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Artistic Director Lili Rodriguez Highlights the ins and outs of the Palm Springs International Film Festival

Written By: Gene Pietragallo III
Photography Provided By: Palm Springs International Film Festival Lili Rodriguez

Lili Rodriguez has always been a film enthusiast, and following that passion has helped her shape a notable role in the industry. From majoring in film studies during her undergraduate work to being selected as the latest Artistic Director for the Palm Springs International Film Festival, Rodriguez has seen a consistent incline in her role with the Palm Springs International Film Society since she first joined in 2013. 

Rodriguez couldn’t have been elected at a more crucial time. With cinematic giants like Joker, Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman and Bong Joon-Ho’s Parasite all headlining this year’s Palm Springs International Film Festival, festival attendees couldn’t have a bigger year for innovation in international film. 

“Seeing everything finally come together is rewarding beyond expression,” Rodriguez says. “The entire team has worked so hard for months, and we finally get to enjoy the fruits of our labor.” Lili Rodriguez

The PSIFF has been a staple in local Coachella Valley history since its inception and enthusiastic promotion in 1989, and Rodriguez plans to expand upon that local inclusion with her new position. Lili Rodriguez

From continuing student film screenings and internship programs through the Palm Springs International Film Society to showcasing three new films in a local spotlight premiere during the festival, Rodriguez has clearly kept true to the local aspect the PSIFF has always emphasized. 

“The Festival is a local favorite and a staple of the Coachella Valley, and I myself am a local, so I’ve incorporated more local elements—from a local jury [and] expanding the Local Spotlight to inviting the Palm Springs Gay Men’s Chorus for a special performance for our Gayla presentation,” explains Rodriguez. “I think it is very important to have the community involved in the Festival they love so much.” 

The amount of work and consideration that goes into a festival of this magnitude is unparalleled. From the Awards Gala to the year-long submission process (which requires a dedicated team of reviewers), the PSIFF is no small feat. “The planning for this year’s Festival started almost immediately after [the Festival in] 2019,” Rodriguez notes. “Our programmers leave the Festival and start watching films for next year’s submissions.”   

Without question, the PSIFF is on course for a 2021 return with Rodriguez in full directorial glory. In the meantime, film fanatics can look forward to ShortFest, a Palm Springs International Film Society event showcasing a plethora of incredible short film submissions from both local and international directors.