Festival News

Nikki Blonsky To Receive Rising Star Award At 2008 Palm Springs International Film Festival Awards Gala

Steven Wilson / Ron Hofmann
BWR Public Relations
(310) 550-7776
swilson@bwr-la.com / rhofmann@bwr-la.com

David Lee
Palm Springs International Film Society
(760) 322-2930

PALM SPRINGS, CA ¬ The 2008 Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) will honor Nikki Blonsky with the Rising Star Award at the Festival’s annual Awards Gala. Festival chairman Earl Greenburg made the announcement at a private event at the historic Charlie Chaplin home of Patricia Barry in Beverly Hills, CA hosted by Festival board member Stephen Breimer. The Awards Gala will kick-off the 2008 Awards Season on Saturday, January 5, 2008 at the Palm Springs Convention Center, which will be hosted by “Entertainment Tonight’s” Mary Hart. Now in its 19th year, the Festival will be held January 3-14, 2008.

Blonsky will be honored along with previously announced honorees Emile Hirsch with the Rising Star Award Male and Marion Cotillard for Breakthrough Performance Award. Commenting on the selection, Greenburg said, “Nikki Blonsky gives a truly outstanding performance in her first big screen role as Tracy Turnblad in Hairspray, which we’re excited to recognize at this year’s event.” Past recipients of the Rising Star Award include Scarlett Johansson, Jessica Biel, Bryce Dallas Howard and Adam Beach.

Blonsky stars along with John Travolta, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Zac Efron in New Line Cinema’s Hairspray, a remake of the 1988 film about a dancing obsessed teenager that lets the city of Baltimore know that being bigger is beautiful. Director Adam Shankman incorporates vibrant costume, an award-winning cast, and a musical-type feel to create a film that gives the Broadway version justice. Blonsky’s character, Tracy lands a dancing spot on the hip “Corney Collins Show,” where she finds her true love Link and worst enemy Amber Von Tussle. The show becomes her outlet to preach about integration and show the world that being different is not necessarily a bad thing.

Blonsky will follow her performance in Hairspray with the recently finished production Harold starring Cuba Gooding Jr., Ally Sheedy and Spencer Breslin.

Hairspray marks the professional debut of eighteen-year-old Nikki Blonsky. She quit her day job scooping ice cream at the local Cold Stone Creamery in Great Neck in June when she found out she had won the role of Tracy Turnblad. Nikki was born and raised Long Island, New York. Although she graduated from the Great Neck Village School in January, 2006, she received all her dramatic and musical training at Great Neck South High School, which is a four-time Grammy Foundation Signature School.

Nikki’s high school performing credits include ‘Madame Tanardeau’ in Les Miserables, ‘Mrs. Lovett’ in Sweeney Todd, ‘Kate’ in Kiss Me, Kate, ‘Rebecca Hillicker’ in The Laramie Project and the title role in Bizet’s Carmen, which was performed entirely in French.

She has sung for many organizations and events in and around the Long Island, New York area, including an original song for 2002 Olympic gold medalist figure skater Sarah Hughes’ homecoming parade in Great Neck. Nikki is a regular volunteer and supporter of the Special Olympics. She still lives in Great Neck with her parents, Karen and Carl, her twelve-year-old brother, Joey, her Uncle Steve and her pug, Rocky.

Founded in 1990 by then Mayor Sonny Bono, 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 Festival also features cultural events, filmmaker tributes, industry seminars and an annual black-tie gala award presentation.

Renewing their support of this year’s Festival is Title Sponsor, The City of Palm Springs and Presenting Sponsors, Spencer’s Restaurant, The Desert Sun, the City of Indian Wells, the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians and Wessman Development. Major sponsors include Integrated Wealth Management, Entertainment Tonight, Regal Entertainment and Wells Fargo.

The 19th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival, scheduled from January 3-14, 2008, will feature a line up of more than 230 films from 65 countries, seminars, special events and Gala receptions. For additional information call 760-322-2930 or 800-898- 7256 or www.psfilmfest.org.

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