While many of my Screenfish colleagues (and most of the rest of the world) will be seeing The Avengers: Endgame this weekend, I’ll be absent from that crowd. Instead, I’ll be starting my weeklong coverage of the 20th Newport Beach Film Festival presented by Pacific Sales.
This year’s festival includes 131 feature films and 321 shorts. The films come from around the world, and include spotlights from Ireland, the UK, Canada, Latin America, Europe, and the Pacific Rim. As with most festivals, the challenge isn’t finding a good film; it’s picking from so many good films.
Let me say a word about the shorts. NBFF is really creative in putting its shorts programs together. Each has a theme. Some programs will all be romances, or road stories, or inspirational docs, or comedy, or survival docs, or kid oriented. There are also shorts programs from many local film schools, including Chapman University, UC Irvine, Long Beach State, Saddleback College, and Biola University. Every year when the Oscar nominations come out, it seems I always run across a film from NBFF that got a nomination. Often that is one of the shorts. So watching shorts may give you a head start on the Oscar season—or maybe seeing one of the important filmmakers of tomorrow.
NBFF is very aware if the local scene and tastes. There are sections of environmental films, actions sport films (surfing, skateboarding, skiing), and Art, Architecture and Design. Every year the festival finds excellent films that reflect the Orange Coast lifestyle. In addition, for this year’s closing night gala film, they chose a film with a very important local tie. Part of Water is a documentary about Newport Beach lifeguard Ben Carlson, who lost his life in the line of duty in 2014.
I’m sure after you see Endgame, you’ll be looking to Screenfish for commentary and reflections on the spiritual aspects of the film. But you can also look there to hear about smaller films like I’ll be seeing and reporting on all week.