Palm Springs Film Fest Honors Van Sant, Penn

January 7, 2009
Hollywood temporarily moved to the desert last night for the opening of the 20th Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival. The star-studded event included the likes of Milk's Gus Van Sant and Sean Penn, both of whom were honored in the awards gala. Milk star Josh Brolin presented director Gus Van Sant with the Sonny Bono Visionary Award. And activist Cleve Jones, played by Emile Hirsch in Milk, presented the Desert Palm Achievement Award to Sean Penn. When accepting the statuette, Penn talked about his performance. “I was here last year,” he said. “Daniel Day-Lewis was here last year and when I saw what he did in that movie (‘There Will Be Blood'), boy, it's challenging. (I thought) ‘I'm going to have to work a little harder.' And I did work a little harder.”