The 16th annual Newport Beach Film Festival (NBFF) starts Thursday, April 23 and ends Thursday, April 30. The theme is "Know New Art."
• The opening-night picture is The Water Diviner. In Russell Crowe's directorial debut, he plays an Australian farmer who travels to Istanbul to discover the fate of his son, who was reported missing in action during the devastating 1915 World War I battle of Gallipoli in Turkey. Lido Live, 3459 Via Lido, Newport Beach. Thurs., April 23, 7:30 p.m.
• The gala that follows features culinary tastings from 25 Orange County restaurants; a bar hosted by Tito's Vodka, Stella Artois beer and Remy Cointreau; and a special performance of Zarkana by Cirque du Soleil. Fashion Island, 401 Newport Center Dr., Newport Beach. 21+. Thurs., April 23, 10 p.m. Screening and gala, $225; gala only, $175. Cocktail attire highly recommended.
• NBFF's eight-day run features more than 350 films from 50 countries, as well as nightly special events, red-carpet galas, conversations with filmmakers, international spotlight events and seminars. Several films make their world, North American or West Coast premieres at the festival, which also showcases many local filmmakers, cast and crew members, and subjects.
• Prices vary for festival passes, individual screenings, galas and special events, all of which are on sale at newportbeachfilmfest.com.
• Each film is listed in a pull-out guide in the OC Weekly print edition.
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• Screening locations include Lido Live, Starlight Triangle 8 Cinemas (1870 Harbor Blvd., Costa Mesa), Island Cinemas at Fashion Island (327 Newport Center Dr., Newport Beach), Big Newport Theater (300 Newport Center Dr., Newport Beach), Regency South Coast Village (1561 W. Sunflower Ave., Santa Ana), Orange County Museum of Art (850 San Clemente Dr., Newport Beach), and The Studio at Sage Hill (20402 Newport Coast Rd., Newport Beach).
• The world premiere of No Stranger Than Love is the closing-night picture. Director Nick Wernham's odd romantic comedy follows a small village's single, highly desired high-school art teacher (Alison Brie) and married high-school football coach (Colin Hanks) down a hole--literally. Just as the two are about to begin an affair, he disappears down an interdimensional, one-way hole of infinite darkness in her living room, leaving her to try to rescue him while also trying to keep their coupling a secret. Lido Live. Thurs., April 30, 7:30 p.m.
• The Closing Night Celebration follows in the surrounding Via Lido Plaza. The outdoor event features culinary creations from 20 Orange County restaurants; a bar hosted by Tito's Handmade Vodka, Remy Cointreau and Stella Artois; and live entertainment. 3425 Via Lido, Newport Beach. Film and celebration, $95; Party only, $65. 21+.