"Five Stary Day" and "Letters to Juliet" Bookend Newport Beach Film Festival

The April 22 opening of the 2010 Newport Beach Film Festival will be a Five Star Day, and the April 29 closing delivers Letters to Juliet.

Five Star Day, which makes its world premiere at the 11th annual festival, stars Cam Gigandet (Twilight) and Jena Malone (The Soloist, Donnie Darko) .

Jake Gibson (Gigandet) awakes on the morning of his birthday to discover his horoscope has forecast a flawless five-star day. But what unfolds is the total opposite.

The film marks the directorial debut of Orange County native Danny Buday, who is also produced and wrote the screenplay. Co-producer Mike Robertson and production designer Megan Hutchinson also hail from here.

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Five Star Day's 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 22, screening at Edwards Big Newport, 300 Newport Center Drive, Newport Beach, will be preceded by red-carpet arrivals and followed by the festival's lavish opening night gala in Fashion Island's Bloomingdale's Courtyard. Food from more than 25 area restaurants will be served, models wearing fashions from the mall walk the runway and artists from Cirque du Soleil's Mystère perform.

Letters to Juliet--which screens at 8 p.m. Thursday, April 29, at Regency Lido Theatre, 3459 Via Lido, Newport Beach--stars Amanda Seyfried (Dear John, Mamma Mia!), Gael García Bernal (Rudo y Cursi, The Motorcycle Diaries, Babel) and Vanessa Redgrave (Atonement, Nip Tuck).

When a young American (Seyfried) travels to the city of Verona, home of the star-crossed lover Juliet Capulet of Romeo and Juliet fame, she joins a group of volunteers who respond to letters to Juliet seeking advice about love. After answering one letter dated from 1957, she inspires its author (Redgrave) to travel to Italy in search of her long-lost love, which sets off a chain of events.

The film was directed by Gary Winikc (Bride Wars, Charlotte's Web, 13 Going on 30) and written by Oscar nominee Jose Rivera (The Motorcycle Diaries).

The screening is followed by a closing night celebration at Via Lido Plaza that features menu selections from more than a dozen restaurants, live entertainment and other festivities.

In the days and nights between the opener and closer, more than 350 films from 47 countries will be screened and nightly special events, conversations with filmmakers and film-making seminars will be presented in Newport Beach.

Tickets go on sale today. Visit www.NewportBeachFilmFest.com to snag a bunch.

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