Steven Spielberg, Bill Nighy Acknowledge Film Festival Chairman Harold Matzner

The Palm Springs International Film Awards was a gala event to remember. Heralded by Deadline as “…a must-stop on the way to the [Oscars] in March”, the star-studded evening celebrated the best in cinematic performance and production. Many recipients and hosts- even Steven Spielberg!- had kind words to say about Festival Chairman Harold Matzner and the Palm Springs International Film Festival. Here are the highlights: 

“Thank you Harold Matzner and the entire team here in Palm Springs for honoring [The Fablemans] with the Vanguard Award. When you did that, you also honored my family, or should I say the family of my life and the family in my film. It’s starting to get a bit confusing now, but it’s so wonderful getting to be here.”

-Steven Spielberg, Vanguard Award

“I wish I had known that things were going to turn out like this, I would have arranged to be more cheerful in my early life… And a special thank you for Harold Matzner and for everybody associated with the Palm Springs Film Festival. Thank you!”

-Bill Nighy, International Star Award, Actor

PALM SPRINGS, CALIFORNIA – JANUARY 05: Bill Nighy, winner of the International Star Award, poses backstage during the 34th Annual Palm Springs International Film Awards at Palm Springs Convention Center on January 05, 2023 in Palm Springs, California. (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images for Palm Springs International Film Society)

“I cannot believe we’ve reached the end of this evening. I don’t know about you, but I had a ball! Congratulations, again, to our ten honorees this evening, and to the presenters who so graciously agreed to do the honoring. I want to give one last special shout-out to Festival Chairman, Harold Matzner. Harold, we wish you were here with us, but we know that in our hearts, you are right here tonight.”

-Nischelle Turner, Entertainment Tonight Awards Host

“It’s my honor to be here tonight and to speak on behalf of the Film Festival Chairman, Harold Matzner. It is my sincere pleasure to welcome you to the 34th Annual Palm Springs International Film Awards. Tonight is dedicated to celebrating the best in cinematic excellence. Last year, in January of 2022, 10 of our 11 honorees were nominated for Academy Awards. Four of those went on to win. And we know that tonight’s honorees will win even more.

Tonight’s gala has raised over $2.1 million dollars for our 501(c)3 non-profit. That’s $2.1 million dollars  to fund our cultural and educational programs. Thank you all for supporting these programs. “

-Gary Keith, Festival Director