22nd Annual Newport Beach Film Festival Announces Opening and Closing Night Films

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Newport Beach Film Festival marquee / photo by Chris Trela

The Newport Beach Film Festival is back, live and in person!

Last year the Film Festival – which normally screens 350 films during an eight-day period in April – shifted to an online event in the fall, but now the festival returns to an in-person cinematic celebration October 21-28.

This 22nd edition of the Newport Beach Film Festival will showcase over 300 films from around the world. The Festival will host nightly special events, world premieres, awards contenders, red carpet galas and compelling conversations with filmmakers.

Highlights include the 2021 Festival Honors program celebrating Variety’s “10 Actors to Watch,” International Spotlights (UK, Ireland, Mexico, French, Swedish, Italian, German, Czech, Spain, Japan, Korea, China, Australia, Vietnam) and Special Programs (Action Sports, Art, Architecture + Design, Culinary, Environmental, Music Film Series).

Films will screen at THE LOT (Fashion Island in Newport Beach), The New Port Theater (Corona del Mar), Edwards Big Newport (Newport Beach), Starlight Triangle Cinemas (Costa Mesa) and Regency South Coast Village (Santa Ana).

Scene from the Vans documentary

On Thursday, Oct. 21 at 7 p.m., the Film Festival will kick off its eight-day run with the World Premiere of “Never Catch Pigeons: and Eleven More Hard Lessons from Mr. Paul Van Doren” at Edwards Big Newport (300 Newport Center Drive).

The documentary tells the remarkable and honest story of Paul van Doren, a self-made innovator who started Vans, the iconic shoe and lifestyle brand that inspired a global skateboarding revolution.

Directed by NBFF alumni Doug Pray, the film features Paul van Doren, Tony Alva, Christian Hosoi, Ray Barbee, Brighton Zeuner, Hana Beaman, Dylan Graves, Steve Van Doren, Cheryl Van Doren, Kathy Van Doren, Paul Jr. Van Doren, and Janie Van Doren.

Following the screening, the Festival will host a Street Party presented by VANS at 9 p.m. in the parking lot behind Edwards Big Newport. The event will feature a hosted bar by Tito’s Handmade Vodka and live entertainment.

Closing the Festival on Thursday, Oct. 28 at 7 p.m. is the West Coast Premiere of “War on the Diamond” at The New Port Theater (2905 East Coast Highway, Corona del Mar). Directed by Emmy and Peabody Award Winner Andy Billman and based on the award-winning book “The Pitch That Killed” by Mike Sowell, “War on the Diamond” tells the story of Ray Chapman, the only MLB player killed by a pitch and the 100-year rivalry between two baseball teams and two cities: Cleveland and New York.

War on the Diamond

The film is produced by Art Horan, Danielle Alberico, and longtime Newport Beach resident Pamela Lynn Sullivan. Former MLB pitcher and local resident Jim Abbott is a featured interview in the film. A Closing Night reception will follow the screening at The New Port Theater.

“The Newport Beach Film Festival is extremely excited to be back on the big screen. We are proud to bring outstanding global cinema to our local theaters,” stated Gregg Schwenk, CEO/Executive Director of the Newport Beach Film Festival. “This year’s line up of narrative features, non-fiction films and curated shorts programs reflect the incredible storytelling talents of our filmmakers. We are thrilled to open and close the Festival with documentary films that have strong Orange County connections.”

Tickets to Opening Night and Closing Night are $95. Event is open to attendees 21 and older.

For Festival passes, tickets and COVID-19 safety information, plus a complete listing of all films in the Festival, visit www.NewportBeachFilmFest.com.

Recognized as one of the largest luxury lifestyle film festivals in the United States, the Newport Beach Film Festival brings an international curated collection of films and vibrant cultural gatherings to the beautiful Southern California coast.

Committed to championing the work of original storytellers from around the globe, the Festival celebrates contemporary screen culture, cinematic excellence and engages the community in compelling conversations with filmmakers and artists.

The Newport Beach Film Festival is sponsored in part by UCI Health, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Fashion Island, Aston Martin and the City of Newport Beach.

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