Pioneertown International Film Festival western movies
Pioneertown, courtesy of the Pioneerton International Film Festival. Photo taken with Focos

Good news, Western movie buffs — the first annual Pioneertown International Film Festival is back on after being postponed from its original Aug. 2021 dates due to COVID-19.

Highlights of the inaugural festival, which will take place for the very first time over three days from May 27-29, 2022, include the world premiere of The Last Manhunt produced by Jason Momoa.

The festival will be held in Joshua Tree-adjacent Pioneertown, California, at the original Western movie studios built by Roy Rodgers and Gene Autry in the 1940s.

Featuring themed and outdoor film screenings, masterclasses, and live music, the first Pioneertown festival will go on with a metaphorical bang — from a cowboy’s imaginary Colt revolver, of course.

The festival was founded by award-winning filmmakers Julian T. Pinder (Population Zero, Jesus Town, USA), and the head programmer is former Sundance programmer Todd Luoto.

Day one of the festival features an opening night performance by The Dandy Warhols, plus the world premiere of the aforementioned Last Manhunt, which tells the story of the last great American manhunt of the old west, based on the oral history of the Chemehuevi tribe, who will be present at the screening. The full lineup is now available on the festival’s website.

The program will also feature a short film program, exclusive panels and events, and a Paramount Restored Classics series, and special presentations of classics like Robert Rodriguez’s 1996 film From Dusk Till Dawn and the acid Westerns of Jack Nicholson and Monte Hellman, presented by their respective daughters. Other highlights include a special program called Stupid F*cking White Man: The Indigenous Image in Westerns, which will be curated by programmer and filmmaker Adam Piron, director of the Sundance Indigenous Program and member of the Kiowa and Mohawk tribes, who will be joined by Navaho filmmaker Blackhouse Lowe to discuss the legacy of Jim Jarmusch’s Dead Man.

The Pioneertown festival’s closing night will feature a special screening of Alexandre O. Philippe’s Western documentary The Taking, plus a live music performance by the singing group Sons of the Pioneers.

Main Image: A photo of Pioneertown, courtesy of the Pioneertown International Film Festival. Photo taken with Focos.