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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.


Nik Xhelilaj new albanian Shooting Star of "The Albanian"

Nik Xhelilaj, star of "The Albanian"
"The Albanian" by debut German director Johannes Naber is a gripping study, not only of illegal immigration into Germany, but of age-old tribal customs

In the backwood mountains of Albania which still heavily constrict the lives of young people and blood feuds are the norm. Handsome Arben a mountain villager is in love with Etleva, a fetching hay-pitching lass from a neighboring clan, and wants to marry her, but there is a big hitch. She has been offered to another suitor for a 10,000 Euro bride price. Moreover, Etleva is pregnant after a passionate roll in the hay with Arben, so if he wants to buy her out he better come up with some big cash quick or Etleva's brothers will take bloody revenge for his besmirching of their family honor. The only way to get money fast is by getting to Berlin via the danger laden immigrant smuggling trail. Arben struggles to survive in Germany without even knowing the language and finally, after much violence, secures the needed Bride Price cash but --it's too late, and this leads to bitter complications. 
Excellent film and the star of the picture, Nik Xhejlilaj, looks like a cross between a young Omar charrif and Alan Delon, with star charisma to burn.
This chap could well become the first Albanian international star, but he may have to do something about his Marquee name, as Albanian orthography is not very reader friendly -- In fact "Xhejlilaj" is pronounced something like "Jelly Lodge", not particularly jaw-breaking, but then, Albanians have their pride, so new fans (and there are bound to be plenty of them) may just have to learn to live with Alabanian spelling -- By the way the language is actually called "Sqip", and that's pronounced something like "Shtipp". Nik Xhejlilaj has already been selected by Berlin for inclusion in their annual array of promising new screen talent appropriately called "Shooting Stars".  Not surprising, because after Nader's discovery, this dude is definitely a contender -- much like like a guy named Marlon was once upon a time in a Waterfront flicker.  
All in all the film offerings here are staggering with 68 different countries being represented and an even larger number of languages (Basque, Shanghainese a variety of African languages and, and even an Eskimo dialect from Greenland, although the film in question "Nuumioq" is actually a Danish production.).
Fortunately most films can be grokked at the REGAL cinemas complex directly across the street from the Renaissance which serves as the
HQ of the festival and provides excellent press facilities, not to mention an all day snack bar and a well fueled 5Pm "Happy Hour". The press room is also a
kind of festival crossroads where visiting directors and actors drop in all day long so that it is possible for journalists to cop an informal confab without  having to go through the rigamarole of skedding an interview days in advance (if you're lucky) at major festivals such as Cannes and Berlin. As a hard working regular
Post Office worker in Pgh. Pa, used to say to us lazy young "temps" hired on just for Xmas; "You young punks is always hidin' from the work, but I is GLAAAD to be here!" 

Alex, Deleon glad to be in Palm Springs, as the festival enters its final stages.


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Lee David


Palm Springs,

United States

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