The Newport Beach Film Festival decided to “Go Deeper” for its 18th annual incarnation that ran April 20 – 27, starting with the opening night film, “Take Every Wave: The Life of Laird Hamilton” (a documentary about an American icon who forever changed the sport of big wave surfing) and continuing through to “The Expectation,” the closing film of the Festival.
In between there were world premieres, U.S. premieres, and West Coast premieres. Hundreds of cast and crew members walked a red carpet and posed for photos.
The opening night gala party in Fashion Island featured an appearance by Cirque du Soleil performers from “O” along with a performance by Side Deal featuring members of Train, Sugar Ray and Pawnshop Kings. There were also dozens of local restaurants, plus and cocktails courtesy of Tito’s vodka.
Nightly spotlight films gave way to nightly parties attended by VIPs, cast and crews. Among the highlights: An honors program at Balboa Bay Resort, an Irish party at Muldoon’s, and the chance to meet a rising filmmaker or actor.
Over eight days, some 400 documentaries, short subjects, music videos, feature films, and student movies were screened for an audience that totaled nearly 50,000.
Festival co-founders Gregg Schwenk and Todd Quartararo are already at work on next year’s festival.