Mar 21

AmDocs Home Stay Program Creates Unique Cultural Exchange for Filmmakers and Host Families.

AmDocs Home Stay Program Creates Unique Cultural Exchange for Filmmakers and Host Families.

When Ted Grouya came up with the idea of creating what ultimately became The American Documentary Film Festival and Film Fund (AmDocs), he had some rather innovative programs he wanted to make a part of the festival. One of them was the AmDocs Home Stay Program.

“I was an international exchange student,” Grouya said recently.  “And that really sold me on the cultural and personal benefits of the whole home stay concept. Later, I worked as an exchange organization area manager and counselor, and then, even later, I was a program manager for the Fulbright International Scholarship and Exchange Program.”

Much later, as an independent filmmaker traveling to film festivals in Europe, Grouya rediscovered the home stay concept. “European Film Festivals use home stays quite a bit.” he continued. “We don’t see it so much in the United States, but in other parts of the world it’s very common and very popular. I wanted to bring that sensibility to AmDocs because we have filmmakers coming from all over the world and I wanted them to really experience Palm Springs and its people.”

Finding the Host Families. 

A small core group of volunteers are responsible for making the AmDocs Home Stay Program work. Two of them, Elizabeth Press and Cheryl Smith, who have been volunteering for the festival since its inception, are the Home Stay committee chairs. They are responsible for recruiting, maintaining, growing the Home Stay family database, and for managing day to day communications with the host families.

“Right now we have around thirty five families taking part in the AmDocs Home Stay Program,” said Elizabeth Press, one of the Home Stay committee chairs. “We try to communicate with them throughout the year. We find that really helps us maintain our Home Stay families and keep them excited about participating in the program. We also host a Meet and Greet for the Home Stay families each year in early February to allow everyone to meet, socialize, and discuss their experiences.”

Once the final list of Home Stay families is complete, volunteer and Home Stay committee chair Cheryl Smith enters them all into the Home Stay database. “It’s a bit more complicated than you might except,” Cheryl says. “In addition to entering all the usual information like names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses, we also have to enter our “Eight Questions” that allow us to complete the matches with the filmmakers. We ask questions like ‘Dates available? Do you have pets? How many and what kind? Do you allow smoking? Do you have transportation, and can you transport your filmmaker to and from the theatre on occasion? Do you prefer a male or female guest? Do you accept children? Things like that.”

Each Home Share Family is asked to provide a bedroom, bath, and breakfast for their guests. Beyond that, how much they and their guest socialize is really up to them. In exchange, Home Stay Families are given All Access Flex Passes so they can attend as many of the screenings as they like. “They are also given recognition at the festival,” Ms. Press adds. “We are so proud of our Home Stay Families. We want to make sure they know how much they mean to us.”

The Match Game.

Once the families are all loaded into the spreadsheet, the second phase of the Home Stay Program begins. “This is where it really becomes a creative puzzle,” says Debbi Hinton, AmDocs Director of Operations. “We have to contact each filmmaker who plans to attend the festival, find out if they are interested in the Home Stay Program, then get answers to pretty much all of the same questions we ask the Home Stay Families, plus, from filmmakers, we need to get arrival dates and times, departure dates and times, transportation requirements, languages spoken, etcetera. It can be daunting at times, especially because we are often dealing with filmmakers for whom English is not their first language. Adding to the dilemma is the fact that these sorts of plans are always fluid. Changes can occur up to and throughout the festival.”

Everyone Benefits

The Amdocs Home Stay Program has really created some great opportunities for filmmakers and the festival staff alike. Filmmakers can often afford to stay longer than they might if they were having to purchase a hotel room, so they get to see more of the festival, interact with other filmmakers, and see more films. The festival is able to host many more filmmakers than they might have been able to invite. Having the filmmakers present and able to interact with audiences enriches the screening experience for everyone. Finally, the bonds created between host families and their guests often go far beyond the festival. Friendships are established, visits are planned, and lives are changed.

In one particular case, Elizabeth Press excitedly congratulated a Japanese filmmaker and shared that her family would be in Tokyo just two weeks later for her and her husband’s  50th wedding anniversary.  Filmmaker Naomi ended up meeting them at their hotel, then reserved two cabs to take the Presses to a shrine/ park to view three authentic Japanese weddings!  The next morning, Ms. Press found a surprise box from the filmmaker at the concierge desk. It contained a traditional Japanese kimono! That was three years ago. The Presses have continued to keep in regular contact with Filmmaker Naomi as she has moved on to other projects, earned awards, etc.

“It’s hard to believe that we started with only ten Home Stay Families the first year,” continued Debbi Hinton. “Now we have close to forty. And once they start, they tend to come back year after year. I once recruited a friend to be a host. She was VERY reluctant and only wanted a guest for a few days. She ended up hosting a wonderful filmmaker from Australia who actually stayed longer than originally planned, but my friend would not hear of having the filmmaker move to another home. They had really bonded, and actually became friends by the end of the experience. They still keep in touch, and that experience was a turning point for my friend who is now an eager host.”

