CBS Films’ recent Toronto acquisition of Lasse Halstrom’s crowd-pleaser will open the 23rd Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) on Jan 5 and Yasemin Samdereli’s Almanya, Welcome To Germany will close the event on Jan 16.

Steven Soderbergh’s Haywire starring Gina Carano, Michael Fassbender, Ewan McGregor and Channing Tatum is the special presentation and the Modern Masters strand features work from the likes of Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, Chen Kaige, Nanni Moretti, Pawel Pawlikowski and Lynne Ramsay.

All in all the festival will screen 187 films from 73 countries, including 60 premieres. The two world premieres are If I Were You starring Marcia Gay Harden and Aidan Quinn and A Thousand Cuts with Michael O’Keefe.

North American premieres include Beast (Denmark), Happy New Year, Grandma! (Spain), Hotel Lux (Germany), How Big Is Your Love (Algeria-Morocco) and Women With Cows (Sweden).

“It’s a wide ranging line-up of highly accomplished and often provocative new films, coupled with an expanded archival section,” festival director Darryl Macdonald said. “I’m particularly delighted to be opening the festival with the US debut of Lasse Hallstrom’s hugely engaging crowd-pleaser, Salmon Fishing In The Yemen – the work of a master filmmaker, an Oscar-winning screenwriter [Simon Beaufoy] and a celebrated cast [Ewan McGregor and Emily Blunt].”

“For the first time ever we are closing with a German comedy – and it is pitch perfect!” artistic director Helen du Toit said. “The German arthouse hit of the year, Yasemin Samdereli’s Almanya, Welcome To Germany marks the arrival of an exciting new voice. In fact the festival is positively bursting with the work of emerging filmmakers this year – more than a third of the films are first features, representing the programming team’s commitment to showcasing new talent.”