Newport Beach Film Festival returns films to the big screen October 21 – Orange County Register

Cinema has a way of bringing people together to learn, to be entertained and for a short time to escape reality.

“Cinema has always been a unifying force in our society. Since its inception, films and films have brought people together, ”said Gregg Schwenk, CEO and co-founder of the Newport Beach Film Festival which begins Thursday, October 21 and runs through October 28.

Like many festivals that had to take a break from large gatherings last year, the Newport Beach Film Festival is still struggling to recoup losses from the pandemic. Last year, the festival only had a small rooftop screening with 95% of its programming broadcast virtually, Schwenk said.

“I don’t want to be in the Netflix mini business,” Schwenk said of the movies he says are meant to be seen on the big screen, not at home. “The past year has been devastating for the festival. We have lost 90% of turnover and 80% of personnel.

“We’ve really taken the last year and a half slowly to rebuild,” he said, “and we’re really doing our best to put on an amazing show.”

Now in its 22nd year, the festival is making a strong comeback this year with 300 films from 50 different countries screened over eight nights.

“We think the Newport Beach Film Festival, given its breadth and diverse offerings, really helps shine a light on the unique storytellers and people that make up Southern California,” said Schwenk – some 60,000 spectators. are waiting.

The world premiere of “Never Catch Pigeons: And Eleven More Hard Lessons From Mr. Paul Van Doren” is based on the life of the Vans co-founder who helped create the Costa Mesa-based action sports brand. It will air on the opening night of the Newport Beach Film Festival on October 21, 2021. (Courtesy of Vans)

The opening night film, “Never Catch Pigeons: And 11 More Hard Lessons From Mr. Paul Van Doren,” is based on the life of the Vans co-founder who helped create the action sports brand. based in Costa Mesa.

“It’s insightful, funny, very loving,” Schwenk said. “And this is truly the story of an individual who reshaped the sartorial landscape not only of Southern California, but of the world as well.”

Van Doren’s son Steve, who has worked for the brand since it started out at a small factory in Anaheim, said that during the film’s two years of filming he would show clips to his father, who died in May.

“He would just smile,” said Steve Van Doren. “He had no criticism.”

The filmmakers returned to Van Doren’s hometown of Boston where it all began, including the old factory where Paul Van Doren worked with his brother James, before moving to Southern California a year later in 1966 and creating their own business with other investors called the Van Doren Rubber Company, now known as Vans.

“The film is sensational,” said Steve Van Doren, adding that director Doug Pray has turned the story around his father’s 12 life lessons.

It is the story of a man who failed in ninth grade, but discovered that “America is the land of dreams,” said Steve Van Doren. “His legacy is now going to be in the movie, and how Vans started and what we’ve been through for 55 years. Lots of great lessons and miracles and just a great, fun story.

Steve Van Doren, nicknamed the Brand’s Ambassador of Pleasure, is also excited to host an event for the first time in over 18 months.

The after-party will feature a 32-foot green ramp on which Tony Hawk and others will show off their skateboarding skills, as well as a Warped Tour stage featuring legendary skateboarder Steve Caballero’s band, Van Doren said.

The life of another Southern California action sports icon, Dick Metz, will also be shown on the big screen with the premiere of “The Birth of the Endless Summer: Discovery of Cape St. Francis”, which airs October 26. at the New Port Theater and October 28 at The Lot Fashion Island.

Dick Metz, a surfer who inspired the movie The Endless Summer, was the first to discover Cape Saint-François and helped bring surfing to life in Africa. His story will be told on the big screen at the Newport Beach Film Festival with the film “The Birth of Endless Summer: Discovery of Cape Saint-François”. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen / SCNG)

The 86-minute film directed by Richard Yelland chronicles how Metz stumbled upon the surf spot in Africa during a three-year hitchhiking adventure, then returned to recount his discovery to his friend and filmmaker Bruce Brown. He rose to fame a few years later in the cult film “The Endless Summer”.

The film not only relives the discovery, but also Metz’s role in modern surfing and his influence in the introduction and expansion of the sport in Africa. Appearances include longtime friend Hobie Alter, “The Endless Summer” star Robert August and 11-time world champion Kelly Slater.

Dick Metz with a Maasai warrior in Kenya in 1963 on a three year hitchhiking surf trip. Metz, a surfer who inspired the movie The Endless Summer, was the first to discover Cap Saint-François and helped bring surfing to life in Africa. His story will be told on the big screen at the Newport Beach Film Festival with the film “The Birth of Endless Summer: Discovery of Cape Saint-François”. (Photo courtesy of Dick Metz)

Festival films are screened at The Lot, The Port, Big Newport, The Triangle and South Coast Village.

Among them is the “largest collection of what we think are films in the running,” Schwenk said.

His top picks for films that create buzz: “BELFAST”, “C’mon C’mon”, “The Lost Daughter”, “Mothering Sunday”, “The Hand of God”, “Passing”,: Spencer “, “One Second”, “The Power of the Dog”, “Humans” and “Shelter”.

“One of the things we have achieved about the Newport Beach Film Festival is that we have a very large part of our audience who are members of the Guild or the Academy,” he said. declared. “All of these viewers are so hungry to see films that will be in contention for major awards.”

There is also an “International Spotlight” showing films from diverse cultures from around the world, including Ireland, Australia, Vietnam and beyond.

“Songs of Little Saigon” showcases the musical talent of Americans of Vietnamese descent whose “hope and resilience propelled the rebuilding of their lives in Southern California after fleeing war-torn Vietnam,” said the description of the film. “These refugees have become musically active leaders and role models in the Vietnamese community where they now reside. “

The Closing Night film is the west coast premiere of Andy Billman’s “War on the Diamond,” a story that delves into Major Baseball League rivalries – one of the most important of all, a 100-year-old feud born out of one pitch that killed an opposing hitter.

“A deep and enduring rivalry between the New York Yankees and the Cleveland Indians began with that fatal throw in 1920,” the description reads, recounting how Cleveland star shortstop Ray Chapman was “harassed “by Yankees pitcher Carl Mays. “That deadly shot launched the Indians to their first-ever World Series victory and a seemingly endless rivalry with the Yankees.”

The closing film will premiere at 7 p.m. on October 28 at the New Port Theater.

In addition to the films, there will be afters, filmmaker Q&A and other special events. More info or for tickets: NewportBeachFilmFest.com.


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Gerald R. Schneider

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