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Palm Springs

The Palm Springs International Film Festival plays host to a fabulous array of movies and movie stars. The Festival features a stellar line-up of more than 175 films from 60 countries, special events and gala receptions. 

The Palm Springs International Festival of Short Films has become known world-wide for the extraordinary community of filmmakers it attracts, and for the quality and scope of its programming. This celebrated event is the largest festival of its kind in America, showcasing over 320 short films each year from more than 40 countries, with a library of more than 2700 films available to film buyers, industry and press in the Film Market running concurrently with the Festival.


'Forgiveness of Blood' at Palm Springs








photo still from 'THE FORGIVENESS OF BLOOD' (2011)


Director Joshua Marston's latest film, THE FORGIVENESS OF BLOOD (2011), screened this week in Palm Springs during the 2012 Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF). Marston once again impresses audiences with his one-of-a-kind filmic verisimilitude. Similar to his international hit MARIA FULL OF GRACE (2004), which was filmed in Columbia and in Columbian Spanish with English subtitles, this globe-trotting American does the same with FORGIVENESS OF BLOOD, using local talent (the main actors from Albania- Tristan Halilaj and Sindi Laçej) and filming it in the local language, Albanian. Going against the grain of his fellow Americans who have shown the world their collective disinterest to read subtitled films (much less direct and produce subtitled films) Marston has surprisingly struck a chord once again and has yet received critical acclaim for this his latest work. The film picked up the Silver Bear Award at the 2011 Berlin Film Festival for Best Screenplay and Prize of the Ecumenical Jury.

is a drawn-out poetic suspense story about a teen-aged boy, Nik, and his sister, Rudina, as they come to grips with the paradox of life in a modern world in an ancient land. In the main city, life is like anywhere else, with rampant internet and technology, where things are changing daily through mass information and globalization. But in Albanian village life, things have changed little over the centuries where beliefs like ‘an eye for an eye’ makes up a significant part of the local moral code, where antique blood feuds are still part of every day reality.

They say a film is in the title and here I would have to agree. Blood has been spilt, but will Forgiveness be an option? Not from what we know about the endless vendetta. When one man’s blood is spilt, someone from the other side must pay. And in this film, that someone is the young teenager Nik. The film offers a glimpse into the realities of contemporary Albania as it races forward with dizzying globalization and yet continues to hold onto its past for dear life. Marston has a knack for going into the countries with the toughest to break stereotypes (Columbia with its cocaine cartels and drug trafficking mules and Albania with its notorious blood feuds and vendettas) and puts a face to these widely known yet misunderstood social dilemmas. With subtlety and passion, Josh Marston manages to get to the core of the vulnerable and complicated truths of such problems and in so doing, breaks down walls and opens minds, with the universal and enduring language of cinema.

-written by Vanessa McMahon, JANUARY 14, 2012.


Director Josh Marston


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Lee David


Palm Springs,

United States

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