Seeing the Bigger Picture, One Film At A Time.

Stories like the ones mentioned above abound, and Ted Grouya is not the least bit surprised. “This is exactly what we’d hoped would happen, both with AmDocs itself, as well as with the AmDocs Home Stay Program,” he says. “We want our audiences to gain an expanded perspective, and we want our Home Stay Families to develop lasting relationships with their guests – relationships that live on well beyond the festival. Friendships happen, diverse cultures find common ground, and people from very different parts of the world discover that their hopes and aspirations are not all that different.”

“Again, this is what we want,” Grouya continued. “We want our filmmakers to meet our residents, fall in love with them, then go and tell the world how great Palm Springs is, and how wonderful their American hosts were. There’s just no better way to build understanding, bring down barriers, and generally create awareness of the human experience throughout the world, using real stories about real people and dealing with real issues – just like the films we screen.”

The American Documentary Film Festival, powered by Renova Solar, is a Palm Springs Cultural Center Program.Renova Solar came in at a time when we were really needing a major sponsor who was committed to the same goals and principles that we are. We found that with Renova Solar,” said Grouya. “They have come through for us on so many levels. We could not have done what we’ve done in this short time without them, or our parent organization, the Palm Springs Cultural Center.”

Tickets to the AmDocs Opening Night Event and Early Bird Passes are available online now at: http://www.americandocumentaryfilmfestival.com/

or at the Camelot Theatres Box Office.

Tickets for all screenings, plus the complete schedule will be available after March 1st.

Mar 21

American Documentary Film Festival and Film Fund (AmDocs) Announces 2016 Schedule; Tickets and Passes for all Screenings and Events Now on Sale.

American Documentary Film Festival and Film Fund (AmDocs) Announces 2016 Schedule

Tickets and Passes for all Screenings and Events Now on Sale.

The American Documentary Film Festival and Film Fund (AmDocs), which runs from March 30th through April 4th, 2016, today announced the complete schedule for its Fifth Anniversary Edition.
“We are screening 150 films this year from more than 35 countries,” said Ted Grouya, AmDocs Founder and Festival Director. “Our Opening Night Film, TONY ROBBINS: I AM NOT YOUR GURU, by Academy Award®-nominated Filmmaker, Joe Berlinger, sets the scene for what will be an exciting and diverse festival, with an award-winning collection of story-driven documentaries focusing on the arts, the environment, sustainable living, senior issues, LGBT causes and more.”

Three additional films by filmmaker, Joe Berlinger, who is receiving the Seeing The Bigger Picture Award, will be screened during the course of the festival, including BROTHER’S KEEPER, WHITEY: UNITED STATES OF AMERICA V. JAMES J. BULGER, and UNDER AFRICAN SKIES. The 2016 festival also includes seventeen films from its North South Doc Network (NSDN) partners, DokuFest (Republic of Kosovo), DocsDF (Mexico), and EDoc (Ecuador).

“I am particularly excited for our audiences to see these films,” Grouya continued, “because they are all illustrative of very different cultures from our own. Not only that, the stories themselves represent a kind of storytelling, and filmmaking, that we rarely get to see in the United States.”

As it has in past years, AmDocs 2016 brings together a tremendous variety of documentaries. Many of them address immigration, reflecting the conversations about immigration that are occurring in national politics, and all over the world today. One film in particular, 50 FEET FROM SYRIA, provides an unflinching look at how Doctors from all over the world are helping injured refugees on the front lines of the Syrian conflict as they attempt to cross over into Turkey. Another, ANIJA, KOSOVO, includes dramatic archival coverage of the mass exodus of people from Albania to Italy in the 1990s.

Other common themes at AmDocs 2016 include particularly creative documentaries on aging, people living with disabilities, homelessness, mental illness, the independent music scene, the environment, the arts and more. There’s even a special focus on Swiss films on Friday, April 1st, sponsored and hosted by The Honorable, Consul General of Switzerland, Jean Francois Lichtenstern.

With films to suit practically any interest, The American Documentary Film Festival and Film Fund (AmDocs) will excite, educate and entertain audiences. To see the complete schedule, visit americandocumentaryfilmfestival.com.

Tickets and Passes to the 2016 Edition of
The American Documentary Film Festival and Film Fund (AmDocs)
are available at:
http://www.americandocumentaryfilmfestival.com/
or at the Camelot Theatres Box Office.

The American Documentary Film Festival, powered by Renova Solar, is a Palm Springs Cultural Center program.

