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Film Festival: Who Picks the Movies?

Over 180 movies! That’s what the Palm Springs International Film Festival brings to the Valley each year. But the question is who chooses those movies, and what is the selection process? CBS Local 2 spoke with the Film Festival’s Artistic Director, Michael Lerman, whose responsibility it is to guide that selection process.

Lerman says that he and his staff watch all of the movies submitted, and build the showings around certain films they have identified as important to the festival, and a proper fit with the audience.

A large amount of data is collected each year following the festival from festival goers who provide feedback on the festival’s offerings. That data is used to build each successive year’s screening list.

Lehman himself watches 2 to 3 movies per DAY, and has been involved in the movie business since he was a kid. Lerman also runs the Toronto Film Festival, so he is intimately acquainted with the selection process.

He and his team of programmers, led by Liliana Rodriguez, pull in films from other festivals and review all the submissions prior to creating their list of screenings each year.

Because the PSIFF happens at the beginning of the awards season, it is frequently viewed as a “Best of” Film Festival, showcasing some films that may already be in release, but also focusing on new content as well.

Lerman says the idea is to make each showing an “event” so that audiences enjoy the entire experience. And it is indeed an event.

KESQ News Team

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