Palm Springs International Film Festival in full swing

Variety of films keeps festival-goers guessing

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - With so many films on the Palm Springs International Film Festival schedule, 180 from 68 countries, it can be hard to know where to start.

Lance and Marilyn Valt of Long Beach have been coming to the festival for 15 years.  They've already screened 14 films and plan on taking in at least six more.  Yet even these veterans admit, after combing over film festival literature, they don't always know what they're about to see once they're inside the theater.

"I spent 10 hours with the descriptions and very quickly you find that you've spent those 10 hours, what's the name of that film, what's the film about, you don't know," said Lance Valt.

But that unknown is part of the festival's appeal to movie buffs.  In fact, for couples like Ken and Anne Helms and Fred Saunders and Lynn Evans, things really get interesting once the film is over.

"We'll get together later on and we'll discover that we all saw a different film and we'll talk about it," said Saunders.  "Sometimes we see different things of value or different opinions of the whole thing, or what did something mean, said Anne Helms.

Thought-provoking films -- it's something the festival prides itself in offering to filmgoers.

"They're not mainstream films," said Saunders.  "We rarely see this kind of stuff in the mainstream.  Almost everything is worth seeing."

Festival officials estimate attendance could reach more than 130,000 this year.

The festival runs through Jan. 14.




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