‘Sled Dogs’ Sheds Light on Animal Cruelty in the Sled Racing World – Newport Beach Film Festival Preview

Explore both sides of the Alaskan Iditarod: Sports Entertainment vs. Animal Cruelty. Sled Dogs comes to the Newport Beach Film Festival this Tuesday, April 22 at 5:45 PM at the Island Cinemas at Fashion Island.

What happens to huskies before and after the Iditarod? That’s the question that director Fern Levitt set out to answer in Sled Dogs, the hard-hitting new documentary that has been described as the Blackfish of the dogsledding industry. The film, which will debut in the U.S. in July, recently nabbed two awards at the Whistler Film Festival in British Columbia, where part of the documentary is set.

Sled Dogs exposes the Iditarod’s dark side, from breeders who kill dogs who don’t make the cut to the barren summertime kennels to the deadly race itself that claimed five lives this year alone.

In many commercial dog sled companies, dogs are continually tethered to a chain and euthanized when they’re deemed no longer useful. In 2011, the public finally learned this disgusting truth after in incident in Whistler, B.C. where 100 dogs were brutally murdered and thrown into a mass grave by a tourism company after an unprofitable season. Sled dog companies and the B.C. government decried the practice, claiming it to be an isolated occurrence; but animal rights activists maintain that this practice is pervasive throughout the entire industry. This explosive documentary weaves together various characters and narratives to explore a truth about the dog sledding industry while posing the question: “Is the abuse seen against “man’s best friend” disguised as entertainment?

The True Story of Survival Comes to ‘Charged: The Eduardo Garcia Story’ – Newport Beach Film Festival Preview

In Charged: The Eduardo Garcia Story, director Phillip Baribeau tells an intimate and riveting look into the complex layers of trauma, healing, and relationships. The film premieres at the Newport Beach Film Festival today at 5:15 pm at the Triangle Cinemas.

The documentary feature film, “Charged: The Eduardo Garcia Story,” which had its World Premiere as the Opening Night Film at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, provides extraordinary access into the emotional and inspiring journey of Eduardo Garcia. In a few short moments, this accomplished chef became the survivor of a freak accident — alone, near death and miles from help deep in Montana’s backcountry — hit with 2400 volts of electricity, the strength of a primary high voltage wire.

Miraculously despite severe shock and weakness, Eduardo found the strength to take his first steps toward finding help. The result of the accident was the loss of his left hand and forearm and a recovery which included 21 surgeries. It was during his 48 days in ICU with his former long-term girlfriend and business partner Jennifer Jane with him every step of the way, Eduardo faced yet another health scare — he was diagnosed with Stage 2 testicular cancer.

After months of surgeries and chemotherapy, Eduardo was ready for his next and perhaps greatest challenge — asking, “How am I going to get back to being me?”

There will be a second screening Monday, April 24 at 5 pm.

The Search for Family and Redemption in The Scent of Rain & Lighting – Newport Beach Film Festival Preview

A young woman begins to question evidence surrounding a recently released convict, convicted of murdering her parents. The story plays out in The Scent of Rain & Lighting. The film premieres at the Newport Beach Film Festival today, April 21 at 8:15 pm at The Triangle Cinemas in Costa Mesa.

From acclaimed actor/director Blake Robbins (the award-winning The Sublime and Beautiful), and starring Maika Monroe (Independence Day: Resurgence, It Follows) in a nuanced breakout lead performance, THE SCENT OF RAIN & LIGHTNING features a veteran acting ensemble, including Maggie Grace (Lost, Taken, Twilight: Breaking Dawn), Mark Webber (Green Room, Scott Pilgrim vs the World), Bonnie Bedelia (Parenthood), Will Patton (The Good Wife) and Justin Chatwin (American Gothic).

Evincing an evocative and authentic mood, look, and feel for life in the American Midwest, director Robbins and producer Twenter, who both grew up in Kansas, ground the story with a vibrant emotional authenticity and layered performances from the acting ensemble (Robbins also has a supporting acting role) to create a sophisticated, performance focused drama.

