Francois Ozon’s French farce Potiche starring Catherine Deneuve and Gerard Depardieu and Justin Chadwick’s UK drama The First Grader bookend the 2011 Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF), set to run from January 6-17.

World premieres in the Premieres strand include James Gandolfini and Famke Janssen in Down The Shore (US), Jeremy Irons narrating the documentary The Last Lions (Botswana) and Terrence Howard and Josh Lucas in Little Murder (US).

North American premieres include Noomi Rapace in Beyond (Sweden-Finland), Depardieu and Isabelle Adjani in Mammuth (France) and SimpleSimon (Sweden).

The two galas are Peter Weir’s adventure TheWay Back and Max Winkler’s comedy Ceremony, while the Gay!La’s are Italy’s Loose Cannons and Leading Ladies from the US.

The special presentations are TheHedgehog (France), RoadTo Nowhere (US) and Small Town Murder Songs(Canada).

“Our film line-up is particularly strong this year, highlighting a bracing blend of established and newly emerging talents, as well as a wealth of provocative new work springing from nascent international film production hubs,” festival director Darryl Macdonald said.

“There’s a notable emphasis on personal vision, rather than films that utilise genre conventions or stereotyped characters.  I’m particularly delighted that we have the opportunity to launch the festival with a broadly accessible comedy directed by Francois Ozon and starring established French talents Catherine Deneuve and Gerard Depardieu.”

“We are thrilled that our festival is bookended by two great crowd pleasers: the hit comedy Poticheand closing with Justin Chadwick’s heartwarming film TheFirst Grader – an ideal wrap to our special focus on Africa this year,” director of programming Helen du Toit said.

“The gala and special presentation sections are marked by two exciting emerging directors Mona Achache (The Hedgehog) and Ed Gass-Donnelly’s (Small Town Murder Songs) as well as established masters like Peter Weir (The Way Back), and the return of celebrated cult director Monte Hellman (Road To Nowhere) who will receive the festival’s Maverick Award.”

Overall 193 films from 68 countries, including 59 premieres will screen. For full line-up visit the official website.

Yesterday the festival added Ben Affleck and Danny Boyle to its honours roster. The Town director Affleck will receive the Chairman’s Award and 127 Hours director Boyle will collect the Sonny Bono Visionary Award.