Mar 07

2016 American Documentary Film Festival SnapShots: Skin and Bones

2016 American Documentary Film Festival SnapShots: Skin and Bones

by Miriam Blume

Director Michael Dinesen’s new documentary film, “Skin And Bones” is at times hard to watch. Without being gratuitous or obscene, he’s an adept filmmaker who knows how to be respectful with his lens yet at the same take us to a place that makes us a little uncomfortable. Any film that has us confront the topic of sex and the disabled is going to do that, but what’s unexpected is the heart-warming compassion and optimism that’s so palpable it envelops you long after the closing credits.

At the center of the film are three young Danish men planning a trip to Berlin to visit a brothel for some much-desired sex. That could be the plot line for any coming of age film, except these men have Muscular Dystrophy. Thanks to advances in medicine, they are, in fact, the first generation to live with the disease into adulthood. It’s a blessing that brings with it a new dilemma and their story shows us that even the most basic human needs of love and intimacy are politically controlled when you’re confined to a wheelchair and dependent on publically funded medical care.

The irony is that prostitution is legal in Denmark, but the law prohibits caregivers from facilitating meet-ups between prostitutes and the physically disabled. In essence, what’s legal for the able-bodied man is illegal for the handicapped one. The film doesn’t get caught up in the misguided political paternalism of it all, but instead uses the sex trip to Berlin as a window into the lives of these three friends and how they navigate the complexities of their physical condition in order to fulfill some of the joy inherent in the human condition. Together they find vitality for life and live it to the fullest.

Far from being a film about prostitution or its advocacy, this is a film that sheds a tender insight into the unyielding strength of the human spirit, the gift of compassion and the bonds of friendship.

The film makes its Southern California premiere as part of the American Documentary Film Festival, March 31st to April 4th, Palm Springs CA. Discount Early Bird Passes to the festival are available now online at www.americandocumentaryfilmfestival.com.

The American Documentary Film Festival, powered by Renova Solar, is a Palm Springs Cultural Center program.

Jan 20

American Documentary Film Festival (AmDocs) Celebrates Fifth Anniversary With More Screenings Than Ever Before.

American Documentary Film Festival (AmDocs) Celebrates Fifth Anniversary With More Screenings Than Ever Before. 

The American Documentary Film Festival (AmDocs) celebrates its fifth year in 2016 with an exciting line up of over 140 films from more than 35 countries during its six day run. “This is our largest line-up ever,” said Ted Grouya, AmDocs’ Founder and Festival Director. “Documentary filmmaking continues to grow, and expand as an art form all over the world, and our Festival reflects this growth in the genre, as well as the growing popularity of documentaries overall.”

This year, AmDocs begins on March 30th with an entire day of preview screenings, followed by the 2016 Film Fund competition the morning of Thursday, March 31st, and the 2016 Opening Night Reception and Film Screening that same evening. The festival continues through Monday, April 4th.

Screenings for AmDocs 2016 will take place at the Camelot Theatres in Palm Springs and at the Indian Wells Theater and Oliphant Auditorium on the Palm Desert campus of California State University, San Bernardino in Palm Desert. Documentary filmmakers from all over the world are expected to attend the festival, and the annual American Documentary Film Fund Competition; an adjunct event that allows documentary filmmakers to compete for upwards of $50,000 in financing on either new or in-progress projects.

Named “One of the World’s Five Coolest Documentary Film Festivals,” by MovieMaker Magazine in 2013, AmDocs continues to set records and gain accolades, even as it fulfills its vision of “seeing the bigger picture one film at a time” by engaging the audience with increased cultural offerings about real people and real issues that not only entertain them but also inform and educate.

Renova Solar returns as AmDocs’ Presenting Sponsor again this year, and is joined by a growing list of additional sponsors, including, but not limited to the City of Palm Springs, the City of Palm Desert, the City of Indian Wells, The Riviera Palm Springs, Desert Regional Medical Center, The Gannet Foundation, The Community Foundation, The Greater Palm Springs Convention and Visitors’ Bureau, The Swiss Consulate General, Simple DCP, California State University, San Bernardino Palm Desert Campus, Marquee Academy, Creative Juicez, Stephen Boyd Design, The Desert Sun, KCRW, R&R Broadcasting, Appetito Cal-Italian Deli, Destination PSP – official festival merchandise, The Snowbiz Entertainment Network, AB Architecture, the American Small Business League and more.

True to its own tradition, AmDocs 2016 will include an exciting Opening Night Screening with special guests (to be announced soon), a number of special filmmaker events, as well as its popular annual “Mystery” screening on closing night. Passes are now on sale, and are available at special prices when purchased before March 1, 2016. For more information about The American Documentary Film Festival and Film Fund, or to purchase Early Bird FLEX Express Passes or BIG DEAL Passes, visit http://www.americandocumentaryfilmfestival.com/

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The American Documentary Film Festival and Film Fund is a program of the Palm Springs Cultural Center, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, that was established in 2007 to encourage the development of the cultural arts in the Coachella Valley with a specific focus in the areas of film, fine art, live performance, dance, music, and community festivals. The Center is dedicated to advancing education, to nurturing community-wide participation in the cultural arts, and to sponsoring scholarship awards for deserving individuals.

