Jan 7, 2013


Photo Credit: Getty Images

The Palm Springs film festival is underway, transforming the resort town into a mecca for film lovers from January 3-14th. This weekend the Variety Indie Impact Brunch presented by Mercedes Benz was held to honor “10 Directors to Watch”, spotlighting the most exciting new talents in the field of directing.

The event was held this Sunday at the Parker Palm Springs and honored Director David O. Russell  with the Variety Indie Impact Award given to a filmmaker for his/her outstanding contributions to the art and business of cinema. The award was presented by Mercedes-Benz from Bradley Cooper, who choked up when presenting him with the orange glass sculpture. The award was designed by renowned artist Dale Chihuhy who was also in attendance.

When presenting the award Cooper said, “We shot Silver Linings Playbook in 33 days. Many directors would be hospitalized upon just hearing the schedule but David teaches what such a way can do for the telling of the story.” He continued, “He has turned the independent model of film – that usually means less money, less days to shoot- and he made it part of his artistry.”

Equally touching were David O’Russell’s own words about this passion project. Known for The Fighter, most fans of his work were unaware that he was trying to get Silver Linings Playbook off the ground for more than five years. He wanted to make this film for his son- afflicted by mood disorders and bipolarity. “Five years ago, I was looking for a film that could tell his story and give him hope and make him feel part of the world…But God had another plan. I had to make The Fighter and good things came from that, that I never would have imagined.” In regard to his son, “He’s had many difficult and troubling episodes over his life. He’s inspired me and I can thank him for this film. That’s my silver lining.”

He also went on to discuss the importance of independent filmmaking, getting laughs and nods of agreement from the crowd regarding his early days, ““I had three jobs. I taught a SAT class to high school students, I was a bartender, and I worked in an office. I used all their stuff to help make my short movies.”

The ceremony’s attendees included other directors from the “10 Directors to Watch List”:  Haifaa Al-Mansour (“Wadjda”); Wayne Blair (‘The Sapphires”); Jon Lucas & Scott Moore (“21 and Over”); David Ondricek (“In the Shadow”);  Joachim Rønning & Espen Sandberg (“Kon-Tiki”); and Rebecca Thomas (“Electrick Children”). Other guests included: Eddie Redmayne and Tom Hooper (Les Miserables), Fred Williamson, John Hawkes (The Sessions), Steve Gaydos (Variety), Michelle Sobrino (Variety), Darryl Macdonald (Festival Director), Helen du Toit (Artistic Director) and Harold Matzner (Festival Chairman).

This year’s “10 Directors to Watch” includes five with films at Palm Springs International Film Festival: “Electrick Children,” “A Hijacking,” “In the Shadow,” “Kon-Tiki” and “The Sapphires”. For more information on screening these films