Your Cheat Sheet for the Newport Beach Film Festival 2016

Dirty Old Wedge. Producer/director Tim Burnham’s Kickstarter campaign resulted in this documentary on Newport Beach’s world-famous surf break. Producer/D.P./Chapman University alum Jeff McCoy captured stunning footage of the wall of water Burnham has plied for a decade.

Po. The amazing backstory to this drama about a single dad caring for his autistic son is that director John Asher told Burt Bacharach about his project on a plane, and the legendary composer offered to write the music. The kicker: Asher did not know who Bacharach is. The six-time Grammy winner receives a Legends award from the festival on April 23.

Remember Me. Veteran actress Rita Moreno will be another Legends honoree. She stars as a grandmother on her way to being put in a home when her meds start wearing off; she snaps back to reality, and her self-involved boys are forced to deal with her.

Orange Sunshine. Former Newport Beach resident William A. Kirkley’s documentary on the Brotherhood of Eternal Love—the hippie LSD dealers based in Laguna Canyon back in the day—is the same title and subject matter of Weekly managing editor Nick Schou’s 2010 book.

Showing Roots. Set during the 1977 airing of Roots, Maggie Grace (Taken) stars as a young woman who cannot break into a small Southern town’s white-beauty-salon business. Then another young woman played by Uzo Aduba (Orange Is the New Black) helps her get established on the African-American side of the tracks.

My Name Is Emily. A young girl runs away from a foster home to find her visionary father, who is locked up in an Irish mental institution. A “making of” documentary may be even better than this drama. Determined to helm his first feature despite being unable to speak and confined to a wheelchair due to motor neuron disease, Dublin writer/director Simon Fitzmaurice interacted with his cast and crew via retinal-recognition software that enables a wide range of communication only with one’s eyes.

The Phone. Say the words “thriller” and “South Korea,” and I’m there. Kim Bong-ju’s debut is about a man who is able to speak to his late wife—and try to go back in time to prevent her death—through a mysterious phenomenon.

La Tradition. The foodies at Grub Tribe serve a most worthy subject for a documentary: Orange County’s longtime, colorful chef Pascal Olhats.

Tear Me Apart. NBFF Features Director Max Naylor described it as “a pseudo love triangle with a sous of cannibalism.” How can I pass up that?

VR Lounge. It’s not a film; it’s the festival’s first room in which viewers can strap in and see virtual-reality footage. A new media seminar is also on this year’s bill.

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