Nov 29

The Palm Springs Cultural Center and David Green’s Musical Theatre University (MTU) to Present New Holiday Event: White Christmas – A Palm Springs Holiday Spectacular!

The Palm Springs Cultural Center and
David Green’s Musical Theatre University (MTU) to Present New Holiday Event:

White Christmas – A Palm Springs Holiday Spectacular!


The Palm Springs Cultural Center and David Green’s Musical Theatre University (MTU) are teaming up this year to present a brand new holiday show – White Christmas – A Palm Springs Holiday Spectacular.

“This is a perfect way to celebrate the holidays with the whole family,” said David Green, Founder of David Green’s Musical Theatre University. “We plan to screen the holiday classic, White Christmas, at the Camelot Theatres, and combine the screening with a live thirty minute fully staged holiday production featuring the kids from David Green’s Musical Theatre University.”

White Christmas – A Palm Springs Holiday Spectacular will take place on December 11, 12 and 13 at 7pm. The show is a benefit for Musical Theatre University and the Palm Springs Cultural Center. “We hope to make this an annual holiday tradition,” said Michael C. Green, Managing Director of the Palm Springs Cultural Center. “It’s a unique combination of film and live performance, in the large Camelot Theatres Auditorium – a great venue. This year, we chose to feature the beloved holiday musical, White Christmas, starring Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney, Danny Kaye, and Vera-Ellen.”

The musical comedy, White Christmas, which was released in 1954, features a number of new and classic holiday songs by Irving Berlin, including a new version of the title song, “White Christmas”, first introduced by Crosby in the 1942 film, Holiday Inn.

White Christmas – A Palm Springs Holiday Spectacular

Tickets:
www.thepalmspringsculturalcenter.org
or at the Camelot Theatres Box Office.

Adults: $25
Children:  $12.50 (14 and under)
Family Pack (2 adult tickets and 2 child tickets): $60.00.

Dates: December 11, 12, & 13
Time: 7pm
Location: Camelot Theatres,
2300 E. Baristo Road,
Palm Springs, CA 92262


David Green’s MUSICAL THEATRE UNIVERSITY (MTU) is the most intensive and comprehensive, pre-professional training ground in the performing and creative arts for talented young people with aspirations for careers in theatre, grades 8 -13, selected by audition from throughout the Coachella Valley and neighboring counties and communities, in residence at Rancho Mirage High School. The Coachella Valley campus is sponsored and presented by THE PALM SPRINGS UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT.

The Palm Springs Cultural Center is a a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. It presents a wide variety of events and programs throughout the year – all designed to encourage the development of the Cultural Arts in the Coachella Valley with a specific focus in the areas of film, fine art, live performance, dance, music, and community festivals. The Center is dedicated to advancing education, to nurturing community-wide participation in the cultural arts.

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Oct 03

Fresh Pick of the Week for October 10 through 16, 2015

Certified Farmers Market Fresh Pick of the Week: Okra!

This week’s Fresh Pick of the Week from the Certified Farmers’ Markets is Okra. Okra (also known as gumbo), is a tall-growing, warm-season, annual vegetable from the same family as Hollyhock, Rose of Sharon and Hibiscus. The immature pods are used for soups, canning and stews or as a fried or boiled vegetable. The hibiscus like flowers are usually yellow or white, sometimes with a deep purple center, and the upright plant can be anywhere from 3 to 6 feet or more in height. As a result, Okra offers both culinary and ornamental value to backyard gardeners and small farmers. Both the green and red varieties of Okra are available from Jaime Farms (JF Organic Farms).

Did You Know:  The geographical origin of Okra is disputed, with supporters of West African, Ethiopian, and South Asian origins. What is clear, though is that Okra was introduced to the Americas by slaves who first arrived in the Caribbean, and later made their way to mainland America. In various Bantu languages, Okra is called (ki)ngombo. This is likely the origin of the name “gumbo”, used in parts of the United States and the English-speaking Caribbean.

Price  $ 3/lb

Also in Season: Potatoes, Celery, Green Onions, FRESH and DRIED Herbs, Eggs, Dates, Almonds, Oranges, Grapefruit, Chard, Eggplant, Squash, Onions, Garlic, Apples, Shallots, Beets, Green Beans, Carrots, Tomatoes, Green Tomatoes, Peppers, Lettuces, Parsley, Mint, Broccoli, Cabbage, Spinach, Radishes, Leeks,  Brussels Sprouts, Asparagus, Cherimoyas, Dates . . . . PLUS, incredible artisan breads, fresh meats, cheese, fresh raw honey, California olives/olive oil/vinegars, and a wide variety of exotic Orchids and flowers.

