Tag Archives: Newport Beach Film Festival

‘From Page To Stage’ Comes to Newport Beach Film Festival – April 23

A Documentary about life in the theatre with a colorful cast of characters

For two years we followed a talented troop of actors, writer-director and others as they face the challenges to go “From Page to Stage” with the new queer friendly stage comedy Baby Oh Baby written by Phil Scarpaci and T.L. Shannon, directed by Scarpaci, produced by Pattie Kelly.

Cast, crew and production staff share their insights and anecdotes about surviving the slings and arrows of participating in the intimate 99 Seat Theatre scene in Los Angeles.

With body clocks ticking and artificial insemination options Baby Oh Baby might even get its world premiere.

“From Page to Stage”, an official selection of the Newport Beach 2017 Film Festival, premieres Sunday, April 23rd at 2:45 pm, at Triangle Square Cinema, 1870 Harbor Blvd., Costa Mesa, 92627.

TICKETS: https://www.newportbeachfilmfest.com/event/page-stage-love-theatre/

Surf Legend Laird Hamilton Doc ‘Take Every Wave’ Opens Newport Beach Film Festival

The 2017 Newport Beach Film Festival (NBFF) announced TAKE EVERY WAVE: THE LIFE OF LAIRD HAMILTON as its Opening Night film. The screening of TAKE EVERY WAVE: THE LIFE OF LAIRD HAMILTON will take place on Thursday, April 20, 2017 at 7:30pm at Edwards Big Newport (300 Newport Center Drive) followed by a gala reception at Fashion Island (401 Newport Center Drive). The 18th annual NBFF will run from April 20 – April 27, 2017.

TAKE EVERY WAVE: THE LIFE OF LAIRD HAMILTON tells the remarkable story of American icon and innovator, Laird Hamilton, who changed the sport of big wave surfing forever. Hamilton is an athlete who refused to compete professionally, yet dominated and changed his sport like no other figure in history has ever done. The film is an in-depth portrait of a hard-charging, driven athlete that explores the fear, courage, ambition and talent that push a man to greatness–and the costs that comes with it.

“We are thrilled to have a film that tells such a dynamic story open the 18th Annual Newport Beach Film Festival,” stated Gregg Schwenk, CEO and Executive Director of the Newport Beach Film Festival, “TAKE EVERY WAVE: THE LIFE OF LAIRD HAMILTON continues the Festival’s rich tradition in showcasing Action Sports films in the seaside setting of Newport Beach.”

“Laird Hamilton is one of the greatest big-wave surfers of all time. As an innovator, he has changed the sport more than any other figure in at least the last half century,” stated TAKE EVERY WAVE: THE LIFE OF LAIRD HAMILTON Director Rory Kennedy. “To me, Take Every Wave isn’t a sports documentary. It is a universal story about human potential—about striving, about the power of the individual to overcome limits, and about the ability we all have to create our own destiny.   We could not be more thrilled to be opening the Newport Beach Film Festival.”

Following the screening, the Festival will host an Opening Night gala at Fashion Island presented by Fashion Island, LA Times and Tito’s Vodka. The gala will feature culinary tastings from 30 of Orange County’s premiere restaurants, hosted bar by Tito’s Vodka with a special performance from “O”: the timeless aquatic production by Cirque Du Soleil only at Bellagio Resort & Casino

Tickets to the Opening Night screening and gala are $225 each and are available at www.NewportBeachFilmFest.com starting April 1.  Patrons can also purchase tickets to the Opening Night gala only for $175 each. Guests must be at least 21 years old and cocktail attire is highly recommended.

The Newport Beach Film Festival will showcase more than 350 films from 50 countries and host nightly special events, red carpet galas, compelling conversations with filmmakers, international spotlight events and seminars. The Festival offers filmgoers unique opportunities to mingle with celebrities, filmmakers from around the globe and film industry professionals in a beautiful seaside locale.

The Newport Beach Film Festival is sponsored in part by Tito’s Vodka, Fashion Island, Los Angeles Times and the City of Newport Beach.

Passes and tickets for film screenings, galas and special events go on sale April 1. To purchase tickets and for information about the Newport Beach Film Festival visit www.NewportBeachFilmFest.com

Buddy Solitaire – Movie Review – Newport Beach Film Festival

Buddy Solitaire is a touching comedy that comes to us as part of the 2016 Newport Beach Film Festival. Buddy is a stand-up comedian on his last leg and desperately needs to find new material. His life is falling apart with a neglected girlfriend and an unhealthy relationship with his mother.

