Last week we sent our guest blogger and fellow cinephile, Chad Austin, out to the Palm Springs International Film Festival to document his time, do film reviews, and report back to us.

In Chad’s final post for his guest blogger series on The CVAS for the Palm Springs International Film Festival 2013 he shares with us his overall experience and final thoughts.

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Running late, I showed up twenty minutes before the stat time of the screening for ‘Room 237’.  Walking up I saw a line that wrapped around the building like people were waiting for the tower of terror at Disneyland. The ticket taker asked me for my pass so I told him that I was press from the workshop earlier in the day, he escorted me right in past the line of people that had been waiting for over an hour in the cold and showed me to my seat in the back of the house. Next to me was the film critic from the Huffington Post, with about fifteen minutes to spare we began to chat about the films on our agenda and then moved on to the ever-growing popularity of the festival in my little town.

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The film festivals popularity hadn’t really sunk in until that moment because when I think of famous film festivals the first two that come to mind are Sundance and Cannes but he was absolutely right, as little as four years ago there wasn’t lines forming hours in advance you could walk up easily ten minutes before a screening started and walk-in.

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It’s like how Coachella took forever to sink in as a big deal because its right in my back yard but I’ve heard people talking about it being on their bucket list and that blew my mind.

There is something special about our small desert.

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Film Festivals are great because you’re not just sitting in a cinema with people that had nothing else to do on a Wednesday night so they go see whatever mindless blockbuster is playing down the street, you around surrounded my fellow cinephiles. People that hunt down these films and wait in lines just to see them with that being said I have been to a few different film festivals and it was this year while waiting in line for a few different screenings that I realized why my town is so special.

Everyone has their own little groups they go with but here in the lines where one group of friends ends and the other starts is hard to decipher. The wait times tend to fly by because there is a sense of community, locals giving tourist advice on where to eat after they have finished their schedule of films and tourists talking so passionately about their love for Palm Springs.

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People save each other spots in lines and offer to grab strangers a cup of coffee from across the street to take the edge off the cold weather, conversations range from the local eateries and attractions to in depth discussions on films from and outside the festival. Even as the line starts moving strangers keep conversing some even hit it off so well they decide to meet up after for a drink but once everyone takes their seats in the theater and get situated the rules of the cinema become priority over the new found friend.

     Overall and even more so nowadays I find the Palm Springs International Film Festival to be the most magical time of the year in our beautiful little town. I obviously could be considered biased because I would take a film fest over a music fest any day but if you happen to go and truly take the experience in as a whole and not just film by film you might be able to relate to what I am saying.

So I encourage you to set aside at least one day for next years festival to not only see a couple great films but also meet some great people while standing in line, go to a coffee shop and find your way into one of the many playful and sometimes heated debates going on around you, enjoy a nice dinner and then finally take in one of the nightly festival after parties.

If you do it right, you will make time for a second day or make it a yearly expedition to adventure your own stomping grounds with a different perspective.

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all photos and words by

Chad Austin

guest blogger for The Coachella Valley Art Scene

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