19th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival
This fest seems to gain a little more wallop each year. For 2008, there are more than 230 films from more than 70 countries, plus tributes, Q&As with filmmakers and gala celebrations. Among highlights: an outdoor singalong screening of "Hairspray" (lyrics will be provided in subtitles).
When, where: Jan. 3 to 14 at various Palm Springs venues.
Cost: Individual screening tickets cost $9 or $10, screening passes from $275 to $2,000, a "Reel Deal Six Pack" (six tickets for the price of five) is $45 (available only until Jan. 3), gala tickets from $40 to $15,000.
Info: (800) 898-7256, www.psfilmfest. The website will have a complete list of films and events beginning Dec. 26.
Berlin & Beyond Film Festival
February's Berlin film festival may be one of the top such events in Europe, but we get a taste of that happening with Berlin & Beyond, a San Francisco film fest with new movies and classics from Germany, Switzerland and Austria. The festival opener is Christian Petzold's thriller "Yella"; the closer is Bavarian filmmaker Marcus Rosenmüller's comedy "Grave Decisions."
When, where: Jan. 10 to 16 at the Castro Theatre, 429 Castro St., San Francisco, and the Goethe-Institut, 520 Bush St., San Francisco; and Jan. 19 at the Point Arena Theatre, Highway 1 in Point Arena.
Cost: $10 for individual films, $12 for silent films, $10 for panel discussion.
Info: (415) 263-8760 or www.berlinandbeyond.com.
South Beach Comedy Festival
The annual fest goes straight for the belly laughs with a lineup including Kathy Griffin, Louis C.K. and Susie Essman ("Curb Your Enthusiasm"), Spanish-language comedians Andres Lopez and "Despierta, América" host Raul Gonzalez, plus an assortment of up-and-comers and unknowns.
When, where: Jan. 16 to 19 at various venues in Miami Beach.
Cost: Free to $67.50.