A documentary on the life of Ronald Reagan will make its world premiere on the silver screen Thursday night at Newport Beach's Regency Lido Theatre.
The screening of the 100-minute film, "Ronald Reagan: An American Journey," was organized by private parties independent of the city's recent approval of a project to commission a statue of the 40th president, , Councilman Keith Curry said.
However, with what would have been Reagan's 100th birthday approaching Feb. 6, the screening is a way to honor him as the "iconic symbol of optimism."
"The thing about Reagan is how he helped Americans gain self confidence, which is certainly something we need today," Curry said.
Curry has been a chief proponent on the City Council for honoring the late Republican Party icon on the centennial of his birth in an apartment above a local bank in Tampico, Ill.
Last year, when Curry was mayor, he proposed having a city park renamed in honor of Reagan on the centennial, but the council rejected that proposal. Later, Curry proposed that a statue of Reagan be commissioned and paid for through private donations.
The council approved the second proposal but has yet to decide where to place the statue. Curry, who served as an assistant to the head of the Federal Transportation Administration during Reagan's presidency in the 1980s, has said that he would like to see the statue go up outside the city's future Civic Center. And, because 77% of Newport Beach voters supported Reagan for re-election in 1984 , the location is appropriate, Curry said.
The film's director, Robert Kline, who also directed a documentary on the Kennedy family, is known for being able to capture a "personal" feeling on film, said Larry Porcelli, regional director for Regency Theatres.
"The movie is just so touching because it wasn't pro-this or anti-that, just about the spirit of Mr. Reagan," Porcelli said of the film that features excerpts from many of Reagan's speeches during his years as California's governor and in the White House.
"It was so touching, I almost cried," Porcelli added.
Tickets for the one-night screening at the Lido Theatre, which houses 600 seats, are still available, Porcelli said. Tickets can be bought at http://www.RegencyMovies.com.
However, if tickets sell out, the film will be available for rent and sale in stores at major retailers around the end of February, Porcelli said.