Celebs (D-List and higher) trudge across the red carpet leading into the Big Newport theater this evening to kick off the 12th annual Newport Beach Film Festival (NBFF).
After the 7:30 p.m. screening of the indie dramedy East Fifth Bliss, which is reportedly bringing out stars Michael C. Hall and Peter Fonda, the black-tie optional crowd sashays over to the Bloomingdale's courtyard at Fashion Island for the Opening Night Gala, where drinks, food from 30 local restaurants, more drinks, entertainment, the latest fashion designs and mucho mingling (over yet more drinks) flow.
If tickets are still available, they're $125 for the film and 21+ gala or $80 just to party. If that's too steep for your PayPal account, you'll be happy to know there are several other special NBFF events, some of which are free!
In honor of the NBFF's 12th anniversary run tonight through May 5, we previously presented 12 film picks from Newport Beach Film Festival programmers and 12 picks by film critics far and wide. To keep the 12th anniversary mojo going, what follows are 12 NBFF special events besides tonight's Opening Night Gala that are worth your time. For ticket info, visit newportbeachfilmfest.com.
1) ECO SPOTLIGHT/FRIDAY NIGHT SHOWCASE PARTY. The Los Angeles Times hosts a party Friday night both for an ecologically themed film and just plain-ol' indie films. And, when you think ecologically themed or indie films, you naturally think of Newport Lexus, the high-falutin' car lot hosting the event. Besides rows of cars only your grandparents can afford, you'll find entertainment, hors d'oeuvres and daddy's medicine courtesy of Stella Artois and Absolut (whose participation always begs the question: Which came first, Absolut vodka or American film festivals?). The eco-film the party is tied to is George C. Shellenger's documentary This is Your Ocean: Sharks, which looks at the marine mammals through the eyes of artists Wyland, Guy Harvey and Jim Abernathy. The indies are: Matt Walsh's High Road, which stars a bunch of people you've seen before, in the story of a pot dealer with major life choices to make amid an LA-to-Oakland road trip; Josh Stolberg's Conception, which follows nine different couples on the night of conception; Simon Arthur's Silver Tongues, which is about a couple who travel from town to town fucking with people--before meeting their match; and Gil Cates Jr.'s Lucky, which is about a serial killer (Orange County's Colin Hanks) who wins the lottery and is pursued by a police detective (Arrested Development's Jeffrey Tambor). This is Your Ocean: Sharks screens at 6:30 p.m. at the Lido Theatre. Triangle Square presents High Road and Conception at 7:30 p.m., Silver Tongues at 7:45 p.m. and Lucky at 8 p.m. Tickets are $40 for a film and party, $25 only to party and $15 just to see a film.
2) A CONVERSATION WITH AARON SORKIN. How do you follow winning an Oscar for adapting The Social Network screenplay? By leading a free, two-hour seminar on the writing process for film, TV and the theater. You also know Sorkin's work from A Few Good Men, The American President and, of course, his Emmy-winning turn on NBC's The West Wing. If Sorkin does not bring it up himself, you can ask about his latest projects, which include adapting Andrew Young's book The Politician, which is about the political downfall of former North Carolina Senator and presidential candidate John Edwards. While Saturday's 11:30 a.m. seminar at the Lido Theatre is free, you need to get a ticket beforehand to attend.
3) SATURDAY NIGHT CENTERPIECE PARTY. 944 Magazine hosts the party at Sports Club LA-Orange County in Irvine (!) with the entertainment, hors d'oeuvres, chow from local restaurants and drink from Stella Artois and Absolut. The films this party is linked to are: Dusty Bias' Prairie Love, which is about a lonely drifter who cons his way into a relationship with a female prisoner; Kate Connor and Michael Worth's Fort McCoy, which is about a family led by Eric Stoltz's character working at an American fort next to Nazi and Japanese camps during World War II; Nick Stagliano's Good Day For It, which is about a family caught up in a robbery; Penelope Spheeris' Balls to the Wall, which is about the life of a groom-to-be changing when he follows his future father-in-law into a male strip club; and the Action Sports Spotlight 2010 XXL Global Big Waves Awards, which follows Billabong's ultimate big wave competition. Triangle Square films and show times are:
6) VOLCOM 2011 YOUTH FILM SHOWCASE. Another free event is Volcom's showcase of films entered by young filmmakers in the action-sports giant's annual competition. This year's films include: Alexandra Miernicki's Eye Candy; Marion Tucker's Once Upon A Time; Matthew J. Evans' Poetic Justice Project; Hannah L. Stevens' Wake Up!; Alex Munro's Fun And Games; Molly Cinnamon and Miranda Kasher's See; Alicia Blood's Speechless; Aditi V. Desal's Echoes of Pearl Harbor; Nat Motulsky, Robert O'Brien, Ethan Weinstein and Shyan Zakeri's Sebastian's Adventure; Lauren Musgrove, Paarth Trivedi, Katherine Nagasawa, Johnny Frohman and Spencer Rothman's It Happened One Afternoon; Nicole Sage's God and Polliwog: Scene 1; Alex Munro, Kelsey Koch, Madelyn Musick and Naomi Reich's Opalescent; Nora Kroopf and Jamie Feiler's Tadaa!; Libby Blood's Jalopy; Eloy Medellin III, Iulian Mocanu, Brandon Lu, Brandon Erickson and Ian Mercado's Man Vs. Machine; Patrick Henning's Respect Beat; Russell Carter's Everything That Dies; Cameron Lew's The Spontaneous Trip; and Mattan Cohen's Sunny Side Up and Flags. Don't worry, the entire program only lasts 90 minutes. However, the Triangle Square seats will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis, and festival officials warn people are always turned away from Volcom's event. Arrive early to Sunday's 6 p.m. event if you want to get in.
