News in 2008

Freida Pinto to receive Breakthrough Award
2009 Palm Springs International Film Festival


PALM SPRINGS, CA (December 29, 2008) – The 20th Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) will honor Freida Pinto with the Breakthrough Award for her performance in Slumdog Millionaire from Fox Searchlight.  This is the final award to be announced for the Awards Gala, presented by Cartier, on Tuesday, January 6, 2009 at the Palm Springs Convention Center and will be hosted by "Entertainment Tonight's" Mary Hart.  The Festival is scheduled to be held January 6-19, 2009.

Festival chairman Harold Matzner said, "Slumdog Millionaire is one of the best films of 2008 and we're delighted to be able to present the Breakthrough Award to the extraordinary, beautiful Freida Pinto for her compelling, standout performance in the film."  Past recipients of the Breakthrough Award include Marion Cotillard, Jennifer Hudson and Felicity Huffman.

The Festival's annual Awards Gala, will honor previously announced honorees Clint Eastwood with the Career Achievement Award, Ron Howard with the Director's Lifetime Achievement Award, Dustin Hoffman with the Chairman's Award, Revolutionary Road with the Ensemble Performance Award, Sean Penn and Anne Hathaway with the Desert Palm Achievement Award for Acting, Amy Adams with the Spotlight Award, Dakota Fanning with the Rising Star Award, Gus Van Sant with the Sonny Bono Visionary Award and Alexandre Desplat with the Frederick Loewe Award for Film Composing.

Pinto stars in Slumdog Millionaire, the story of a young man who looks to become a contestant on the Hindi version of "Who Wants to be A Millionaire" in order to re-establish contact with the girl he loves, who is an ardent fan of the show.  The Fox Searchlight Pictures/Warner Bros. Pictures release is directed by Danny Boyle from a screenplay by Simon Beaufoy based on the novel Q & A by Vikas Swarup.  The cast includes Dev Patel, Anil Kapoor, Irrfan Khan, Madhur Mittal and Freida Pinto.

Freida Pinto graduated from St Xavier's College in Mumbai with a BA in English in 2005 and was signed up to the Elite Model Agency in India where she was selected for numerous campaigns for brands such as De Beers, Visa, MTV, Chanel, eBay and Airtel.  She has appeared on several TV shows including "Wendell Rodricks for Lakme Fashion Week 2006," "Sahara" and the History Channel.  She went on to anchor "Full Circle" on Zee International Asia Pacific, successfully completing 52 episodes where she presented a unique report on Afghanistan and explored the vibrant cultures and traditions of Fiji, Malaysia and Singapore among others.  Her role as Latika in Slumdog Millionaire is her first lead role in a feature film.

PSIFF, founded in 1990 by then Mayor Sonny Bono, is scheduled from January 6-19, 2009, screening 210 films from 73 countries.  The Festival presents a majority of the films submitted for consideration in the Best Foreign Language category for the Academy Awards, as well as a large number of American independent and international features and documentaries marking their world, North American or U.S. debuts.

The Festival's 20th Annual Awards Gala is presented by Cartier and sponsored by Mercedes Benz and Entertainment Tonight.  Renewing sponsors of this year's Festival are Title Sponsor, The City of Palm Springs and Presenting Sponsors, The Desert Sun, the City of Indian Wells, the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, Spencer's Restaurant, and Wessman Development.  Major Sponsors include Bank of America, Integrated Wealth Management, Guthy-Renker, Regal Entertainment, Wells Fargo, Palm Desert National Bank, KPSP, Ocean Properties Development, Ciroc, Johnnie Walker and Don Julio.