2016 Newport Beach Film Festival
Writer:
Keung Lee
Director: Keung Lee
Cast: Brandon J. Somberger, Sally Kirkland, Leann Lei, Mirela Burke, Garret Sato, Samba Schutte, Jason McBeth

Buddy Solitaire (Brandon J. Somberger) is a stand-up comedian who is at a crossroads in his professional career. This burnt out comedian thinks he can spark his creativity by teaching stand-up comedy at a counseling center where his girlfriend, works.

After his first day of teaching comedy to the center’s therapy group, Buddy finds new material in the members of the group. Almost immediately, the details of each member’s problem become an integral part of Buddy’s stand-up. But as time progresses, Buddy begins to develop a real relationship with each person.

Buddy Solitaire is clearly an independent film. Sometimes the lack of money can come across on screen and can pull you out of the film. This includes an audio hum early in the film and the use of the same room to appear to be several different comedy clubs. Harmless, but then that is the appeal of independent films.

What Buddy Solitaire loses in a low budget film, it makes up for in a solid story of redemption. Yes, there are comic elements with Buddy as he teaches a group of counseling patients how to be a stand-up. The real joy of the film is Buddy’s relationship with his mother. Sally Kirkland is brilliant as a former stand-up from an era long ago. She is clinging desperately to the fame she once had and at the same time, finds her only comfort in the son she consistently abuses mentally and emotionally. This relationship is a classic codependent spiral that mothers and sons usually come out incredibly damaged.

I had only a few issues with Buddy Solitaire. Some elements of the stand-up comedy did not ring true for me. As mentioned earlier, Buddy volunteers at his girlfriend’s job at the counseling center. He hopes that his interactions with the clients will inspire new material, and it does. But the jokes he tells about the clients are not necessarily that funny and may not inspire the brilliance that is now attributed to Buddy.

Aside from that, the acting, primarily from the leads, is good. Brandon J. Somberger is strong as the title character, Buddy Solitaire. His stand-up delivery is good, he brings the right emotion to scenes with his mother and he carries the movie. Writer/Director Keung Lee does a masterful job with his first film. He manages to tell a touching tale with comedy and produce a film the feels professional without giving away the low budget he had.

 

High Rise – Movie Review – Newport Beach Film Festival

Based on J. G. Ballard novel of the same name, High-Rise, observes life for the residents of a high tower run out of control.

Newport Beach Film Festival – 2016
Writer:
Amy Jump
Director: Ben Wheatley
Cast: Tom Hiddleston, Jeremy Irons, Sienna Miller, Elisabeth Moss

High Rise, I think, is an allegory about class warfare. It’s a very strange movie, and I’ll describe it as best as I can. Dr. Robert Liang (Tom Hiddleston) is a upper-middle class doctor that moves into a futuristic high rise building. The building is an essentially a self-contained country. The rich and affluent live on the higher floors while the poor live on the lower floors. Living on the penthouse level is the architect of the building, Royal (Jeremy Irons), who designed the entire project.

The beginning of the movie, everyone starts moving into their individual apartments. The high rise has its own market, workout room and every amenity imaginable. But quickly things start to fall apart. Liang first attends a party by the lower middle-class residents. Not to be outdone, the rich decide to throw an even better party.

As the movie progresses, documenting a three-month period of time, the society within the high-rise begins to deteriorate. Food becomes scarce, the electricity and water fail and garbage begins to pile up. The upper-class bunker into their floor and the lower class wonder why nothing is improving. Or at least, that’s what I think is happening.

I am absolutely baffled by this movie. Clearly the film is some kind of statement about class warfare, but I can’t really tell you what that statement is. It is based on a popular novel that I have not read, but I’m sure many people have. I should have to read a book to understand a movie.

The main problem a film has when it’s hard to follow. It gets boring fast. I start looking at the clock. I keep hoping this act is the last act. But the end doesn’t come, and I am forced to endure more torture.

The movie is littered with strange and odd images. Visually, the high-rise appears as a sleek modern building of today, but over time, the building deteriorates. Halls are littered with trash and the ungodly. Even food becomes moldy, and water becomes cloudy.

