Artscapes: NB Film Fest Promotes Orson Welles’ Final Film

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Orson Welles on the set of his final film
Orson Welles on the set of his final film

“Rosebud.”

That was the famous final word uttered by actor-director Orson Welles (as the character Charles Foster Kane) in his masterpiece first movie, “Citizen Kane,” made when Welles was only 25.

Now, Welles’ final film, the never-completed “The Other Side of The Wind,” may soon see the light of day (and the dark of theaters).

The Newport Beach Film Festival has announced a partnership with filmmakers who are completing “The Other Side of The Wind” to help with their campaign to raise funds to finish the film via Indiegogo, a crowd-funding platform that has proven successful for other filmmakers and artists.

The Film Festival is also planning a special Orson Welles master class event for the spring of 2016.

According to a press release from the Film Festival, 45 years after the first scenes were filmed and 30 years after Welles’ death, “The Other Side of The Wind” is the focus of a campaign to raise $1 million for editing, score and post-production.

So far, over $250,000 has been pledged in the campaign.

“I am excited to partner with Newport Beach Film Festival and to share the incredible journey of finishing Orson’s last picture with my home town of Newport Beach,” said producer Frank Marshall in a statement released by the Film Festival. “

“This film has truly been a passion project for me and I am proud to honor Orson’s legacy in this way,’ added Marshall, who worked closely with Orson Welles and served as line producer on “The Other Side of The Wind.”

As part of the partnership, the Newport Beach Film Festival will host a master class with Marshall along with director/actor Peter Bogdanovich, who is one of the actors in “The Other Side of the Wind.” The ‘Master Class’ will take place during the 2016 Newport Beach Film Festival and will be open to 100 students chosen from film schools in Southern California.

The Master Class will provide an in-depth case study of the efforts to finish Welles’ last masterwork.

Welles, who some call the “ultimate auteur,” was an acknowledged film genius but had difficulty funding his films, which lead to Welles taking acting roles that in turn paid for his movie making. He often had to abandon projects and pick them up again months later.

As the Film Festival has noted, “Newport Beach has demonstrated a strong interest in classic films and is the hometown of several notable film industry notables,” including Marshall and Peter Jason, one of the film’s actors. Both are alumni of Newport Harbor High School.

“Due to the overwhelming response to sold-out Orson Welles Centennial celebration events at the 2015 Newport Beach Film Festival in April, the Festival is thrilled to partner with the team from ‘The Other Side of the Wind,’ stated Gregg Schwenk, CEO and co-founder of the Newport Beach Film Festival. “With this collaboration, the Festival will further its mission by celebrating classic cinema and Orson Welles’ legacy and by providing educational opportunities to the next generation of filmmakers.”

According to the Film Festival, “The Other Side of the Wind” is a scathing tale of friendship, betrayal, media and ambition in Hollywood that unspools as a fast-cutting, kaleidoscopic film-within-a-film (which sounds like a fitting finale for the career of Orson Welles).

The plot: It’s the last night in the life of Jake Hannaford (John Huston), a once-legendary director trying to finish a sexy, edgy film intended to reinvent his career. In a series of encounters with reporters, studio heads, members of his entourage, acolytes and enemies, elements of Hannaford’s art and life come to the fore.

The all-star cast includes John Huston, Peter Bogdanovich, Oja Kodar, Robert Random, Lilli Palmer, Edmond O’Brien, Cameron Mitchell, Mercedes McCambridge, Norman Foster, Dennis Hopper, Paul Stewart, Peter Jason and Susan Strasberg.

To learn more about the film and the campaign, visit the film’s Indiegogo page at orsonslastfilm.com.

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