Film Fest officials: Technical problems sorted

The 2012 Newport Beach Film Festival overcame an opening weekend plagued by late starts, eventually sorting out the technical difficulties that gave projectionists trouble, organizers said.

The festival was to wrap up on Thursday night, but the large majority of showings since Monday were trouble-free, festival co-founder Todd Quartararo said.

"After the few bumps during the opening weekend, technical problems have been at a minimum or nonexistent," he said.

Theaters at Fashion Island and Triangle Square reportedly had some of the worst difficulties.

Quartararo said the problem had to do with the variety of digital formats used for submissions.

"As you can imagine, having 460 films coming in from 60 countries, we're dealing with various forms of changing technology, from DigiBeta, to HDCAM, 35 mm, DCP, DVD and Blu-ray," he said. "With Blu-ray alone, there are close to a dozen different variations."

Digital copyright protections, access codes, regional restrictions, and human error were other factors.

"In some cases, the problem is in how the DVD is burned," Quartararo added. "Any one with a small little flaw can affect how it's played. In some cases, we have filmmakers who are burning their own."

He noted that the festival uses professional crews, not volunteer projectionists.

There were reportedly delays of a half hour or so at weekend screenings of "I am not a hipster," "Bringing Up Bobby," "Nesting," "Brooklyn Castle," "Code 2600" and "Flicka: Country Pride," among several others.

On Sunday night, screenwriter Zac Sanford tweeted that his "10th film of the weekend is going to be 'Lola Versus.' And this will be the first film I attended to start on time."

Justin Aguirre, a Los Angeles photographer, said the line for a Saturday showing of "Nesting" wasn't allowed into the theater until a half-hour past showtime.

"It turned out the previous film ran a long Q-and-A and it pushed ours back," he said. "I thought it was interesting it wasn't the host from the festival but rather the director who apologized to the audience for the wait. The movie was really good, though, and a lot of the cast and crew did an awesome Q-and-A afterward. It seemed like most people forgot about the wait."

Highly anticipated screenings of "Hick," by Derick Martini and "Robot and Frank," starring Frank Langella, were canceled at the last minute, according to Matt Coker of OC Weekly.

Three movies Coker saw had other glitches, such as jumping and skipping.

Quartararo said that two no-shows out of 460 films is one of the lowest rates he can remember. No-shows often have to do with customs snares or distribution deals, he said.

"Everything else has been going really well," he said. "We've had good feedback from attendees that have been enjoying the films and the parties."

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