CYNTHIA ERIVO TO RECEIVE BREAKTHROUGH PERFORMANCE AWARD AT 31st ANNUAL PALM SPRINGS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL FILM AWARDS GALA

Palm Springs, CA (December 20, 2019) – The 31st annual Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) will present Cynthia Erivo with the Breakthrough Performance Award at its annual Film Awards Gala. The event, presented by American Express, sponsored by AT&T and Entertainment Tonight and hosted by Mary Hart, is scheduled for Thursday, January 2 at the Palm Springs Convention Center. The festival runs January 2-13, 2020.  

“Cynthia Erivo has been a sensation in her theatrical performances and now audiences are getting to experience her on the big screen. In Harriet, she fully embodies and brings to life the tale of Harriet Tubman, whose courage saved herself and many others from a life of slavery,” said Festival Chairman Harold Matzner. “She is a star on the rise and for her portrayal that has garnered much critical acclaim and has received several award nominations it is our honor to present her with the Breakthrough Performance Award.”

Past recipients of the Breakthrough Performance Award include Mahershala Ali, Mary J. Blige, Marion Cotillard, Jennifer Hudson, Felicity Huffman, Brie Larson, Rami Malek, Lupita Nyong’o, David Oyelowo, Rosamund Pike and Jeremy Renner.  In the years they were honored, Ali, Cotillard, Hudson, Larson, Malek and Nyong’o went on to receive Academy Awards®, while Blige, Huffman, Pike and Renner received nominations.  

Erivo joins this year’s previously announced honorees Antonio Banderas (International Star Award, Actor), Laura Dern (Career Achievement Award), Zack Gottsagen (Rising Star Award), Jennifer Lopez (Spotlight Award), Joaquin Phoenix (Chairman’s Award), Martin Scorsese (Sonny Bono Visionary Award), Charlize Theron (International Star Award, Actress) and Renée Zellweger (Desert Palm Achievement Award, Actress). 

Based on the thrilling and inspirational life of an iconic American freedom fighter, Harriet tells the extraordinary tale of Harriet Tubman’s escape from slavery and transformation into one of America’s greatest heroes. Her courage, ingenuity and tenacity freed hundreds of slaves and changed the course of history. The film from Focus Features is directed by Kasi Lemmons. For her role in the film, Erivo has received two Golden Globe® award nominations for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama and Best Original Song, two Critics’ Choice award nominations for Best Actress and Best Original Song, and most recently, a Screen Actors Guild® award nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role.

Cynthia Erivo is a Tony®, Emmy® and Grammy® Award-winning actress who burst onto West End and Broadway stages in The Color Purple and has taken the big screen by storm. In 2018, Erivo made her film debut Bad Times at the El Royale, and also starred, Widows. She rounded out the year with a 2019 BAFTA EE Rising Star Award nomination for her exceptional work in film and on stage. Her upcoming film credits include the sci-fi thriller Chaos Walking, from director Doug Liman, John Ridley’s Needle in a Timestack and the musical take on the American folk tale of Rip Van Winkle. On the television side, 

Erivo will star in her first television project, the HBO series “The Outsider,” based on the Stephen King novel of the same name. The series will premiere on Sunday, January 12th. She is currently in production as Aretha Franklin in the next installment of the Emmy-winning global anthology series “Genius: Aretha.” This upcoming season will be the first-ever, definitive and only authorized scripted limited series on the life of the universally acclaimed Queen of Soul set for a spring 2020 premiere on National Geographic channels in 172 countries and 43 languages.

About The Palm Springs International Film Festival

The Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) is one of the largest film festivals in North America, welcoming 136,000 attendees last year for its lineup of new and celebrated international features and documentaries. The Festival is also known for its annual Film Awards Gala, a glamorous, black-tie event attended by 2,500, presented this year by American Express and sponsored by AT&T and Entertainment Tonight. The Film Awards Gala honors the year’s best achievements in cinema in front of and behind the camera. The celebrated list of talents who have been honored in recent years includes Javier Bardem, Cate Blanchett, Mary J. Blige, Sandra Bullock, Jessica Chastain, George Clooney, Bradley Cooper, Daniel Day-Lewis, Leonardo DiCaprio, Clint Eastwood, Gal Gadot, Tom Hanks, Nicole Kidman, Regina King, Rami Malek, Matthew McConaughey, Julianne Moore, Gary Oldman, Brad Pitt, Eddie Redmayne, Julia Roberts, Saoirse Ronan, Meryl Streep, Charlize Theron and Reese Witherspoon. Call 760-969-7533 for Gala tickets or tables, 760-778-8979 or 800-898-7256 for Film Festival information or visit www.psfilmfest.org.

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