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2009 Palm Springs International Film Festival to Present Documentaries Highlighting Icons of Architecture and Modernism
Independent Films Explore the Legacies of Architect John Lautner and Photographer Julius Shulman By Leslie Feibleman

The 2009 Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) will celebrate its 20th Anniversary with a red-carpet celebrity awards gala, special events, seminars, receptions and an impressive lineup of 209 films from 73 countries and a total of 83 premieres (14 World, 49 U.S. and 20 North American). 50 of the 67 films submitted for consideration in the Best Foreign Language Film category for the Academy Awards will be screened at this year's Festival. Film screenings and special events will take place during the run of the Festival January 8-19, 2009 throughout the city of Palm Springs, California.

Films highlighting icons of architecture, photography and modernism will play as part of the Festival s non-fiction program True Stories. The Festival will present two documentaries spotlighting celebrated 20th century legends of the architectural world, whose achievements have influenced, intrigued and inspired a multitude of designers, curators, artists, historians, Hollywood celebrities and independent filmmakers. Infinite Space: The Architecture of John Lautner and Visual Acoustics: The Modernism of Julius Shulman offer (respectively) in-depth portrayals of world-renown maverick architect John Lautner and the world's preeminent architecture photographer Julius Shulman, two visionaries who have shaped the Southern California architectural landscape and have helped define the architectural mid-century modernism movement in Palm Springs.

Infinite Space: The Architecture of John Lautner (USA, 2009, 90 min) will make its World Premiere at the 2009 PSIFF. Directed by renowned architectural filmmaker Murray Grigor, the film traces the lifelong quest of visionary genius John Lautner to create "architecture that has no beginning and no end." It is the story of brilliance and of a complicated life--and the most sensual architecture of the 20th century. The film features Frank Escher, Frank Gehry, Karol Lautner Peterson and Sean Connery. After breaking away from his mentor Frank Lloyd Wright, Lautner headed west to California to forge his own architecture and soon emerged as one of the 20th century's most important contemporary architects.

Original drawings and historical photographs from the John Lautner Archives at the Getty Museum are interwoven with the artistic photography of seminal buildings, bringing to life Lautner's quest to create timeless space. Lautner practiced architecture for over 55 years, designing unusual and unique residences in and around Los Angeles. Notable projects include Silvertop, the Chemosphere, the Sheats/Goldstein residence, the Levy residence, and the Elrod residence in Palm Springs, CA.

Kaufmann House: Richard Neutra, 1947 (copyright J.Paul Getty Trust)

Eric Bricker's directorial debut Visual Acoustics: The Modernism of Julius Shulman (USA, 2008, 84 min) examines the monumental eight decade career of 98-year-old revolutionary architectural photographer Julius Shulman. Narrated by Dustin Hoffman, the film explores both Shulman's art and uniquely individualistic life offering a lyrical portrait of modernism's most eloquent ambassador. Shulman's images helped to shape the careers of some of the greatest architects of the 20th century, including Frank Lloyd Wright, Richard Neutra, John Lautner, Rudolph Schindler and Pierre Koenig.

"The inspiration for the film came from both the photographs and Julius.  In regards to the photos, they are extremely expressive and cinematic and I believed they were worthy of big screen "real estate."  As for Julius, he is such an extraordinary individual and I wanted as many people as possible to have the opportunity to get to know him," stated director Eric Bricker, who also co-wrote and co-produced the film, which recently won the Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature at the 2008 Austin Film Festival.

With its aesthetic cues taken from Shulman's own sensual and nuanced photography, the film's narrative blends Shulman's own images with compelling in depth interviews with architect Frank Gehry, designer Tom Ford, artist Ed Ruscha, actress Kelly Lynch and writer Mitch Glazer, publisher Benedikt Taschen, Academy Award - nominated cinematographer Dante Spinotti, and a host of others. Featured in the film are several landmark houses including the Palm Springs Kaufmann House.

In conjunction with the PSIFF screening of Visual Acoustics: The Modernism of Julius Shulman on Saturday, January 10, the California Preservation Foundation is hosting An Evening with Julius Shulman at the Kaufmann House. Last year, the Palm Springs Modern Committee honored Shulman with the 2008 Lifetime Achievement Award for his artistic vision and legacy of breathtaking photographs that have preserved the Coachella Valley's rich architectural history.

Founded in 1990 by then Mayor Sonny Bono, and presented by the Palm Springs International Film Society, the PSIFF is one of the largest film festivals in North America.  The Festival has an attractive film sales and distribution record and is seen by American distributors as one of the best Academy Award campaign marketing tools.  The black tie Awards Show Gala is covered by every national entertainment TV show and network, and last year more than 1,400 daily newspapers.  The Festival also features cultural events, filmmaker tributes, industry seminars and an annual black-tie gala award presentation. For additional information, visit  or call the Festival headquarters at (760) 322-2930 or (800) 898-7256.

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Based in Orange County, California, Leslie Feibleman is a freelance arts writer and the director of special programs and the senior film programmer at the Newport Beach Film Festival and the Orange County Film Society. Leslie is the curator of the Art, Architecture + Design Film Series and the director of the Action Sports Film Series film programming at the Festival. Leslie oversees the Festivals family, youth, film education and outreach programs and specializes in organizing community cultural cinema programs. Leslie is the co-creator and curator of the Cinema Orange film series at the Orange County Museum of Art and the Cinema Sage Hill film series at The Studio at Sage Hill. Leslie also works as the marketing director for the celebrity, culinary venture, The Hollywood Cookbook: Cooking for Causes. Leslie holds a BA degree in Architecture from the University of California, Berkeley and has over ten years experience in design, 3D CAD and project management.


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