Sidebar/Additional Information: 

Palm Desert EVENING Market: NEW HOURS in Palm Desert only (4pm to 8pm). The Market is held each Wednesday at 72-559 Highway 111 (adjacent to the Palm Desert Chamber of Commerce).

Palm Springs Certified Farmers’ Market: The Market is held each Saturday morning from 8am to 12:30pm at 2300 Baristo Rd. (adjacent to The Camelot Theatres)

La Quinta Certified Farmers’ Market: The Market is held held each Sunday morning from 8am to 12:30pm in Old Town La Quinta at 78100 Main Street (off Calle Tampico).

The Certified Farmers’ Markets are the Coachella Valley’s only State and County Certified Farmers’ Markets. That means all the fruits, vegetables, meats and other products that are on sale at the markets have been grown on California Certified farms. In addition, almost all the farms are located within a 90 mile radius of the markets (thus reducing the carbon footprint), and many of the products sold are “USDA Certified Organic.”

All Certified Farmers’ Markets accept CalFresh EBT Cards, WIC Farmers’ Market Checks, and Senior Farmers’ Market Checks. The Markets also offer Market Bucks that can be purchased using charge cards or cash, then used at the market for purchases.

The Certified Farmers Markets are sponsored by the Palm Springs Cultural Center, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, which was established to encourage the development of the cultural arts in the Coachella Valley with a specific focus in the areas of film, fine art, live performance, dance, music, and community festivals. The Center is dedicated to advancing education, to nurturing community-wide participation in the cultural arts, and to sponsoring scholarship awards for deserving individuals.

Oct 03

The Palm Springs Cultural Center announces first annual Palm Springs Classic Science Fiction Festival! 

The Palm Springs Cultural Center announces first annual Palm Springs Classic Science Fiction Festival!  

The Palm Springs Cultural Center (PSCC) will present the first annual Palm Springs Classic Science Fiction Festival at the Camelot Theaters on October 23-25, 2015.

“The notion for this event has been germinating for quite awhile and it is fantastic to see it come to fruition this year” enthused festival producer and host Alan K. Rode who has been producing the annual Arthur Lyons Film Noir Festival at the Camelot for the last eight years.

PSCC Executive Director Michael Green agrees: “We believe there is a viable audience for these films and we are excited to expand our relationship with Alan in bringing a new genre of classic cinema to Palm Springs.”

The Sci-Fi Festival will follow a similar format to the Arthur Lyons fest with Rode introducing the films with featured special guest star interviews after several of the screenings. “I’ve programmed some of the all-time classic Sci-Fi films from the 1950s along with some spectacular guest stars”, said Rode.

Schedule:

Friday October 23 7:30 PM
THE FLY (1958) 94min. D: Kurt Neumann.
A Canadian scientist (David Hedison) self-tests his atom-scrambling teleportation device with unforgettably monstrous results.  This cult shocker written by James Clavell was a box office smash that spawned a pair of sequels while giving new meaning to “Please help me!”  Also starring Vincent Price, Herbert Marshall and Patricia Owens.  Filmed in Cinemascope.  SCHEDULED SPECIAL GUEST: DAVID HEDISON

Saturday October 24 10:00 am
INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS (1956) 80 min. D: Don Siegel.
 A doctor returns to his hometown and discovers a weird epidemic of people claiming that their loved ones are emotionless imposters.  The grimmest and most allegory-laden of all sci-fi movies memorably stars Kevin McCarthy as the initially bewildered sawbones along with a gorgeous Dana Wynter, Carolyn Jones, Larry Gates and King Donovan.  Filmed in SuperScope.

Saturday October 24 1:00 PM
CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON (1954) 79 min. D: Jack Arnold.
 An expedition to the Amazon i.e. the Universal Studios back lot discovers the prehistoric Gill Man who falls for gorgeous Julie Adams and who can blame him!  This quintessential creature feature introduced the last of the iconic Universal monsters and also stars Richard Carlson, Richard Denning and Nestor Paiva.    SCHEDULED SPECIAL GUEST: JULIE ADAMS

Saturday October 24 4:00 pm
THE BEAST FROM 20,000 FATHOMS (1953) 80 min. D: Eugéne Lourié.
A memorable collaboration between legendary sci-fi writer Ray Bradbury and renowned stop-motion animator Ray Harryhausen results in a defrosted Rhedosaurus wrecking havoc from the North Pole to lower Manhattan.  The first instance of atom bomb testing used as a plot device for dinosaur-inspired urban renewal!  Starring Paul Christian, Paula Raymond, Cecil Kellaway and Kenneth Tobey.

Saturday October 24 7:30 PM
THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN  (1957) 81 min D: Jack Arnold.
The film that created an altogether different perspective of cats and spiders remains one of the most well made 1950s pictures of any genre. Grant Williams portrays the proportionally shrinking Scott Carey whose entire world literally closes in on him. Richard Matheson adapted a suspenseful script from his novel that is heightened by ingenious special effects and stellar supporting turns by Randy Stuart, April Kent, Paul Langton, Raymond Bailey and William Schallert.

