Artscapes: NB Film Fest Salutes the Power of Ideas

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Scene from The Power of Ideas trailer

Ideas can be powerful things. Just ask the Newport Beach Film Festival. The theme for the 20th anniversary Film Festival that runs April 25 – May 2 is “The Power of Ideas.”

That’s also the theme of the 2019 festival trailer, which will be shown prior to each scheduled film screening during the run of the festival.

The promotional film features a young boy who is caught in the crossfire of his parents’ bitter divorce. In an effort to escape, he retreats into the comfort of his imagination. What he doesn’t realize is the power that his ideas have on the world.

According to Todd Quartararo, Newport Beach Film Festival co-founder and director of marketing, “The Power of Ideas” is about the creative power of ideas, and their potential to change the world.

“This year we celebrate our 20th anniversary, a real milestone for us,” said Quartararo. “Since its inception, the festival has stood for quality– from the creativity in storytelling to the production value in every aspect. Garage Team Mazda and REVERSE have surpassed our expectations and we are proud of the creative work they’ve accomplished with the film.”



For the second consecutive year Garage Team Mazda, a WPP agency, was engaged to create a short film to promote the festival. Erich Funke, Garage Team Mazda chief creative officer said, “As a local agency, it’s great that Garage Team Mazda can support and promote an exciting event that’s part of our community, and that stands for everything we believe in as creative thinkers.”

The script, written by Garage Team Mazda creative director Melissa Webber and writer Daniel Bremmer, aims to follow the success the agency achieved with their acclaimed work on the 2018 promotional film “Quota,” named on Adweek’s Best 25 Ads of 2018.

“Quota” was one of the best of the festival’s annual promo films, and one of the longer ones, clocking in at nearly five minutes. It told a sci-fi tale of two miners on some distant planet who battle over a precious metal motherload.

“Our goal is always to make a promotional film as compelling as the films accepted into this intensely selective festival,” said Melissa Webber, Garage Team Mazda creative director.

“Play: The Power of Ideas” was executive produced by REVERSE founder Thibaut Estellon and directed by Johan Stahl, whose short films and documentaries have garnered Sundance and Robert Awards (the Danish Oscars). The production team also featured an all-star cast that included award-winning feature director of photography Shelly Johnson, ASC.

Quartararo said the team approached the project with a lot of thought into finding the right balance juxtaposing traditional dramatic cinema techniques with elements of the gore genre.

“By grounding the story in an easily relatable reality – a classic divorce scenario with familiar tropes and gender roles – it sets the viewer up to quickly see the disparity between the parents’ world and the boy’s world, and ultimately, express central themes around imagination, cinematic storytelling, and the theme of this year’s Newport Beach Film Festival: ‘The Power of Ideas,'” said Stahl.

You can view the festival trailer on Youtube at

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