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Newport Beach Film Festival rolls out the red carpet

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From left, K. Rocco Shields and David Tillman, from “Love is All you Need?,” and actress Katherine La Nasa laugh as they arrive at the opening night red carpet party for world premiere of “After the Reality” at the Edward’s Big Newport on opening night of the 2016 Newport Beach Film Festival on Thursday.

(Don Leach / Daily Pilot)

The red carpet was rolled out for stars, City Council members and movie executives at Edwards Big Newport Cinemas on Thursday night for the opening of the 17th annual Newport Beach Film Festival and the premiere of “After the Reality.”

“It’s a world-class event that just gets better every year,” said Newport Beach Mayor Diane Dixon, who mentioned that she was most interested in watching “Dirty Old Wedge,” since the film takes place at the piece of shoreline along the Balboa Peninsula in Newport Beach famous for its waves.

“I love the fact that this festival brings an economic impact to Newport Beach and we love to see people putting this city on the map. It’s such an important part of our community,” Dixon said.

Other notables who attended the evening’s red carpet event included Newport Beach council members Kevin Muldoon, Marshall “Duffy” Duffield and former mayor Ed Selich.

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Chef Pascal Olhats, one of Orange County’s most-honored chefs, was happy to represent the culinary side at the opening. He runs restaurants, Pascal in San Juan Capistrano and Cafe Jardin at Sherman Library & Gardens in Corona del Mar.

Olhats is the subject of documentary feature film “La Tradition,” which follows the recognized chef’s influence on Orange County and the stories behind his restaurants, culinary creations and the local chefs he trained.

The sold-out film, which will premiere Saturday at Island Cinema, shows Olhats’ culinary career beginning 25 years ago. There is humor, edgy material and some serious philosophical discussions on being a chef, he said.

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“A lot of people want to be chefs, but you don’t become a well-known chef if you don’t have great people in the kitchen,” Olhats said. “You can’t cook alone.”

During last year’s Newport Beach Film Festival, Jeff Fliegler of Orange County food culture website Grub Tribe, met Olhats at the event and asked to do a documentary on the celebrated chef.

For a year, Fliegler and his father and cinematographer, David, interviewed Olhats and fellow chefs who studied under his tutelage.

Olhats, who has seen the film on his computer, said he has mixed emotions about watching himself and his story on the big screen.

“My ego is big,” he said, joking. “This will make it bigger.”

Actors who attended the event included Orange County native Matthew Morrison, best-known for his roles on television show “Glee” and his multiple roles on Broadway.

Morrison is the star of the festival’s premiere, “After the Reality,” which also features actors Juan Pablo Di Pace and John Heard, who also walked the red carpet.

The film tells the story of Scottie Olsen, portrayed by Morrison, who escapes a dating reality television show when he learns his father is terminally ill. After his father’s death, Scottie is forced to quit the show and reunite at his family’s cabin with his estranged sister.

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Morrison called the film’s main character dark, but said it was a funny and touching story about loss and family dynamics.

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FOR THE RECORD

11:43 a.m., April 22: An earlier version of this post misidentified John Hermann in photo captions. He is the producer of “After the Reality,” not a cast member.

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Other personalities featured actress and talk-show host Aisha Tyler who stars in the festival’s “The Shadow of Our Togetherness,” and four-time Olympian and Silver Medalist water polo player Tony Azevedo.

After Thursday’s night movie, the festival was set to host an opening night gala at Fashion Island, featuring culinary tastings from 25 Orange County restaurants.

The eight-day festival, running till April 28, will showcase more than 350 films from around the world and will hit the screen at venues ranging from the Triangle in Costa Mesa to Edwards Big Newport and Island Cinema.

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“This shines a spotlight on Newport Beach,” Gregg Schwenk, CEO of the festival, said before heading into the sold-out film premiere. “This is a way we can share the beauty of filmmaking and Newport Beach with the world.”

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