Sunday October 25 10:00 AM
THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD (1951) 87 min. D: Christian Nyby.
Renowned filmmaker Howard Hawks produced this stylish classic about a bloodthirsty alien terrorizing a North Pole research station.  A sparkling ensemble cast headed by Kenneth Tobey, Margaret Sheridan, Robert Cornwaithe, Douglas Spencer, Dewey Martin and Robert Nichols keeps everybody warm by clipping off the acerbic dialogue penned by Charles Lederer, Ben Hecht and Hawks.  A keen sense of humor was required to combat the dreaded “supercarrot” organism memorably portrayed by James Arness before he patrolled Dodge City in TV’s Gunsmoke.

Sunday October 25 1:00 PM
IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE (1953) 81 min. D: Jack Arnold.
Nobody believes an astronomer (Richard Carlson) after he observes a spaceship crashing in the Arizona desert.  As strange events begin to pile up, the xenophobic desert populace succumbs to panic! Filmed near Palmdale and Victorville and co-starring Barbara Rush, Charles Drake, Joe Sawyer, Russell Johnson and Kathleen Hughes.  Co-written by Ray Bradbury, this seminal sci-fi thriller also boasts an eerie music score composed by the great Henry Mancini. SPECIAL GUESTS: BARBARA RUSH, KATHLEEN HUGHES.

Sunday October 25 4:00 pm
THEM! (1954) 94 min. D: Gordon Douglas.
 Those annoying atom bomb tests strike again by creating a nest of gigantic ants in the New Mexican desert that threaten the world. The first of the “big bug” flicks remains the absolute best of its kind with crackling performances by James Whitmore, Edmund Gwenn, Joan Weldon, James Arness and Onslow Stevens. Filmed on location in the Mojave Desert and the downtown Los Angeles river basin. Superbly paced and suspenseful: Not to be missed on the big screen!

2015 Classic Science Fiction Film Festival
October 23-25, 2015
Camelot Theatres

Tickets: $13
All Access Passes: $79

Purchase tickets online at:

http://www.PSSciFiFilmFest.org/wordpress/tickets/

Oct 03

The Coachella Valley’s Three Outdoor Certified Farmers Markets Are Set To Open For The 2015/16 Season, Beginning October 3rd!

The Coachella Valley’s Three Outdoor Certified Farmers Markets Are Set To Open For The 2015/16 Season, Beginning October 3rd!

Presented by The Palm Springs Cultural Center

Palm Springs Market opens Saturday October 3rd,
Old Town La Quinta Market Opens Sunday, October 4th
And Palm Desert Evening Market Opens Wednesday October 7th

Coachella Valley foodies (chefs, restaurant owners, home cooks, food lovers, and everyone else who prefers locally grown food) have reason to celebrate this week. The valley’s three State and County Certified Farmers’ Markets open for their 2015/2016 Season, starting Saturday, 10/3 in Palm Springs, Sunday in La Quinta 10/4  and Wednesday in Palm Desert 10/7.

Sponsored by the Palm Springs Cultural Center, the Certified Farmers’ Markets have become a valley tradition, and regular customers eagerly anticipate their return each fall.

“We’ve had emails and calls from people asking when the markets will open,” said Paul Palodichuk, General Manager of the Certified Farmers’ Markets. “This is the beginning of our eighth full season here in the desert. We have most of our local favorites returning and we’ve added some new value added artisan prepared food vendors. The biggest news, though, is that we have changed our Palm Desert Market on Wednesdays to evening hours every week – 4:00 p.m to 8:00 p.m. Mid-valley residents who have never been able to participate due to daytime commitments can now make the Palm Desert Evening Market their weekly tradition after work and school.”

“We’ve gotten lots of positive feedback, especially from year-round residents. Our live entertainment will reflect the ‘party’ atmosphere, and we’ll also have a rotating pop-up mini restaurant, along with our weekly artisan food vendors, staffed by an eclectic list of locally owned restaurants that appreciate fresh produce. The first pop-up on 10/7 will be Balisage Bistro. The Palm Springs and Old Town La Quinta markets will continue to be open in the morning from 8:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.”

“We also have a new staffer on board as our La Quinta site manager. Kris Kirkegaard comes from a background in project management and the culinary arts. She has a passion for nutrition education which aligns perfectly with our expanded focus on CV-wide elementary school visits, thanks to our grant through the Kaiser Foundation and curriculum by beloved local educator Cathy Liss. Kris will also co-manage the new Palm Desert market with Megan Goehring, our Palm Springs site manager.

For our Grand Opening:

At Palm Springs 10/3 and La Quinta 10/4 markets, for the first 50 kids (twelve and under) attending each market next week will get $2.00 in market bucks.

