Palm Springs International Film Festival Adding New Sidebar Spotlighting Arab Cinema

The fest also will green 40 of the films submitted for the best foreign language film Oscar.

The Palm Springs International Film Festival is introducing a new program that will highlight Arab cinema.

The upcoming edition of the festival, which runs from Jan. 5-16, also will screen 40 of the 63 official submissions for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ best foreign language film. 

PHOTOS: Palm Springs Film Festival

“This is the most wide-ranging and cohesive line-up of films and special events the Festival has ever assembled,” festival director Darryl Macdonald said. “From our special showcase of new Arabian cinema to the beefed-up archival section and the inclusion of an exhibition focusing on allied arts,with the 'Marilyn: Intimate Exposures' program, the PSIFF has kicked it up a notch, enhancing its standing as an event presenting the best of contemporary world cinema with a celebration of all things cinematic.”

Eleven films have been selected for the sidebar called Arabian Nights: A Showcase of Cinema from the Middle East by programmer Alissa Simon.

“We've all been watching the democratic protests and political upheavals in the Arab world over the past year, and we've been excited to find many progressive themes reflected in the new movies coming out of this part of the world. These films are revolutionary in their own way,” artistic director Helen du Toit said.

Female directors are also expected to make their mark at the festival.

Of the ten films from emerging international directors that will compete for the New Voices/New Visions Award, five are dircected by women.

And of the ten films that will compete for the John Schlesigner Award that goes to an outstanding first documentary feature, ten of the 12 directors involved are women.

Program details can be found at