Newport Beach Film Festival is filled with O.C. connections

Filmmakers from as far away as Italy and Australia and as close as Fullerton and Orange will gather in Newport Beach over the next week for the 18th annual Newport Beach Film Festival.

This year’s lineup, running Thursday through April 27, will present more than 350 films from 50 countries and feature local connections, including documentary and narrative features.

The festival will open with the premiere of “Take Every Wave: The Life of Laird Hamilton” at the Edwards Big Newport 6 cinemas, and will offer film screenings at Newport’s Lido Theater and Island Cinema and the Starlight Triangle Square Cinemas in Costa Mesa, among other venues.

Among the films with Orange County connections is “Frei Otto: Spanning the Future,” produced by Newport Beach resident Simon Chiu.

The documentary, showing April 27 at the Island Cinema, profiles Otto, a late German architect and engineer known for designing tensile structures by using metal frames and lightweight membranes.

Corona del Mar resident Augie Nieto is the subject of “Augie,” a documentary also screening April 27 at the Island Cinema. It follows the entrepreneur and Life Fitness founder who continues to work toward a cure for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, with which he was diagnosed in 2005.

Burger Records, an independent record label and store based in Fullerton, is featured in “Cassette: A Documentary Mixtape,” which will be shown Saturday at the Starlight Triangle Square Cinemas.

The film includes interviews with musicians, authors, historians and cassette pioneer Lou Ottens on why the audiotape won’t die.

Huntington Beach surfer Tim Reyes is in the cast of “Under An Arctic Sky,” which will screen Monday at the Starlight cinemas. In the film, he, other surfers, an adventure photographer and a filmmaker seek out a swell in the remote fjords of Iceland’s Hornstrandir Nature Reserve.

PBS SoCal will share the personal journey of late Orange County entrepreneur, philanthropist and cultural leader Henry Segerstrom in “Henry T. Segerstrom: Imagining the Future,” which will screen Friday at the Island Cinema.

The filmchronicles Segerstrom’s unique partnerships, features interviews with artists Frank Gehry, Misty Copeland and Renee Fleming and is narrated by actor Matthew Morrison.

Matthew Charles Hall, an alumnus of Chapman University in Orange, and Jennifer Salcido direct “The Longest Road,” a documentary set in the northern Iraqi region Kurdistan. The film will be shown Tuesday at the Lido Theater and April 26 at the Starlight cinemas.

Chapman University graduates — including the film festival’s director of photography, Teruhisa Yoshida, digital imaging technician Elliott Balsley and producer John Aguirre — are involved in “The Men,” a fictional film about a genius cryptographer hired to decrypt a message found in a satellite from the future. The movie screens Sunday and Tuesday at Starlight Triangle Square.

The eight-day festival, which organizers expect to welcome 55,000 guests, also will present nightly events, galas and seminars featuring conversations with filmmakers.

For the full schedule and tickets, visit

Twitter: @KathleenLuppi

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