The strange thing is I hear laughter, and I see people who are enjoying this movie. I begin to wonder, am I just too stupid to enjoy this film? Then paranoia sets in, and I wonder if the movie is making fun of me.

I love Tom Hiddleston, and I am a fan of Jeremy Irons. They are good actors and light up the screen. It was probably the only thing that helped me get to the finish line that is the ending of this movie.

I’ll just come out and say it. I didn’t get this movie, and if there was a point or commentary about life and class warfare, it was lost.

This Isn’t Funny – Movie Review

This Isn’t Funny is the love story of Eliot Anderson (Katie Page) and Jaimie Thompson (Paul Ashton). It is also a testament to the power of the independent film. If you have a good story to tell; a small budget; and backers, who believe in you, the final product is funny, well-thought out story.

Newport Beach Film Festival
Running Time: 86 minutes
Writers: Paul Ashton, Katie Page
Director: Paul Ashton

Eliot is a young adult, who takes a healthy dose of psych medication in order to cope. She is a talented stand-up comedian by night and struggles to remain balanced during the day. Jaime runs a Juice Shop in Los Angeles.  Having achieved nothing in life, the perpetual traveler Jaime believes he is a failure in life. Elliot and Jaime meet when Jaime crashes his bike into Eliot’s parked car.

Under hostile circumstances, Eliot and Jaime fall in love and immediately clash. While their love is sweet, it’s clear they press each other’s button. Their problem is Eliot and Jaime are pressing the right buttons, but the expected result is emotionally disastrous.

This isnt funny 02This Isn’t Funny is a thoughtful story of love in the day of heightened anxiety and first world problems. The story of Eliot and Jaime is elevated even higher by the best supporting cast I’ve seen in a movie. Eliot’s parents, Joseph (David Pasquesi) and Elaine (Mimi Rogers) are sympathetic characters, who have learned to walk on eggshells around Eliot’s “moment.”

Eliot’s best friends are also stand-up comedians. Russ (Ahmed Bharoocha) and Hannah (Beth Sterling) not only serve as comedic foils to Eliot, but also produce the funniest stand-up moments in the movie. Be sure to stay during the credits and catch Ahmed’s stand-up routine. Trust me it’s worth the price of the movie.

Jaime’s employees offer no help to Jamie at all except for their friendship. Ryan (Edi Gathegi) wishes Jaime would stay in one place. Jaime’s other friend, Mike (Anthony LaPaglia) is all over the place. Mike is a semi-effeminate, always-high friend of Jamie, and you won’t recognize that it’s Anthony LaPaglia until late in the movie.

This Isn’t Funny is a movie of hope. By the end, you hope these two kids can get their “stuff” together and be happy together.

This Isn’t Funny – Movie Review

This Isn’t Funny is the love story of Eliot Anderson (Katie Page) and Jaimie Thompson (Paul Ashton). It is also a testament to the power of the independent film. If you have a good story to tell; a small budget; and backers, who believe in you, the final product is funny, well-thought out story.

Newport Beach Film Festival
Running Time: 86 minutes
Writers: Paul Ashton, Katie Page
Director: Paul Ashton

Eliot is a young adult, who takes a healthy dose of psych medication in order to cope. She is a talented stand-up comedian by night and struggles to remain balanced during the day. Jaime runs a Juice Shop in Los Angeles.  Having achieved nothing in life, the perpetual traveler Jaime believes he is a failure in life. Elliot and Jaime meet when Jaime crashes his bike into Eliot’s parked car.

Under hostile circumstances, Eliot and Jaime fall in love and immediately clash. While their love is sweet, it’s clear they press each other’s button. Their problem is Eliot and Jaime are pressing the right buttons, but the expected result is emotionally disastrous.

This isnt funny 02This Isn’t Funny is a thoughtful story of love in the day of heightened anxiety and first world problems. The story of Eliot and Jaime is elevated even higher by the best supporting cast I’ve seen in a movie. Eliot’s parents, Joseph (David Pasquesi) and Elaine (Mimi Rogers) are sympathetic characters, who have learned to walk on eggshells around Eliot’s “moment.”

Eliot’s best friends are also stand-up comedians. Russ (Ahmed Bharoocha) and Hannah (Beth Sterling) not only serve as comedic foils to Eliot, but also produce the funniest stand-up moments in the movie. Be sure to stay during the credits and catch Ahmed’s stand-up routine. Trust me it’s worth the price of the movie.

