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Talking Pictures With David Ansen Head of Programming for the Palm Springs Film Festival

I got to speak with David Ansen formerly a major critic for many years, and Artistic Director of the LA Film Festival, and now Head of Programming for the Palm Springs Film Festival about new trends.


Marla:How has the industry and the films changed? 


David:  When i started everything was on film and now it is digital…There is so much more content, it is much harder to get an audiences attention. Good films can get lost in the shuffle. We used to have great films from Italy.




David: Yes, Fellini, Bertilucci, Visconti…

The french films are government funded so they do well…there are films from countries like Uruguay, Paraguay, and Columbia has had the same director nominated in the top five for best foreign film for two years in a row now.  Films from Israel are very popular, as are films in general from the middle east.  


Marla: There are films from Mexico like ROMA which are socially and politically relevant.  I know Alfonso Cuarón wanted to create that in E Tu Mama Tambien…


David: Certainly in the subtext of the film. we have a film from Norway, “What Will People Say”, about a Pakistani family living there, and there are many other films about migration.  You can really learn a lot about what is going on in the world through today’s cinema and our audiences come to Palm Springs to see the foreign films because it is more difficult to see them in there local theatres at home. It is the foreign films that really bring them here.


Marla: This year two of the most talked about foreign films on the Academy short list are in black in white. Aren’t these films often hard to market?


David: There was “THE LAST PICTURE SHOW”, which did very well at the box office years ago.  and more recently THE ARTIST.


Marla:  And that was silent, too. Perhaps since Film Noir has made quite a come back, audiences are more receptive and appreciative of seeing black and white films.


David: That sounds right.  There is also a film called “Ray and Liz” which is in black and white and shot by a UK photographer.


Marla: You have a Modern Masters section, a World Cinema section, and Variety will have their 10 directors to watch. (new voices) 


David: Yes, they really have a track record for picking talent.


Marla:  I see you have all nine of the nominated foreign films showing at the festival.  What a great opportunity to see these films.


David:  Palm Springs Film International Festival is more important than ever. We have big and loyal audiences.


Marla: I believe you also mentioned many of the films nominated were shown in Palm Springs last year.  It’s very exciting to keep this industry alive.  


Thank you David and  Palm Springs Film International Festival.  Here’s to another great year.



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About MarlaLewinGFV

Lewin Marla
(Global Film Village)

Marla is a producer, playwright, screenwriter, publicist and now a journalist. She attends 12 to 20 film festivals per year. She has spoken on filmmaking at many festivals including Cannes and SXSW.


Los Angeles

United States

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