We’ll have our prize wheel spinning at the Palm Desert Evening opener on 10/7 for people who provide the secret code word: EVENING

All Certified Farmers’ Markets accept CalFresh EBT Cards, WIC Farmers’ Market Checks, and Senior Farmers’ Market Checks. For customers enrolled in CalFresh/SNAP, WIC and SSID (with ID) we match expenditures up to $10 with Market Match tokens funded through a USDA federal grant.  The Markets also offer Market Bucks that can be purchased using charge cards or cash, and used as currency at the market for purchases.

Sidebar/Additional Information:

In Season / Outdoor Locations

Palm Springs Certified Farmers’ Market: Opens Saturday, October 3rd (8:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.). The Market  will  be held at  2300 Baristo Rd. (adjacent to The Camelot Theatres)

La Quinta Certified Farmers’ Market: Opens Sunday, October 4th (8:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.). The Market will be held in Old Town La Quinta at 78100 Main Street (off Calle Tampico).

Palm Desert Evening Certified Farmers’ Market: Opens Wednesday, October 7th (4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.). The Market will continue to be held at 72-599 Highway 111 (adjacent to the Palm Desert Chamber of Commerce).

The Certified Farmers’ Markets are the Coachella Valley’s only State and County Certified Farmers’ Markets. “Certified” means all the produce from participating farms at the markets has been grown at California farms which have been registered and inspected by their county Agriculture Departments. In addition, almost all the CFMCV farms are located within a 100 mile radius of the Markets (thus reducing the carbon footprint), and many  products sold are USDA Certified Organic.

The Certified Farmers Markets are sponsored by the Palm Springs Cultural Center, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, which was established to encourage the development of the cultural arts in the Coachella Valley with a specific focus in the areas of film, fine art, live performance, dance, music, and community festivals. The Center is dedicated to advancing education, to nurturing community-wide participation in the cultural arts, and to sponsoring scholarship awards for deserving individuals.

Sep 11

Cinema Diverse: The Palm Springs LGBTQ Film Festival Returns with more films in more theatres, and adds New Media Component.

Cinema Diverse: The Palm Springs LGBTQ Film Festival Returns with more films in more theatres, and adds New Media Component.

Eighth Anniversary Edition Runs from
Thursday, Sept. 17th through Sunday, Sept. 20th

Cinema Diverse: The Palm Springs LGBTQ Film Festival, opens its Eighth Edition on Thursday, September 17th and runs through Sunday, September 20th at the Camelot Theatres in Palm Springs. This year the festival is a third larger than ever before, and includes a New Media Spotlight on Saturday, September 19th.

“We are very excited to have been able to continue to grow the festival, and to increase our total number of screenings again this year,” said Michael C. Green, Festival Director.  “Last year we hosted a record number of screenings in two theatres, and this year we’re taking all three theatres at the Camelot, plus we’re adding the New Media Spotlight that Shann Carr from Moxie Productions created for us with the help of Brett Chatelain and Kieran Turner. It focuses on the variety of quality LGBT content that’s currently available on the internet. We’re thrilled to be growing and, in many cases, exceeding our own expectations for the festival.”

Cinema Diverse, which began in 2008, is gaining quite a reputation for a relatively younger LGBTQ festival. “Last year one writer who was visiting from San Francisco referred to us in a subsequent article he penned as ‘the Academy Awards of LGBTQ Film Festivals’ because he said he was really impressed that we were able to screen so many of the top LBGBTQ films in only four days,” Green continued. “And although I think that statement is probably a stretch, given all the amazing LGBTQ film festivals around the world, we certainly appreciated the compliment!”

Cinema Diverse was one of the first programs produced by the Palm Springs Cultural Center, and continues to be one of the most popular programs the local nonprofit produces, along with the Arthur Lyons Film Noir Festival and the American Documentary Film Festival. “The festival got a slow start,” Green said. “But over the past six years, the community and the sponsors have really come out in force to embrace it. Our numbers continue to grow. That’s not surprising, though, given the large LBGTQ population in the valley. There’s quite a demand for LGBTQ entertainment, and we’re thrilled to be able to bring the films and the filmmakers to our local audience.”

Cinema Diverse 2015 opens on Thursday night, September 17th, with a 7:30pm screening of EISENSTEIN IN GUANAJUATO, Peter Greenaway’s award-winning film that explores venerated Soviet filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein’s 1931 trip to Mexico – a trip considered pivotal in his life and film career – a significant hinge between the early successes of STRIKE, BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN, and OCTOBER, and his hesitant later career with ALEXANDER NEVSKY, IVAN THE TERRIBLE and THE BOYAR’S PLOT. Chaperoned by his guide Palomino Cañedo, Eisenstein vulnerably experiences the ties between Eros and Thanatos –  sex and death – happy to create their effects in cinema – troubled to suffer them in life.

