Newport Beach Film Festival Announces 2021 Award Winners

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The Audience Award for Best Music Film went to “Like a Rolling Stone: The Life & Times of Ben Fong-Torres.”

The 22nd edition of the Newport Beach Film Festival was held in person last month and showcased more than 300 short and full length films from around the world.

During its eight-day run, the Festival hosted red carpet premieres, nightly special events, live music performances and compelling conversations with filmmakers. Highlights included the 2021 Festival Honors program celebrating Variety’s 10 Actors to Watch, International Spotlights, Centerpiece screenings, Special Programs and curated shorts programs.

The Festival’s selection committee reviewed nearly 3000 films to select the best 300+ for the festival. Those films competed for Audience, Jury and Festival Awards.

“The 2021 Awards represent excellence in original storytelling and exceptional creative talent. With a solid number of premieres, awards contenders and a strong presence of local and international films, the Festival drew enthusiastic audiences. The Festival was proud to be back on the big screen in person and host a remarkable number of filmmakers,” stated Gregg Schwenk, NBFF’s CEO / Co-Founder.

The Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature went to “Belfast.”


Best Narrative Feature: Belfast

Best Documentary Feature: Unzipped: An Autopsy of American Inequality (World Premiere)

Best International Film: The Hand of God (Italy)

Best Animated Feature: Flee

Best Art Architecture + Design Film: Tell Them We Were Here

Best Action Sports Film: *Tie* – Birth of an Endless Summer: Discovery of Cape St. Francis (World Premiere) / In the Water: Behind the Lens (World Premiere)

Best Culinary Film: Michelin Stars II – Nordic by Nature (North American Premiere)

Best Environmental Film *Tie*: Still a Black Star (World Premiere) / After the Wildfires

Best Music Film: Like a Rolling Stone: The Life & Times of Ben Fong-Torres

Best Short Narrative: Freya

Best Short Documentary *Tie*: Radical Love / Imagemaker

Best Music Video: enough.

Best Animated Short: Maestro


Narrative Feature Film

Best Film: The Falconer

Best Actor: Gabriel Byrne – Death of a Ladies Man

Best Actress: Kali Reis – Catch the Fair One

Best Director: Seán Breathnach – Shelter (Foscadh) (Ireland)

Best Cinematographer: Nicholas Bupp – The Falconer

Best Screenwriter: Adam Sjöberg / Seanne Winslow – The Falconer

Documentary Feature Film

Best Documentary: SET!

Short Films

Animated Short: Flowing Home

Narrative Short: ALA KACHUU – Take and Run

Documentary Short: Shaba


Director: Maggie Gyllenhaal -The Lost Daughter

Director: Yimou Zhang – One Second (China)

International Narrative: My Father Marianne (Sweden)

US Narrative: C’mon C’mon

Documentary: Cat Daddies

Outstanding Performance: Olivia Colman – The Lost Daughter

Outstanding Performance: Richard Jenkins – The Humans

Outstanding Performance: Amy Schumer – The Humans

Best Editing Narrative Feature: Tankhouse

Best Editing Documentary Feature: Pure Grit (Ireland, International Premiere)

Best Editing Short Film: Birdie

Short Film: The Crossing

Short Film: I Want to Make a Film About Women

Short Film: The FBI’s Secret War

Short Film: Lilias Adie

On Sunday, October 24 the Newport Beach Film Festival, in conjunction with Visit Newport Beach, celebrated outstanding achievement in film and television at the 2021 Festival Honors event at the Balboa Bay Resort.

The 2021 Festival honorees include Rosanna Arquette (Icon Award), Winston Duke (Maverick Award), Regina Hall (Artist of Distinction Award), Harvey Keitel (Lifetime Achievement Award), Ray Liotta (Icon Award), Thomasin McKenzie (Breakout Performance Award), Simon Rex (Spotlight Award), Jeffrey Wright (Variety Legend and Groundbreaker Award).

NB Film Festival co-founder Gregg Schwenk, Icon Award honoree Rosanna Arquette, NB Film Festival co-founder Todd Quartararo / photo by Charles Weinberg

The event also featured Variety’s 10 Actors to Watch awards recognizing emerging talent in film and television: Camille Cottin, Danielle Deadwyler, Leslie Grace, Moses Ingram, Emilia Jones, Jaden Michael, Justin H. Min, Angourie Rice, Filippo Scotti and Saniyya Sidney.

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 Morgan Stanley, UCI Health, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Fashion Island, Aston Martin and the City of Newport Beach. Visit

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