The Palm Springs International Film Festival begins its 25th year on Jan. 3 and, in observation of that milestone, The Desert Sun and MyDesert.com are presenting a video look-back at its history.
Starting Friday and continuing the next 24 days until the festival wraps on Jan. 13, you’ll find one new video interview per day on mydesert.com/filmfest with an individual who has been involved in the festival in an integral way.
The first festival began in 1990 but was conceived by the late Sonny Bono and officials from the local exhibitors, Metropolitan Theatres. So the video series launches Friday with an interview with Bono’s widow, former Congresswoman Mary Bono, co-host of the first festival parties. Saturday will feature an interview with Marshall Stone, Metropolitan Theatres’ regional manager and president of the Palm Springs Chamber of Commerce when Sonny Bono chaired a subcommittee under him. Stone went on to become the first festival board chairman before its actual launch.
Subsequently, you’ll see interviews with people from all walks of the festival, ranging from board presidents such as Ric Supple, Rozene Supple and Harold Matzner to Mark Quesada, head of valet parking for 25 years, and Lionel and Sidel Weinstein, the only volunteers to work in all 25 festivals. There are conversations with festival director Darryl Macdonald and past festival director Craig Prater. There are interviews with former Mayor Will Kleindienst, who named it the city’s flagship event, and former board member Kaye Ballard, who plans her acting work around the festival.
These interviews are conducted by The Desert Sun’s Bruce Fessier, who has covered all 25 years of the festival and worked with Sonny Bono at its inception.