Palm Springs International Film Festival Celebrating 30 Years

Posted by Larry Gleeson


It started as a dream, then a vision for Sonny Bono,  a man with big Hollywood ties and a love of Palm Springs. It’s what helped lead him to be elected mayor of Palm Springs in 1988.

Bono floated the idea for a major film festival in Palm Springs in the early 80s, but it took years of hard work for that to come to fruition.

In 1990, Bono’s vision became a reality and Palm Springs launched its first film festival, with the backing of major corporate sponsors like American Airlines and Wells Fargo and the help of local deep pockets.

The first festival drew over 17,000 filmgoers and was received positively by industry trades live variety. In the following years, the festival quickly grew and by its fifth year, it welcomed more than 42,000 visitors and became an economic force within the community.

To honor the 30 years of great movies and galas, the festival is offering a retrospective, re-screening films from previous years that were chosen by the audiences as well as the programmers along with other festival favorites.

Lilly Rodriguez
Lilly Rodriguez

“So this year we’ve actually planned something really special. We’re doing like 30 films that have played the festival in the past, so we’re doing retro screenings of them,” said Lilly Rodriguez, festival programmer.


Michael Lerman
Michael Lerman

“For us, all of it is the films. So like, remembering that this festival once showed cinema parodies on the first year, being able to kind of honor that is an interesting thing,” said Michael Lerman, the festival’s artistic director.


Stay tuned for more on the 30th edition of the Palm Springs International Film Festival!

Until then, I’ll see you at the movies…



(Excerpted from



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