Michael Feinstein’s “The Great American Songbook,” a glorious celebration of American song and the Hollywood movie musical, will close the 14th Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival on January 19, 2003. One of the premiere interpreters of American popular song, Feinstein will perform following the screening, which he co-produced and hosts. The evening will be emceed by writer/comedian Bruce Vilanch. Carol Channing and Jerry Herman will also appear on stage as special guests, along with a cavalcade of great Hollywood musical stars.
During the Closing Night festivities, the newly established John Schlesinger Filmmaker Prize for Outstanding Debut Feature will be announced. This honor, to become an annual tradition, will acknowledge the work of a first-time filmmaker whose narrative or documentary feature plays the Festival. Director Bryan Singer will present the award.
“We have a wonderful closing night,” said Festival Executive Director Mitch Levine. “We are premiering a marvelous work that celebrates movies and music, we’ll have a special performance by the brilliant Michael Feinstein, the FIPRESCI jury will announce their choices and we’re announcing the winner of the John Schlesinger Award, which honors both the recipient and the man for whom it was named. It will really be an occasion to remember.”
A long-time resident of Palm Springs, Schlesinger is the Oscar-winning director of “Midnight Cowboy,” “Marathon Man,” “Sunday, Bloody Sunday,” “Billy Liar” and “Darling.” He also received the Lifetime Achievement Award for Directing from BAFTA this year. Last week, in London, he was presented with the Stanley Kubrick Award, accepted on his behalf by his great friend Alan Parker.
He will be awarded a star on the Palm Springs Walk of Fame at noon on January 10, 2003 at 277 North Avenida Caballeros in Palm Springs during the Festival. Guest speakers expected to attend include Brenda Vaccaro, Michael York, Steve Zallian, Robert Wagner, Stefanie Powers and Franco Zeffirelli.
“My sincere thanks to the Palm Springs International Film Festival for their outstanding work supporting the world of cinema and its filmmakers. I am honored that the festival will be presenting this annual John Schlesinger Award to first-time feature or documentary film directors,” the director noted. “I remember how important it was to me as a young filmmaker when my first film, a documentary entitled ‘Terminus’ won the Berlin Film Festival Award. How important that was in launching my career. The best of luck to whoever is chosen for this award and may their creative journey in filmmaking be successful.”
For more information, visit the Palm Springs International Film Festival website.

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