If you’re a film buff who’s dreamed of attending the Cannes Film Festival on the French Riviera, consider the Newport Beach Film Festival in Newport Beach, California. Now in its 15th year, the Newport Beach fest calls to mind the glamour of Cannes with its coastal setting, elaborate parties and a roster of more than 350 top films from 50 countries.
The 2014 festival runs April 24-May 1, with a diverse catalog of features, documentaries, shorts and animated films. Sub-categories will include art, architecture and design, environmental films, youth films, action sports films, family films as well as a collegiate film showcase. The festival will also feature a European showcase, a Pacific Rim showcase and U.K., Latin and Irish films. All films will be screened at six theaters in the Newport Beach area as well as at the Orange County Museum of Art.
Opening night will kick off with the Luke Matheny-directed Lovesick, starting Matt Leblanc, Ali Larter and Chevy Chase in the tale of a grade school principal (Leblanc) who is unlucky in love. The film will be followed at 10 p.m. by an outdoor Opening Night Gala at Fashion Island, hosted by Fashion Island and Esquire magazine with music, a hosted bar by Tito’s Vodka and Stella Artois, and culinary tastings from Orange County’s premiere restaurants.
Closing night features Chef, starring Jon Favreau, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Sofia Vergara and Dustin Hoffman in the tale of a talented L.A. chef who leaves his top restaurant job to open a food truck and recapture his love for his craft. After the film, a Closing Nigh Gala presented by the Los Angeles Times will feature entertainment, a hosted bar and hors d’oeuvres prepared by local award-winning chefs.
Other featured films will include The Immigrant, starting Joaquin Phoenix, Marion Cotillard and Jeremy Renner; Obvious Child, with Jenny Slate, Jake Lacy, Gaby Hoffman and David Cross; Cas & Dylan, starring Richard Dreyfuss and Tatiana Maslany; Growing Up and Other Lies, with Adam Brody and Amber Tamblyn and Days and Nights, starring Katie Holmes and Allison Janney.
Tickets are available online through the festival website.