Jaime’s employees offer no help to Jamie at all except for their friendship. Ryan (Edi Gathegi) wishes Jaime would stay in one place. Jaime’s other friend, Mike (Anthony LaPaglia) is all over the place. Mike is a semi-effeminate, always-high friend of Jamie, and you won’t recognize that it’s Anthony LaPaglia until late in the movie.

This Isn’t Funny is a movie of hope. By the end, you hope these two kids can get their “stuff” together and be happy together.

Follow Friday – Movie Review – Newport Beach Film Festival

‘Follow Friday The Film’ is a documentary from filmmaker, Erin Faulk (@erinscafe). It premiered at the Newport Beach Film Festival. After an expected layoff from her law firm job, Faulk embarks on a social experiment and travels to 11,000 miles around the United States in 45-days to meet in person – for the first time – her friends on Twitter.

Faulk’s cross country journey starts in Los Angeles and ends at Twitter headquarters in San Francisco. This road trip consists of Faulk; her friends-cinematographer Matthew Sordello (@msordello), Evans Knight(@evansknight), Anna Schlegel (@annatschlegel), Hassan Khan (@hassankhan); a car donated by Audi; and stops in cities like Las Vegas, Austin, New Orleans, Newark, New York, Chicago and Denver. Her ultimate goal is to have her twitter followers sign a petition and present it at Twitter headquarters for a shot at her account being verified.

In ‘Follow Friday The Film,’ what starts off as a cross country road trip turns into an informative documentary on Twitter as a social media tool and its potential to do good in society. The film is divided into chapters about what Twitter is: community, politics, marketing a business, social causes and more.

There is a right way and a wrong way to use Twitter. Faulk shows that it is more than providing updates about your day and the food you eat. It should be a conversation between you and your followers. Her travels across the country are an attempt to meet her friends, even though she never met them in person. The danger is that her friends are not how they portray themselves on Twitter, and she finds that, for the most part, they are. She also takes us to Twitter gatherings of a circle of friends who occasionally meet at one another’s homes.

She also shows the amazing power of Twitter to raise money for a good cause. Along the way, Faulk knew that she wanted an interview with Newark Mayor Corey Booker. Because he personally runs his Twitter account, Faulk was able to ask him “personally.” Soon, one of her Twitter friends said that if Booker would do the interview, he would donate $250 to one of Booker’s charities being New Jersey charter school system, Uncommon Schools. Almost instantly Booker tweeted back and said he would match the donation. Soon, other friends of Faulk tweeted with their donations and Booker match their donations. Soon, Booker found himself committed to an interview with Faulk and committed to pay $17,000 to New Jersey Charter schools.

In a time of public tragedy, Twitter was a tool to bring the community together. Faulk’s crew arrives in Aurora just days after the shooting at a midnight screening of Batman in Aurora. The eerie tweets of the victims of the shooting leading up to the tragedy and the tweets of the victims’ friends and family leave a powerful impact on the timeline of events.

The movie ends at Twitter headquarters, where Faulk hopes to become verified by presenting her cross-country petition to the powers-that-be. As excited as she was about touring Twitter headquarters, Faulk learns the difference between the personable employees of Twitter and the cold, impersonal corporate gods of Twitter.

‘Follow Friday the Film’ is a great movie about Twitter and its potential in your life. It’s an inspiring tale about using Twitter to broaden your circle of friends and experience new things. It can be used to rally people around a cause such as support during hard times, to raise money in a Kickstarter campaign to complete your movie and show off the personal side of your business.

During a road trip portions of the movie, Erin Faulk comes off as funny and likable, and it shows as she meets with her friends for the first time. A problem with ‘Follow Friday the Film’ is that there is not much time spent with the actual interviews of friends along the way, which is the initial premise of the film. For example, the first friend she meets in Las Vegas, we are shown video footage of the meeting, but no interview. I get that maybe it’s the quality of the interviews and the difficult task of editing them in an interesting way may warrant its exclusion from the movie.

Also, this is a positive tale of the power of Twitter. Yes, Twitter has done amazing things in the world as a force for positive change. But Twitter has also been used as a tool for bullying and trolling. But I get that that’s not what this movie is about.

Erin Faulk’s ‘Follow Friday the Film’ is a great start of the Women and Film category of the Newport Beach Film Festival.