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George Christy Talks About Sonny Bono, The Palms Springs International Film Festival, Melissa McCarthy and more!

Regina King was a fashion stand out during the 30th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival Film Awards Gala at Palm Springs Convention Center
Emma Stone
Gary Oldman with wife Gisele Schmidt
Glenn Close

Posted Thursday, January 17, 2019 - 4:55 pm

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Determination, above all!

Sonny Bono relocated with his wife Mary to Palm Springs, determined to open a restaurant.

The idea was rejected by the city fathers, and he was bewildered and disappointed. 

Nonetheless, his bold determination forged him to open his Italian eatery, Bono’s Restaurant, in 1985. Attracting the affluent locals and the flow of tourists, Bono’s became the talk of the town.

Three years later, he was voted mayor.

Determined to bring revenue to the city, he explored the likelihood of creating a film festival for the desert empire.

After rounding up financial supporters and influential filmmakers, he was given the green light to go forward.

The first year was an immediate success with an audience of 17,000 filmgoers, generating major press coverage.

Five years later, the festival drew a whopping 42,000 filmgoers, bringing rewards to the restaurants, shops and businesses for the Palm Springs community. 

Like Jack and his Bean Stalk, the Festival grew and grew, and today it attracts a phenomenal 200,000 fans.

The proximity of the powerful creators and producers, along with the celebrities, who reside in Hollywood, was an apparent natural for the Festival to become an overwhelming success.

Today, it has come of age. In it’s third decade, The Palm Springs International Film Festival is among the most popular festivals in America. With its world-wide media coverage, the Festival brings together major stars for its acclaimed scheduling of films with breadth and scope.

Let us remember those visionary words from Sonny Bono, who predicted: “I feel certain that this annual event will continue to prosper, grow and take its place among the most significant international film festivals, marking another milestone in the cultural life, progress, and prestige of our city. I have dedicated myself and this office to exploring new ways to enhance our city’s excellence and quality. The Festival is part of our expanding vision for the future.”

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