"Coach Carter," based on the experiences of a high school basketball coach who led a team of disadvantaged teens from zero to heroes, will raise the curtain on this year's Palm Springs International Film Festival.
The festival, which will run Jan. 6 to 16, boasts several Oscar contenders in the foreign language and documentary categories, as well as some movies that have not yet played in theaters.
"Coach Carter" stars Samuel L. Jackson, who is expected to attend the festival with director Thomas Carter. Jackson will receive a career achievement award. Closing the festival will be "Ladies in Lavender," directed by Charles Dance and starring Judi Dench and Maggie Smith.
Also screening will be "The Thing About My Folks," directed by Raymond De Felitta, which stars Peter Falk, Paul Reiser and Olympia Dukakis, and "Red Dust," directed by Tom Hooper and starring Hilary Swank.
Among the festival's 10 potential Oscar nominees for best documentary are "The Last Mogul," Barry Avrich's controversial film about former MCA/Universal Chairman Lew Wasserman. Other documentaries include Zana Briski and Ross Kauffman's "Born Into Brothels," Paola di Florio's "Home of the Brave" and Kevin Macdonald's "Touching the Void."
Some 41 films submitted for consideration for the foreign language Oscar include France's "The Chorus," directed by Christophe Barratier, and Italy's "The Keys to the House," directed by Gianni Amelio. Other foreign language films in the lineup include "Kontroll," from Hungary, directed by Nimrod Antal; "Nobody Knows," from Japan, directed by Hirokazu Kore-Eda; and Kay Pollak's "As It Is in Heaven," from Sweden.
Among the "special presentations" are Francois Ozon's "5x2," Danny Boyle's "Millions" and Barra Grant's "Life of the Party."
For information, call festival headquarters at (760) 322-2930 or go to www.psfilmfest.org.