The festival, presented by Fistful of Bourbon, will be held the last weekend of May (May 27-29) in Pioneertown, just northwest of Joshua Tree, originally built by Roy Rogers and Gene Autry in the 1940s as an Old West movie set. Intended for the true cinephile and experience-seeker alike, the Pioneertown International Film Festival will be repurposing the original buildings, sound stages and surrounding ranches built in the 1940s by Roy Rogers and friends as a living, breathing motion picture Western set.

Julian T Pinder, Founder of the PTIFF, a seasoned director himself and Pioneertown rancher, had a dream to develop a film festival that was both cinematically high-caliber and at the same time, an experiential celebration of the historic town and the Western film genre that it was a part of. To this end, he brought on Todd Luoto, formerly of the Sundance, CineVegas, and Silver Lake Film Festivals. Designed to be a 3-day immersive experience celebrating the Western genre and independent cinema, the Pioneertown International Film Festival will be featuring an Opening Night performance by The Dandy Warhols, presenting premieres, restored Paramount classics, anniversary screenings of classics such as City Slickers (with director Ron Underwood presenting), legendary actors and filmmakers in attendance, live bands, masterclasses, events, and much more. A special presentation titled Stupid F*cking White Man: The Indigenous Image in Westerns is being hosted by programmer and filmmaker Adam Piron (Kiowa/ Mohawk), Associate Director of the Sundance Indigenous Program, and joined by the creator of FX’s Reservation Dogs Sterlin Harjo (Seminole/ Muscogee [Creek]) as they discuss the legacy of Jim Jarmusch’s Western Dead Man.

The opening night features a live performance by The Dandy Warhols, and the world premiere of the Jason Momoa-produced Western, The Last Manhunt, shot locally. There will be a live podcast recording throughout the festival of Joe Dante (The Burbs, Gremlins) and Josh Olson’s (A History of Violence) hit podcast The Movies That Made Me. The closing night features a live performance by the Sons of the Pioneers.

The mission of the festival is not just to screen the inspiring work of classic and neo-Westerns, but also to provide a wide range of immersive experiences centered around the American culture of the west: finely curated film screenings, masterclasses, live music, and screenings under the stars will transport you to the heart of the American frontier.

Fans of Western movies, independent cinema, and the High Desert, there’s an exciting new event to add to your calendars


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