The 20th Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival will honor Freida Pinto with the Breakthrough Performance Award for her performance in Slumdog Millionaire from Fox Searchlight. The festival is presented by Cartier, on Tuesday, January 6, 2009 at the Palm Springs Convention Center and will be hosted by “Entertainment Tonight’s” Mary Hart. The Festival runs January 6-19, 2009.
Festival chairman Harold Matzner said, “Slumdog Millionaire is one of the best films of 2008 and we’re delighted to be able to present the Breakthrough Performance Award to the extraordinary beautiful Freida Pinto for her compelling, standout performance in the film.” Past recipients of the Breakthrough Award include Marion Cotillard, Jennifer Hudson and Felicity Huffman.
Pinto stars in Slumdog Millionaire, the story of a young man who looks to become a contestant on the Hindi version of “Who Wants to be A Millionaire” in order to re-establish contact with the girl he loves, who is an ardent fan of the show. The Fox Searchlight Pictures/Warner Bros. Pictures release is directed by Danny Boyle from a screenplay by Simon Beaufoy based on the novel Q & A by Vikas Swarup. The cast includes Dev Patel, Anil Kapoor, Irrfan Khan, Madhur Mittal and Freida Pinto.
Freida Pinto graduated from St Xavier’s College in Mumbai with a BA in English in 2005 and was signed up to the Elite Model Agency in India where she was selected for numerous campaigns for brands such as De Beers, Visa, MTV, Chanel, eBay and Airtel. She has appeared on several TV shows including “Wendell Rodricks for Lakme Fashion Week 2006,” “Sahara” and the History Channel. She went on to anchor “Full Circle” on Zee International Asia Pacific, successfully completing 52 episodes where she presented a unique report on Afghanistan and explored the vibrant cultures and traditions of Fiji, Malaysia and Singapore among others. Her role as Latika in Slumdog Millionaire is her first lead role in a feature film.
The Festival’s annual Awards Gala, will honor previously announced honorees Clint Eastwood with the Career Achievement Award, Ron Howard with the Director’s Lifetime Achievement Award, Dustin Hoffman with the Chairman’s Award, Revolutionary Road with the Ensemble Performance Award, Sean Penn and Anne Hathaway with the Desert Palm Achievement Award for Acting, Amy Adams with the Spotlight Award, Dakota Fanning with the Rising Star Award, Gus Van Sant with the Sonny Bono Visionary Award and Alexandre Desplat with the Frederick Loewe Award for Film Composing.
PSIFF, founded in 1990 by then Mayor Sonny Bono, is scheduled from January 6-19, 2009, screening 210 films from 73 countries. The Festival presents a majority of the films submitted for consideration in the Best Foreign Language category for the Academy Awards®, as well as a large number of American independent and international features and documentaries marking their world, North American or U.S. debuts.