The curtain goes up on the 2012 edition of the Newport Beach Film Festival. Four hundred films from fifty countries will be showing at a variety of venues. Some of the films will have their premiere at the festival. Some will be opening soon in theaters. There are even some Oscar-nominated films included.
Among the films of note are Jewtopoia and Shanghai Calling which will have their world premieres at the opening and closing night galas. Opening soon (or already in limited release) are the films Girl in Progress, I Wish, The Perfect Family, Headhunters, and My Way. The festival offers a chance to see such films before everyone else. The Oscar-nominated animated film A Cat in Paris will play twice during the festival.
The festival is also a chance for filmmakers from nearby schools to show their work. There are shorts sections dedicated to short films from each school: USC, UCLA, Chapman University, Cal ARTS, Saddleback College, Orange Coast College, Cal State Fullerton, and Cal State Long Beach. There are many other shorts that are playing throughout the festival, including the Oscar-nominated Pentecost.
Saturday and Sunday have lots of films for the younger crowd including a variety of sports documentaries and films made for children. Saturday morning will have a special treat with a program of Chuck Jones Saturday Morning Cartoons because 2012 marks Chuck Jones’s centennial.
Newport Beach Film Festival also selects films each year that deal with environmental issues and a selection of “Art, Architecture + Design” films.
Among the films showing are a few that deal with religious matters. Love Free or Die is a documentary about Bishop Gene Robinson, the openly gay Episcopal Bishop and the controversy surrounding him. The Perfect Family tells of a woman who is nominated for Catholic Woman of the year, but her family just doesn’t fit the bill. In Certainty a young couple struggle through Pre Cana, the pre-marriage program of the Catholic Church. Stella Days features a 1950s clash between film and faith in Ireland. Of course, many films will help us see spiritual issues in many different ways.
As always at the beginning of a festival I’m looking forward to being surprised and to enjoying films from near and far. If you want to follow more of what’s happening at the festival, you can check #NBFF on Twitter.