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Exclusive look at the planning of the PSIFF awards gala

After the stars align on the red carpet at the Palm Springs International Film Festival, they step into a world of opulence under the sea.

“I have 40-45 table cloths in five different colors of the ocean. We’re starting with seafoam green, going to periwinkle, and we finish with royal blue. It’ll be curves like the waves are coming in,” Shari Kelley of Shari Kelley Events said.

Special section: 2018 Palm Springs International Film Festival

Kelley, the event planner for the gala, talked to us exclusively about planning a high-end event for 2000 plus people.

“We have three to four people in here any given day working on all these projects,” she said.

They make 200 center pieces. The finishing touches on the center pieces are 850 orchids flown in all the way from Holland, and they arrived in the desert a few days ago on the 29th.

When we met with Kelley weeks before the gala, it was time for final meetings to discuss final details. We sat in on her one-on-one with with Jim Houston, the co-chair of the film festival.

“We’ve had situations where big MGM people call us up and ask if they can bring someone out, and just do the entrance. They’ll show up in the news after, get in the bus and go home,” Houston said.

“The biggest hook of the film festival, it’s an event with the excitement and the look and the music… but the production of the show with the stars. First out the gate may be Tom Hanks. You’re sitting there like ‘Oh my God he’s talking to me,” Kelley said.

The gala, which kicks off awards season, may not be televised like the Globes and the Oscars, but Kelley says that’s what makes it different.

“No censorship, no music, nothing cutting them off. You get privy to a lot of information you wouldn’t get on any other awards show,” she said.

Check our Instagram page for more pictures from the gala!

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