The 2016 edition of Cinema Diverse: The Palm Springs LGBTQ Film Festival has a number of films with local connections, beginning with this year's opening night film, LAZY EYE. "Much of LAZY EYE was filmed at a house in the desert near Joshua Tree," said Michael C. Green, Festival Director. "In addition, much of the filming was actually being done last year during Cinema Diverse 2015. A couple of folks invited the filmmakers down to see some of our screenings but they were working really long days and couldn't take a break from their production schedule. Now, they're opening our Festival."
Another film, DIANE FROM THE MOON, which is one of this year's short film selections, was shot entirely in Palm Springs. Local viewers will recognize several locations along Palm Canyon Drive, and scenes which were filmed on several of the hiking trails around Palm Springs.
Other films, while not being filmed locally, nevertheless have local connections - either through local full or part-time filmmakers themselves or through their family members. This year's closing night film, STONEWALL: THE MOVEMENT, was created by historian Ron Williams, a Palm Springs resident, TWO SOFT THINGS, TWO HARD THINGS, a feature length documentary was made by Canadian filmmaker, Mark Kenneth Woods, whose family lives in La Quinta, the mother of POLITICAL ANIMALS filmmaker, Christopher Panizzon, lives in the Coachella Valley, and another filmmaker's in-laws live here. "It's really amazing to see all the local connections," Green continued. "And it's not only the filmmakers and their families. We also have writers, producers, executive producers and directors who live here. One executive producer has had a film featured in Cinema Diverse in at least four of the last film festivals. Generally,we don't even find out he's involved until after the film has been selected and we're gathering the names of guests who will be coming to the screenings."
Given the area's history with the film industry, and the proximity to Hollywood, it's no surprise that Cinema Diverse discovers so many local connections. "The owners of HERE TV, one of our sponsors, have a vacation home here in the valley" Green said. "And there are a number of LGBTQ film Distributors with local connections."