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Newport Beach Film Fest Returns

WEB-EXCLUSIVE: Catch a movie as the annual local film festival runs April 25-May 2.

For eight days of each year, Newport Beach becomes a cinematic playground, bringing us the best of both contemporary and classic filmmaking from around the world. The Newport Beach Film Festival has been a proud establishment of Orange County since 1999, premiering such acclaimed films as 2005 Best Picture winner Crash.

Beginning with a humble 10,000 attendees, co-founder Todd Quartararo reports that today the festival is “thrilled to entertain more than 53,000 filmgoers” — making the event a major player in the film arena. Quartararo attributes the festival’s success to “quality programming and momentum of previous festival successes.”

While its main purpose is to showcase groundbreaking films and enlighten its attendees with an enriching, artistic experience, the Newport Beach Film Festival knows how to put on a party, too.

Opening night on April 25 screens Broadway Idiot, a documentary following punk rock band, Green Day, as members witness their album, American Idiot, transform into a Tony Award-winning Broadway success. Better yet, the cast and crew of Broadway Idiot are also expected to grace the red carpet and screening. Following the screening is the Opening Night Gala at Fashion Island, featuring an assortment of tasty treats from 35 different Orange County restaurants and a performance by "American Idol" winner Taylor Hicks.

Another event to look forward to is the 100th birthday of director Richard Bare, most notable for his direction of the popular 1960s-1970s television series, "Green Acres." On day four of the festival, April 28, there will be a discussion held with Bare, as well as screenings of some of his most famous television episodes and short films. Also presented will be his 1973 horror-thriller, Wicked, Wicked, shot in the cutting-edge Duo-Vision.

The 25th anniversary of the Disney classic, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, is also something to celebrate. And so the festival will with a Q&A with legendary producer Don Hahn and other members of the cast and crew of the film, including Roger Rabbit voice actor Charles Fleischer. Following will be a screening of the memorable film, along with rarely seen footage straight out of the Disney Vault.

The Newport Beach Film Festival not only welcomes acclaimed directors and producers to its repertoire, but aspiring film students as well. The Collegiate Showcase is an opportunity for students from Southern California universities to present their film projects and mingle with professional filmmakers, the media, large audiences, and alumni.

In addition to this year’s exciting events, Quartararo reminds us that the greatest appeal of the festival is that it holds something for everyone — “Features, shorts, documentaries... we have a wide range of subjects, including action sports, art, architecture and design, family programming, and of course, the independent and studio narrative.”

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