The 2011 Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) has unveiled its inaugural African Cinema programme as well as films in competition.

The festival will also screen 40 of the 65 official foreign language Academy Award submissions and will announce its complete line-up next week.

“Our African films showcase reflects our delight at the discovery of a vital new arena in world film-making, with the emergence of a large number of bold new talents and singular stories from a continent that has not previously been known for its wealth of cinematic storytelling,” festival director Darryl Macdonald said.

“And while our competitive juried sections allow us to single out films we feel are worthy of particular merit or distinction among the festival selections this year, the audience awards allow filmgoers to vote for their own favorite films on view at the festival, giving all of these films an extra boost towards broader distribution in the US.”

 “In addition to presenting the biggest selection of foreign language Oscar submissions of any festival, we are shining the spotlight on some dynamic emerging filmmakers,” director of programming Helen du Toit said. “Our New Voices-New Visions Showcase for first narrative features and the John Schlesinger Award for best first documentary feature are two distinctive ways that the festival will be identifying exciting new talent who are stretching boundaries and forging new ground in narrative and non-fiction storytelling.”

Cinema Safari: A Showcase of African Cinema
The section will premiere 12 new films made in Africa or reflecting contemporary African stories and themes. In the worlds of PSIFF programmers, “The showcase reflects the dramatic upsurge of film production across the African continent and the concurrent emergence of exciting new filmmaking talents throughout the region.”

Africa United (UK-South Africa-Rwanda) directed by Debs Gardner-Paterson
The Athlete (Ethiopa-Germany-US) directed by Davey Frankel and Rasselas Lakew
Desert Flower (UK-Germany-Austria) directed by Sherry Hormann
I Am Slave (UK) directed by Gabriel Range
Imani (Uganda-Sweden) directed by Caroline Kamya
Kinshasa Symphony (Germany) directed by Claus Wischmann
The Last Lions (US-Botswana)
The Lazarus Effect (US) directed by Lance Bangs
Life Above All ( South Africa-Germany) directed by Oliver Schmitz
Reconciliation: Mandela’s Miracle (US-South Africa) directed by Michael Henry Wilson
A Screaming Man (pictured, Chad-France-Belgium) directed by Mahamat-Saleh Haroun
Soul Boy (Kenya-Germany) directed by Hawa Essuman.

Foreign language films in the Awards Buzz strand include Carancho (Argentina), Aftershock (China), Of Gods And Men (France), When We Leave (Germany), PeepliLive(India), Son Of Babylon (Iraq), The Light Thief (Kyrgyzstan), If I Want To Whistle, I Whistle (Romania), The Edge (Russia), Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (Thailand) and Honey (Turkey).

The New Voices-New Visions selection is: 40 (Turkey), The Albanian (Germany-Albania), As if I Am Not There(Ireland-Macedonia-Sweden), Beyond (Sweden-Finland), Black Field (Greece), Eighteen Years Later (Italy), Hello!  How Are You? (Romania-Spain-Italy), Nothing’s All Bad (Denmark), Oxygen (Belgium-Netherlands), PaperBirds(Spain), Sound Of Noise (Sweden-France) and SquareMeter (Chile).

Films competing for the John Schlesinger Award honouring outstanding first-time documentaries are: The Arbor(UK), Autumn Gold (Austria-Germany), Bill Cunningham New York (US), David Wants To Fly (Germany-Austria-Switzerland), Garbo: The Spy (Spain), In The Garden Of Sounds (Switzerland), The Pipe (Ireland), PreciousLife(Israel-US), Steam Of Life (Finland) and Summer Pasture (China-Tibet-US).

For further details visit the official website.