oscar, making our audience a harbinger of award winners and box office success."

The lineup for New Voices/New Visions, which is focused on emerging international directors, includes: Peter Franzen’s Above Dark Waters; Dan Harnden’s Bristel GoodmanRok Bicek’s Class EnemyMax Currie’s Everything We LovedLee Su-jin’s Han Gong-juGerminal Roaux’s Left Foot Right Foot, Andrea Pallaoro’s MedeasIsabel de Ayguavives’ The Magnetic TreeBenedikt Erlingsson’s Of Horses and MenReem Kherici’s Paris or PerishCraig Goodwill’s Patch Town; and Matias Rojas Valencia’s Root.

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To mark the festival’s 25th anniversary, the festival will screen films that played previous editions of the festival: Giuseppe Tornatore’s Cinema ParadisoYojiro Takita’s DeparturesRoberto Benigni’s Life Is BeautifulDanis Tanovic’s No Man’s LandBaz Luhrmann’s Strictly BallroomFlorian Henckel von Donnersmarck’s The Lives of Others; and Alejandro Amenabar’s The Sea Inside.