The 15th annual Newport Beach Film Festival is bigger and better than ever this year, with more than 300 films from 40 countries on 15 screens across the city. Some 50,000 are expected to attend the event April 24-May 1.
Opening night is always a scene, with fans gathered to see what filmmakers and celebrities will show up to the Edwards Big Newport to walk the red carpet prior to the film. Last year was particularly fun and frenetic, with members of the band Green Day attending. The opening night film was a documentary called Broadway Idiot about how the band’s Billie Joe Armstrong turned a hit album into a punk rock musical.
The after-party at Fashion Island is a must-attend – the party will feature a live performance and a taste of Newport Beach from local restaurants.
There’s never a guarantee which celebs will make the trek down from L.A. (though the contingent has grown in recent years), but OC’s most important filmmaker Greg MacGillivray will definitely be at the festival, as MacGillivray Freeman Films will be honored with an evening celebrating 50 years in filmmaking, and as the world’s largest independent producer of IMAX films.
Anglophiles will want to attend the Friday night spotlight screening April 25 that is part of BritWeek Orange County, and will include an after-party and fashion show from Ted Baker held at Jaguar/Land Rover of Newport Beach.
There are events all day, all week. So why not plan a mini-vacation around the festival? The Balboa Bay Resort is offering two all access passes to the festival, one night in the Presidential Suite, two spa treatments, $200 dinner credit to the resort’s new Waterline restaurant and other amenities for $1,999. And the Hyatt Regency Newport Beach has a family package, with four general admission tickets for each day of the festival, parking, and shuttle service to screenings at Fashion Island starting at $199 per night.