7) AN EVENING OF DISNEY RARITIES. A popular feature annually is the Walt Disney Studio Spotlight, which for the fourth year will unveil rarely seen animated treasures from the Walt Disney Animation Studios vault. Back to lead the program are David Bossert, the studios' creative director, and Don Hahn, who has been a producer on many of Disney's animated blockbusters (like Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King and The Hunchback of Notre Dame) and, as a director, has the documentary Hand Held as a regular NBFF selection this year. Tickets for Sunday's 7:30 p.m. event at the Lido Theatre are $15.
8) LATINO SHOWCASE PARTY. After screenings of the Latino Showcase films Sunday night at Triangle Square, media company Hoy presents a block party at Fashion Island that's bound to pack more Latinos into the tony outdoor shopping mall than lawn-cutting day. Top entertainment, hors d'oeuvres prepared by award-winning restaurants and a hosted bar by Stella Artois and Absolut come with the $25 entry fee. You have to be 21+. Pay another 10 bucks and you can also watch one of the night's intriguing-sounding Latino Showcase films: Joao Daniel Tikhomiroff's Besouro (Brazil), which mixes fact and myth about famous capoeira fighter Besouro (beetle), who waged war against the National Guard after one of its members killed his coach; Matias Bize's The Life of Fish (Chile), a drama about a travel journalist who returns to Chile after 10 years in Germany and reexamines the life decisions that separated him from his friends and a lover; and Iria Gomez Concheiro's The Cinema Holdup (Mexico), a drama about the fallout four teens in Mexico's Guerrero colony experience after they spice up their life of pot, graffiti, skateboarding and hip-hop by robbing the local cinema. This was an official selection at Sundance. Screening times at Triangle Square are: 7 p.m. for The Cinema Holdup, 7:30 p.m. for.
9) MONDAY NIGHT ASIAN SHOWCASE BLOCK PARTY. One of the three Asian Showcase films screened at Big Newport will uplift you, another will make you tingly and the other will have you amped. Whichever you choose to attend, you can channel that energy into another Fashion Island party where entertainment, hors d'oeuvres and a hosted bar by Stella Artois and Absolut beckon. The films are: Dae-gyu Kang's Harmony (South Korea), which stars Lost's Yunjin Kim as a prisoner who creates a choral group with fellow inmates so she will get one day outside with her son; Xu Jinglei's Go Lala Go! (China), which is about a hardworking young woman climbing the corporate ladder and discovering one of the rungs involves an illicit affair with a co-worker; and Takeshi Koike's Redline (Japan), a much-hyped
10) TUESDAY NIGHT INTERNATIONAL SHOWCASE PARTY. Call this the mutt party, as it fetes films from France, Sweden and Australia. Among them is Swedish director Andreas Öhman's Simple Simon, whose title character uses science to find his dumped brother a new girlfriend. Apply those principles at Tuesday night's after-party at Fashion Island hosted by none other than OC Weekly. Sample internationally renowned entertainment, continental hors d'oeuvres and Swedish and Belgian elixirs (at the Absolut and Stella Artois hosted bar). The other showcase films are: On Tour (Tournee) from Mathieu Amairic (France), who also plays the lead character: a former Parisan television producer who returns from America with a burlesque troupe touring the French countryside; and Julie Bertuccelli's The Tree (Australia/France/Germany/Italy), which is about a family discovering what it means to be one after the death of a loved one. Tickets are: $35 per film and 21+ party; $25 just to party; and $15 per film screened at Big Newport: On Tour at 7:15 p.m.; The Tree at 7:30 p.m.; and Simple Simon at 7:45 p.m.
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11) WEDNESDAY NIGHT PARTIES. Will you be having the chianti or the Guinness? Or, as the Pogues' Shane MacGowan demonstrates above, how about both? Pick your poison at either the Wednesday Night Italian Spotlight Block Party at Canaletto Restorante Veneto at Fashion Island, or the Wednesday Night Irish Spotlight Block Party at
12) CLOSING NIGHT GALA. First, you manage to snag tickets to the May 5 closing night film at the Lido, Jonathan Sobol's A Beginner's Guide to Happy Endings. Three brothers (Scott Caan, Paulo Costanzo and Jason Jones) deal differently with the death of their inveterate gambler father (Harvey Keitel). After the 7 p.m. screening, slide over to the Closing Night Gala at the Lido Village that surrounds the historic theater. Riviera magazine presents entertainment, hors d'oeuvres, award-winning grub and what by now must be an endless fountain of magic juice from Stella Artois and Absolut. Tickets are $75 for the film and the 21+ party or $50 for the party only.