Film Fest Focuses on New Artists

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By Christopher Trela | NB Indy

“Know New Art.” That’s the message the Newport Beach Film Festival wants 50,000 filmgoers to embrace as they descend on the city for the 16th annual cinematic lovefest that runs through Thursday, April 30, at various theaters in Newport Beach and Costa Mesa.

NBFF marquee2Over the next seven days, more than 350 films from 50 countries will be screened in a variety of categories, including feature, documentary, action sports, animation, collegiate, and short subject.

As the campaign implies, most of the filmmakers represented in the festival are new, undiscovered talents vying for attention.

“ ‘Know New Art’ articulates the Festival’s commitment to find unknown artists, provide them a stage and create a big, emotional impact—sometimes on a global scale,” said Todd Quartararo, festival co-founder and marketing director. “The Festival serves as a place of cultivating profound awareness and exposure both for the artist and the audience.”

The short in-theater trailer “SkeetArt” from Biscuit Filmworks takes the “Know New Art” message to another level and serves as a key part of the festival advertising campaign.

In a high-contrast black-and-white world, a rifle-toting new-age punk and her butler walk through a field of high grass, where they pause to shoot a round of skeet using homemade color bombs. As the shooting punkette hits each target, it bursts and colorfully paints the sky.

The festival opened Thursday, April 23, with “The Water Diviner,” the directing debut of actor Russell Crowe, who also stars in the film.

Friday features films from the United Kingdom, followed by a party at SoCo Collection in Costa Mesa. Saturday night spotlights Canada with an after party at Room & Board. Sunday the Irish grab the limelight with a post party at Muldoon’s Irish Pub. Monday focuses on Asian-made films with a Pacific Rim party back at SoCo. Tuesday features films from Europe with another party at SoCo. On Wednesday, the emphasis shifts south of the border with a party at Via Lido Plaza.

The closing night film on Thursday, April 30, at Lido Live Theater, is the world premiere of the comedy “No Stranger Than Love,” directed by Nick Wernham and starring Alison Brie, Justin Chatwin, and Colin Hanks. A closing night party takes place in Via Lido Plaza.

In addition to the night spotlight films, others run throughout each day. Special retrospective programs pay tribute to hometown legend John Wayne, with the screening of “The Green Berets” and the 100th birthday of filmmaker Orson Welles, with the screening of his 1952 classic “Othello.” There will also be a panel discussion with Welles historians. There is also the annual Disney Rarities screening Sunday night, which includes obscure Disney cartoons and special 60th anniversary footage.

“We’ll also have our traditional seminars on Saturday and Sunday that are focused on directing, acting, editing and cinematography, plus a new one this year on crowd funding,” Festival co-founder and chief executive, Gregg Schwenk.

Friday through Sunday, Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort hosts al fresco anniversary screenings of “Bring It On,” “Clueless” and “Back to the Future.”

With so many films in the festival, it’s impossible to see them all, but some of the ones programmers expect will be popular are repeated.

The filmmakers or cast will be present at two thirds of the films screening, Schwenk said. “They want to see the crowd’s reaction to their work and share the moments in Newport with our community.”


For more a complete schedule, visit



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