Originally founded in 1996, The Palm Beach International Film Festival was the brainchild of local business and civic leaders who felt a film festival would offer an exciting cultural venue for the community, be a tremendous fundraiser for film and television education, and provide an excellent opportunity to introduce filmmakers to the area’s resources.

In 2003 Palm Beach International Film Festival became a “Competitive” Festival, joining the ranks of other great film events such as Sundance, Cannes, Toronto, and Venice. In 2014 The Palm Beach International Film Festival, in a first-ever collaboration of its kind, joined forces with the world-renowned Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) to present a spotlight on Canadian films.

The Palm Beach International Film Festival was the launching pad for the #1 most profitable movie of all time, Joel Zwick’s My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Following its world premiere at the 2002 festival, the film took in worldwide gross revenue of $369 million on a $6 million budget, giving it a return on investment of 6150%. Rick McKay’s Broadway: The Golden Age debuted at The Palm Beach International Film Festival in 2003 and won the Audience Choice Award for Best Documentary Feature. It went on to become the hit documentary of the 2003-2004 festival circuit, garnering a Television Critics Association Awards nomination and the New York Film Critics Online award for Best Documentary. More recently, John Wager’s Comedy Warriors: Healing Through Humor, which premiered at The Palm Beach International Film Festival in 2013 and won the Jury Award for Best Documentary Feature, was broadcast on Showtime and went on to win a prestigious 2014 Television Academy Award for bringing awareness to this important social issue.

Throughout its history filmmakers and industry professionals from around the world have supported The Palm Beach International Film Festival by donating their services to the festival, including Adrien Brody, Anthony Hopkins, Edward Norton, Richard Jenkins, Malcolm McDowell, Anant Singh, James Whitmore, Tommy Lee Jones, Faye Dunaway, Jacqueline Bisset, Richard Zanuck, Dennis Hopper, Woody Harrelson, Louise Fletcher, Leslie Nielsen, Peter Boyle, John Daly, Lesley Ann Warren, Roger Moore, Ann-Margret, Sylvester Stallone, Esther Williams, Burt Reynolds, Michael Caine, Anouk Aimee, Salma Hayek, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Evans, Michael Clarke Duncan, Ben Gazzara, Fay Wray, and Robert Morse, to name a few.

Due to issues with the management structures of the organization, The Palm Beach International Film Festival wasn’t held for the years 2019 thru 2022. After some discussion amongst PBIFF aficionados, in early 2022, a newly formed organization created for the sole purpose of promoting and hosting a renewed and revived Palm Beach International Film Festival. The Palm Beach International Film Festival is on track to make it’s new debut in April of 2023.