2007 Newport Film Festival Brings Amazing Film Within Students’ Reach

The greatest thing about film festivals stems from their unbridled ability to accept all forms of filmmaking. No fake tans, special effects or token movie stars found here. It’s work done for the love of the art, and with film festivals, artists have a venue for their work to be appreciated by advocates of the art and plain-old movie buffs alike.
Particularly with this year’s Newport Beach Film Festival, running until Saturday, April 28, the wide range of film genres being shown has a niche for everyone’s tastes. With full-length feature films, shorts, documentaries, action sports caught on tape and something for the kids, the festival seems prepared to go beyond the normal film festival’s expectations.
Patrons can also expect a varying milieu of themed series, including seminars for adults and kids alike and some extras for the after-hours party crowd, in addition to films from nearly every major genre.
Although most of the feature films run at a pretty penny, there are some feature films, including documentaries and other short features, that are worth doling out a portion of your paycheck.
One particular documentary, ‘The Artfusion Experiment,’ playing on Monday, April 23 at 9 p.m., delves into the multi-faceted world of tattooing. Going back on its culture practices and coming into today’s tattoo mania, the film showcases today’s tattoo world through some highly skilled artists. This film is a huge project, resulting in an effective collaborative effort.
Since this is Newport Beach, the multitude of surf movies is not surprising. ‘Chasing the Dream’ showcases eight Huntington Beach high-school kids trying to pursue a career in surfing. This documentary, narrated by Gary Busey, was bound to make a good impression. ‘Kurt Cobain: About a Son’ features notable music journalist Michael Azerrad and hours of unheard audiotape interviews which provide an account of Cobain’s life from his own perspective. These conversations are made public for the first time in this documentary, revealing a ‘highly personal portrait of an artist much discussed but not particularly well understood.’
A somewhat underrated and simultaneously uncontrollable phenomenon lies in the super-fan. This isn’t your run-of-the-mill fan who appreciates the art, maybe collects a few limited-edition DVDs and has one or two figurines in their original packaging. Several documentaries showcase the ‘Star Wars’ fan, their will to brave the streets, camping out for days in ‘The Last Line’ and their obsession with turning fiction into a reality with ‘Heart of an Empire.’
With the feature films, aside from your film-school productions of elaborate, drawn-out emotional scenes with poignant music and expressive faces, stand some truly original works of art.
‘Dante’s Inferno’ is an adaptation of the original, filmed in the style of toy theater puppetry. As he travels through the depths of Hell with his formidable guide, Virgil, the story of the ‘Inferno’ unfolds in an animated way, rarely seen but highly appreciated.
In ‘Broken English,’ Parker Posey is another over-30 modern woman living out the height of her career in Manhattan and, to bring this typical character full circle, she’s cynical about love. Premiere writer/director Zoe Cassavetes’ film takes Nora Wilder (Posey) through the tumultuous ride of finding her soul mate, even if that means crossing an ocean or two.
‘Bickford Schmekler’s Cool Idea’ brings to life that one kid when you were growing up who thought his tin-foil hat would protect him from alien invasions and knew for sure his next idea to create a remote control-operated whatever to save the universe was a sure-fire shot. In this fast-paced punk-rock comedy, we’re introduced to a kid who has a few bumps in his road to success, like the always-expected sexy love interest who conveniently seeks to thwart his plans of stardom.
Most interesting is to see all of what might come of a huge collaboration of filmmakers and organizers. Seek out the films that interest you in an Orange County theater near you. You may not arrive on a red carpet, arm-in-arm with Mister Tuxedo or that slinky dress in stiletto heels, but the Newport Beach Film Festival’s appeal goes across the board. There really is something for everyone.