Sixty-nine world and US premieresare among a line-up of 200 films from 60 countries that will play at the 15thPalm Springs International Film Festival, which runs from Jan 8-19.

The festival opens with TimBurton's father-son drama Big Fishand closes with the US premiere of John Irvin's musical comedy The Boys FromCounty Claire on Jan 18.

Other highlights include theOscar Buzz section, which corrals 52 of the 56 submissions for the best foreignlanguage Academy Award, a selection of the leading documentary Oscar contendersand animated features, 44 films under the IberoAmerican Currents programme andthe World Cinema Now and Documentary categories.

Galas screenings include CJay Cox's romantic comedy Latter Days (USA), Yann Samuell's darkly playful romance Love Me If You Dare (France), Charles Martin Smith's survival drama TheSnow Walker (Canada) and He Ping'shit Western-style adventure Warriors Of Heaven And Earth (China). The World Cinema Now programme includes theUS premiere of the entire Infernal Affairs crime thriller trilogy, directed by Hong Kong's Andrew Lau and AlanMak.

Among the 52 foreignlanguage titles and Oscar hopefuls that will compete for the internationalcritics' FIPRESCI prize are Siddiq Barmak's Taliban drama Osama (Afghanistan), Wolfgang Becker's comedy hit GoodbyeLenin (Germany), GabrieleSalvatores' coming-of-age mystery I'm Not Scared (Italy), Byambasruen Davaa and Luigi Falorni'sdrama-documentary The Story Of The Weeping Camel(Mongolia) and Fabrizio Aguilar's meditation on terrorism, Paper Dove (Peru).

Oscar Buzz documentariesreflect a very strong year for the non-fiction form, including Andrew Jarecki'schronicle of paedophilia and family collapse in Capturing The Friedmans, Errol Morris' Robert McNamara confessional TheFog Of War, Jonathan Demme's accountof Haitian civil rights leader Jean Dominique in The Agronomist, Felipe Lacerda and Jose Padilha's Brazilian hostagedrama Bus 174 and Peter Hegedus'Australian environmental saga The Inheritance: A Fisherman's Story.

Films screening in the NewVoices/New Vision programme include Damian Szifron's The Bottom Of The Sea (Argentina/Spain), Manish Jha's A Nation WithoutWomen (India), Jose HenriqueFonseca's The Man Of The Year(Brazil), Sarah Gavron's This Little Life (UK) and Gilles Marchand's Who Killed Bambi (France).

The festival will alsoscreen 28 French films curated with the help of new festival programmer andformer artistic director of the Cannes Film Festival Director's FortnightMarie-Pierre Macia, among them 12 US premieres including Tonie Marshall'scomedy France Boutique, PhilippeLe Guay's series of intertwined tales in The Cost Of Living, and Samuel Benchetit's Janis and John, starring the late Marie Trintignant.

"We strived to createprogrammes that reflect the current and best trends in cinema from around theworld," festival director of programming Carl Spence said in a statement. "Wefeel that these programmes will feature the most talked about films in theindustry, especially those from the IberoAmerican programme, which showcasessome of the best work coming out of Latin Cinema."

"This year's festivalline-up further cements the festival's reputation as one of the preeminentvenues to explore new talents and trends in film-making from around the world,"added executive director Darryl Macdonald.

"With the addition of someexciting new programming initiatives, a very user-friendly guest servicesset-up for attending industry and film-makers and Palm Springs' well-earnedreputation as a desirable resort getaway in the middle of winter, I lookforward to hosting a banner edition of the event this year."

As previously announcedhere, Big Fish producer Richard DZanuck will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award for Producing and DannyElfman, who composed the score for the film, will collect the Frederick LoeweAward for Career Achievement in Film Composing.