Cinema Diverse 2015 continues Friday, September 18th, with several series of short films from around the world. Screenings will begin at 11am, and run throughout the weekend with a variety of features, documentaries and short films. One special highlight is the Saturday Night Preview of Billy Clift’s new parody film, HUSH UP SWEET CHARLOTTE, a film that will have its official world premiere in San Francisco in October.  HUSH UP SWEET CHARLOTTE features stellar performances by Matthew Martin, Varla Jean Merman, Mink Stole, David Millbern, Jason Stuart, Jeffrey Patrick Olson, Jesse Peppe, Mike Finn, Heklina, Elizabeth Clift, Evan Johnson… Drag race stars… Raja, Honey Mahogany and Miles Davis Moody. The filmmaker, in addition to several members of the cast and crew will be in attendance for the screening, which is being sponsored by HERE TV.

Cinema Diverse 2015 will close on Sunday Night, September 20th, at 8pm, with OUT ON THE TRACKS – a new documentary about gay Guyanese soul singer Nhojj’s groundbreaking Made To Love Him recording sessions. Affirming the LGBTQ community through same-sex renditions of classic heterosexual love songs from Gershwin’s “Someone to Watch Over Me” to Billy Joel’s “She’s Got a Way” (“He’s Got a Way”), this gentle and human documentary touches upon the themes of love, hope and self-acceptance.

In addition to the screenings, Cinema Diverse 2015 will also feature four of it’s signature “After Parties,” at local restaurants, including APPETITO, THE PURPLE ROOM, TROPICALE and LULU CALIFORNIA BISTRO, in that sequential order.

Want to know more? See the complete schedule and buy your tickets at http://cinemadiverse.org/ 

Jul 18

Hush Up Sweet Charlotte Film to Screen at Sea on the Cinema Diverse Cruise to Alaska and at The Palm Springs Gay & Lesbian Film Festival

Hush Up Sweet Charlotte Film to Screen at Sea on the Cinema Diverse Cruise to Alaska and at The Palm Springs Gay & Lesbian Film Festival

Cinema Diverse, The Palm Springs Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, announced today that it will feature a world-wide exclusive sneak preview of the film, Hush Up Sweet Charlotte, during its upcoming Cinema Diverse Cruise to Alaska August 28-September 4, 2015.

Written and directed by noted Film Director/Writer, Billy Clift, Hush Up is an homage to the 1964 Hush…Hush Sweet Charlotte film starring the iconic actresses Bette Davis and Olivia de Havilland.  In Clift’s film, the leads include parody performances by drag superstars Matthew Martin and Varla Jean Merman.  Emmy-nominated actor/producer, David Millbern, also stars as Dr. Drew.   The feature role of housekeeper Velma, originally performed by Agnes Moorhead, is played by Mink Stole, made famous by cult film director, John Waters.  Other cast members include accomplished comedian/actor Jason Stuart and rising star Jesse Pepe. There are also cameos by Raja Gemini, season 3 winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race, and international drag performer and recording artist, Honey Mahogany.  The film is produced by HERE Media

Hush Up is the story of an aging, reclusive Southern belle with a horrifying hidden family secret.  It tracks her descent into madness (with the help of a lost relative) as she fights to save her family’s historic plantation.  Will she keep her sanity and home, or will she lose it all to divisive interlopers with their own agendas?  The film keeps everyone guessing until the very end.

Clift, whose other hit films include Baby Jane? and I Want to Get Married says, “Ever since I made Baby Jane? back in 2010, I imagined making Hush Up as my sequel.  I knew Martin and Merman were perfect for the roles.  It was at a screening of Baby Jane? in Chicago that I asked Mink Stole to join the cast.  She sat next to me, loved the film, and that’s when she agreed to be part of Hush Up.  Four years later, we were able to start filming.”

In addition to Hush Up, the Cinema Diverse Cruise to Alaska will offer a preview of several films set to screen at the 2015 Festival, including another HERE Media premiere – From here! on OUT – The Movie.  According to Michael Green, Managing Director of Cinema Diverse, “Billy Clift (Hush Up Writer/Director), David Milbern (Hush Up Actor/Producer), Terry Ray (From here! on OUT – The Movie  lead actor) and representatives from HERE Media (Producers of the film and the Media Sponsor for the Festival) will join the cruise as special guests for the screening at sea and Hush Up Sweet Charlotte.

HUSH UP will also be our centerpiece screening at the Festival in Palm Springs on Saturday, September 19th.  We hope to have many of the film’s stars attend that very special screening.” Cinema Diverse, The Palm Springs Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, will be celebrating its eighth year September 17-20, 2015.

For more information about the Alaska Cruise, call Adam Rog of Worldview Travel at 888-663-9936.  For details about this year’s Festival, visitwww.CinemaDiverse.org