With layered and subtle cinematography from Robbins’ longtime DP Lyn Moncrief, THE SCENT OF RAIN & LIGHTNING portrays the humanity of small town life and one young woman’s search for family and emotional redemption – and how grief, revenge, and family secrets test the strength in an entire community.

There will be a second screening on Monday, April 24 at 4:15 pm.

A Subversive Look at Plastic Surgery – TAKE MY NOSE PLEASE – Newport Beach Film Festival

Allure’s Joan Kron looks at the pressures women have to be attractive and fit in society and seeking plastic surgery as the answer. Kron’s Take My Nose Please premieres at the 2017 Newport Beach Film Festival on Saturday, April 22 at 6 p.m. at the Triangle Square Cinemas in Costa Mesa. An encore showing will take place on Thursday, April 27.

TAKE MY NOSE PLEASE is a seriously funny and wickedly subversive look at the role comedy has played in exposing the pressures on women to be attractive and society’s desire/shame relationship with plastic surgery.

More than 15 million cosmetic procedures were performed in the US in 2014. And 90% of them on were done on women. Yet, for those who elect to tinker with Mother Nature, especially for high-profile women, plastic surgery is still a very dark secret. Funny women, though, are the exception. From Phyllis Diller and Joan Rivers to Roseanne and Kathy Griffin, comedians have been unashamed to talk about their perceived flaws, and the steps taken to remedy them. For these dames, cosmetic surgery isn’t vanity, it is affirmative action – compensation for the unfair distribution of youthfulness and beauty.

By admitting what their sisters in drama deny, comic performers speak to women who feel the same pressures, giving them permission to pursue change (or not to) while entertaining us.

TAKE MY NOSE PLEASE follows two comedians as they deliberate about going under the knife. Emily Askin, an up-and-coming improv performer, has always wanted her nose refined. Jackie Hoffman, a seasoned headliner on Broadway and on TV, considers herself ugly and regrets not having the nose job offered in her teens. And maybe she’d like a face-lift, as well. As we follow their surprisingly emotional stories, we meet other who have taken the leap – or held out.

Putting it all in perspective are psychologists, sociologists, the medical community and cultural critics. And for comic relief and the profundity only comedians can supply. The film includes commentary from Roseanne Barr, Phyllis Diller, the late Joan Rivers, Judy Gold, Julie Halston, Lisa Lampanelli, Giulia Rozzi, Bill Scheft, and Adrianne Tolsch.

David Chesky’s ‘The Mice War’ Comes to Newport Beach Film Festival This Saturday

“The Mice War,” a new animated musical created by Grammy-nominated composer and writer David Chesky, will open at the 18th annual Newport Beach Film Festival on April 22.

Geared to children ages 5 to 11, the film tells the story of the money-hungry Blue Mice of the North who, in order to satisfy their greed, go to war with the peace loving Red Mice of the South.

As the story unfolds, the Blue Mice initiate a conflict after noticing that the Red Mice prefer a different color of cheese. “The moral of the tale is that these mice must learn to accept one another’s differences if they ever hope to succeed as a species,” Chesky says.

“This message makes the story meaningful and timely because it teaches children about the absurdity of war and how we have to learn to resolve conflicts peacefully,” he adds.

“My students are champing at the bit to see the movie again,” says 2nd-grade teacher Megan Mitchell, “I can’t stop talking to other teachers about the impact I have seen it have on my students and my children.”

The movie features a cast of some of the most talented Broadway singers and actors today, including Tony Award winner Gregory Jbara voicing the warmonger General Kan, and Tony nominee Alison Fraser as the voice of Lucy, the lovable sea monster; Rock of Ages star Mitchell Jarvis narrates the story.

“Featuring rousing musical numbers supported by a large orchestra, ‘The Mice War’ delivers a powerful message in a fun way that children and parents will understand and enjoy,” Chesky says.

Marvel Releases Trailer and Images to Freeform’s ‘Cloack and Dagger’

Marvel Television’s first foray into Freeform television got its first glimpse with a trailer and image.

Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger” is the story of Tandy Bowen (Olivia Holt) and Tyrone Johnson (Aubrey Joseph) – two teenagers from very different backgrounds, who find themselves burdened and awakened to newly acquired superpowers which are mysteriously linked to one another. Tandy can emit light daggers and Tyrone has the ability to engulf others in darkness. They quickly learn they are better together than apart, but their feelings for each other make their already complicated world even more challenging. The network has ordered ten one-hour episodes slated to debut early 2018. “Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger” stars Olivia Holt, Aubrey Joseph, Andrea Roth, Gloria Reuben, Miles Mussenden, Carl Lundstedt, James Saito and J.D. Evermore. The series is co-produced by Marvel Television and ABC Signature Studios. Joe Pokaski (“Underground,” “Heroes”) serve as showrunner and executive producer; Jeph Loeb (“Marvel’s The Punisher,” “Marvel’s The Defenders”), Marvel’s head of Television, and Jim Chory (“Marvel’s The Punisher,” “Marvel’s The Defenders”) also serve as executive producers. Gina Prince-Bythewood (“Love & Basketball”) directed the first episode.

Lightwire Theater’s Moon Mouse Comes to Segerstrom Center’s Family Series – April 22 & 23

Marvin the mouse wants to be popular. Constantly bullied and picked on by the “cool” rats, he is labeled as a loser and a geek. As respite from the continuous badgering, Marvin retreats into his science books and a world of fantasy. He longs to have adventures and to be the hero. Join Marvin on the space adventure of a lifetime: a trip to the surface of the moon on his homemade rocket, where he meets a strange cast of misfit creatures, learns of infinite peril and views awesome beauty. Will Marvin make his dreams come true and experience the glory and acceptance he craves? Lightwire Theater is proud to present Moon Mouse: A Space Odyssey, a cosmic adventure about celebrating differences. Combining dance, puppetry, and traditional theater, the costumes, props and sets come to life as electroluminescent wires create dazzling and colorful 3D sculptures. This wondrous electroluminescent production features more than 40 delightful characters and a variety of music from pop to classical. The 1 p.m. performance on Sunday, April 23 will be ASL interpreted.

Tickets are $20 each and available online at SCFTA.org, at the Box Office at 600 Town Center Drive in Costa Mesa or by calling (714) 556-2787.

Audiences are encouraged to arrive an hour before each performance for free creative activities. The Center’s Education Department offers these enriching experiences to provide young people and their families more opportunities to play together creatively. Studies show that this is critical in helping to develop the ability to think and problem solve.

Segerstrom Center for the Arts applauds The Charles & Mildred Schnurmacher Foundation, Inc. for its support of the Family Series. Parenting OC is the Media Partner of the Family Series. Kia is the Official Automotive Partner of the Center and United Airlines, Official Airline of the Center.

About Lightwire Theater
Lightwire Theater combines optical illusion with technology to produce a theatrical experience. Lightwire Theater creators Ian and Eleanor Carney were both born and raised in New Orleans and met at the age of 13, through ballet class. An immediate connection was made between the kindred spirits as they discovered their mutual love of art, theater and technology. After coming across a product called, “EL wire,” the lights turned on and the possibilities seemed endless. Together they began to experiment with shapes and designs to develop puppetry-based neon creatures that quickly came to life. Since then, they have become internationally recognized for their signature brand of electroluminescent artistry, poignant storytelling and music scores designed to evoke imagery. Lightwire Theater continues to create and deliver innovative theatrical experiences to audiences worldwide based out of New Orleans, LA.

Imaginary Mary – WonderCon Panel

From Adam Goldberg, the creator of “The Goldbergs” comes “Imaginary Mary.”

Alice (Jenna Elfman, “Dharma & Greg,” “Friends With Benefits,” “EDtv”) is a fiercely independent career woman whose life is turned upside-down when she meets the love of her life – a divorced father with three kids. This triggers even more upheaval when the slightly unhinged imaginary friend she created as a child suddenly reappears to help her navigate the transition from single girl to a woman ready for a family.

Sundays at 3 pm on KTSTfmAnaheim.com