Several hundred press/media groups from around the world pack the red carpet to capture the magic. Palm Springs still has a certain 'je ne sais pas' allure from its early connections to the Hollywood film industry. During dinner last night a celebrity friend remarked that there were more actors, directors, producers, writers and studio executives in Palm Springs these days than during its golden era hay day in the 1950's and 1960's.
Events like these cannot happen without its sponsors, of which there are many. Legendary jeweler House of Cartier is the Presenting Sponsor, Mercedes Benz is the official vehicle of the festival, and Penfolds wines is a producing sponsor. Those companies truly add a huge glamor factor the evening.
Of course, the Film Festival is mostly about the films being screened. However the Awards Gala is the glitter that helps generate world wide interest in the festival- and media too. Hundreds of limousines arrive bringing more celebrities that I could name here. During the evening I saw Dame Helen Mirren, Penelope Cruz, Jake Gyllenhaal, Ben Affleck, Colin Firth, Diahann Carroll, Robert Duvall, Natalie Portman, Rita Rudner, Mark Wahlberg, James Franco, Amy Adams, Aaron Eckhart, Jimmy Van Patten, Jesse Eisenberg, Jack Jones, Javier Bardem, Carey Mulligen, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert Loggia, Oliver Stone and Mart Hart.
To give you an idea of the sheer magnitude of the press covering this event, I took this photo at one end of the red carpet. There was another entire section of press and photographers around the corner. Just in the front is actor Michael A. Newcomer ('A Thousand Cuts') and his date Willow, posing for photographs.
|Robert Duvall and his wife|
|Amy Adams looked stunning.|
|Jake Gyllenhaal and Natalie Portman|
|Natalie Portman was channeling Audrey Hepburn|
Once inside from the red carpet and away from the prying eyes of the media, guests relaxed during the cocktail reception, amid huge vases of red tulips atop every bar and table. Pedfolds definitely made their mark with red branding throughout.
|The Red Queen would have been pleased, beautiful vases of red tulips lighted from below|
|I took this close up for you Judy....|
|Chocolate mousse and vanilla cream with fresh raspberries|
|Carey Mulligan: Breakthrough Performance Award|
|Colin Firth: Desert Palm Achievement|
|Presenter James Franco|
|Presenter Jake Gyllenhaal|
|Jennifer Lawrence: Rising Star Award|
|Presenters Mark Wahlberg & Amy Adams|
|Presenter Oliver Stone|
|Ben Affleck: Chairman' Award|
|Dame Helen Mirren congratulates recipient Colin Firth|
Toward the end of the evening I was feeling artistic with my camera and tried to take a number of creative artsy-fartsy photos, none of which had the correct exposure except this one, of the bottle of tine and the tulips. I liked the way the diamonds surrounding the vase refracted light. Shortly thereafter my camera battery bit the dust and was doing strange things. We made a quick escape and headed to the after-party at the famed Parker-Palm Springs hotel, which went on into the wee hours. When I walked into the hotel lobby, there was Ben Affleck sitting on a sofa chatting with guests, while Colin Firth stood just a few feet away sipping a glass of wine. It was a night to celebrate the arts and world of entertainment, and that is exactly what we did.