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22nd annual Newport Beach Film Festival returns in-person after digital hiatus

Doug Palladini, president of Vans, from left, Christian Hosoi, Pro Skater, and Steve Van Doren, Paul Van Doren's son, pose.
Doug Palladini, president of Vans, from left, Christian Hosoi, pro skater, and Steve Van Doren, the son of Paul Van Doren, pose during the red carpet event for the 22nd annual Newport Beach Film Festival at the Regal Edwards Big Newport.
(James Carbone)

Lights, camera, action! — the Newport Beach Film Festival is up and rolling again this weekend after the pandemic kept its visitors from seeing their film premieres on the silver screen last year.

The festival began Thursday night at the Regal Edwards Big Newport with a red carpet event and screening of “Never Catch Pigeons: And Eleven More Hard Lessons from Mr. Paul Van Doren,” a documentary on the life of Paul Van Doren, who helped found shoe company Vans. Van Doren died in May.

Paul Van Doren Jr. and his wife Mary Van Doren during the red carpet event for the Newport Beach Film Festival.
Paul Van Doren Jr. and his wife Mary Van Doren during the red carpet event for the Newport Beach Film Festival.
(James Carbone)

The film was directed by festival alumni Doug Pray.

The festival will continue through Oct. 28 and conclude with a showing of “War on the Diamond,” a documentary of former Cleveland Indians shortstop Ray Chapman — the only Major League Baseball player to die directly from an injury sustained during a game when he was hit in the head by a pitch — and the rivalry his 1920 death led to.

Tickets to attend closing night cost $95 and the event is open only to those over the age of 21.

More than 100 films will be showcased through the eight-day festival.

The Newport Beach Film Festival, founded in 1999, is traditionally held in April. This year it was delayed to October, following the state’s official reopening.

Festival organizers said in June the festival’s fall relaunch would position it strategically in the middle of the Academy Award season, which could allow the festival to feature potential contenders in that race.

About 56,000 people attend the festival annually.

“The Newport Beach Film Festival is extremely excited to be back on the big screen,” said chief executive officer and executive director Gregg Schwenk in a statement issued Thursday.

“We are proud to bring outstanding global cinema to our local theaters. This year’s incredible lineup of narrative features, nonfiction films and curated shorts programs reflect the incredible storytelling talents of our filmmakers,” Schwenk said. “We are thrilled to open and close the festival with documentary films that have strong Orange County connections.”

Legendary skateboarder Tony Hawk smiles with Steve Van Doren.
Legendary skateboarder Tony Hawk smiles with Steve Van Doren during the red carpet event for the Newport Beach Film Festival.
(James Carbone)

For more information about the festival, visit newportbeachfilmfest.com.

Tickets and information about the screenings can be found at nbff2021.eventive.org.

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