Perhaps due to my dear old dad’s ties to Tinseltown, film festivals have always been high on my fun list.  I frequent them as often as I can; just can’t seem to get enough of them.  And although I don’t mind hopping a plane to feed my film frenzy, I’m lucky to live in the Palm Springs Valley, where the celebration of all things celluloid is a common occurrence.

The grand-daddy of them all, of course, is the Palm Springs International Film Festival, held every January.  But there are others, including the Palm Springs Film Noir Festival, the Palm Springs International Short Film Festival, and Cinema Diverse—The Palm Springs Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, which takes place each September.

I feel fortunate to live in an amazingly multi-cultural place like our beautiful desert, where all colors and stripes are equally welcome regardless of age, race, gender, religion, national origin, or sexual orientation.  And Cinema Diverse is just one more way to rejoice.  The four-day fest always features a wide range of shorts and features that include world and national premieres as well as recent festival winners.  I’ve been attending with an assortment of friends—a few LGBT, most not—since the event began in 2008, and we always have a blast.  (Don’t even get me started on the daily after-parties!)

I love that ticket sales support two worthy non-profits that greatly benefit our community—the Palm Springs Cultural Center, founded by Ric and Rozene Supple (who own the Camelot Theatres, where the films are screened), and the Human Rights Campaign.  Cinema Diverse 2011 is still going on as I write.  So it’s time to consult my daily planner and go sit in the dark all day to share cinema with a few hundred soon-to-no-longer-be-strangers! Until next time.