Film Festival has opening night at Big Newport

The opening night of the annual Newport Beach Film Festival, featuring the world premiere of director Bryan Fogel's "Jewtopia," was marked by celebrities and a packed theater at the Edwards Big Newport.

Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Ivan Sergei, Joel David Moore, Tom Arnold and Rachel G. Fox were among the film and television actors who showed up Thursday night for the red carpet and screening at Big Newport.

The screening was followed by a gala at Fashion Island.

The Daily Pilot is a sponsor of the festival.

Fogel, a first-time director, along the co-writer on the film, Sam Wolfson, were also in attendance.

"I'm really excited," Fogel said. "Hopefully, tonight in front of this big audience, it'll go over well — it better."

"Jewtopia" is a romantic comedy starring Sergei ("Gravity," "Charmed," "Crossing Jordan"), Moore ("Avatar," "Gone," "Bones") and Jennifer Love Hewitt ("Can't Hardly Wait," "Party of Five," "The Client List"). It follows two best friends as one prepares to marry into a traditional Jewish family and the other seeks help to land his own dream girl.

Sergei plays one of the two best friends, Christian O'Connell, who is trying to marry a Jewish girl with the help of his Jewish friend.

Sergei, who plays one of the two best friends who is trying to marry a Jewish girl with the help of his Jewish friend.

When asked why festival attendees should see the film, he said, "I just really think that racism and sexism are still really prevalent in our society. I'm of the belief that you can laugh at anything if the comedy is done right."

The film's screenplay is an adapted version of the stage play, which opened in Los Angeles in 2004 to sold-out audiences for more than 300 shows during a 16-month period, according to the "Jewtopia" website.,

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