There is no shortage of unique lifestyles in Southern California. There is also no shortage of film festivals but only one, the Newport Beach Film Festival (NBFF), has a stated dedication to reflecting as much diversity as possible. Its 16th annual edition will take place April 23rd-30th at multiple venues in and around its host city.
More than 53,000 people attended one or more screenings during last year’s event. Past festivals have drawn such filmmakers and celebrities as John Waters, Alan Arkin, Aaron Sorkin, Penelope Spheeris and Michael C. Hall to Orange County. Founded in 1999, NBFF “seeks to bring to Orange County the best of classic and contemporary filmmaking from around the world.” It is also committed to “enlightening the public with a first-class international film program, a forum for cultural understanding and enriching educational opportunities.” Tickets for this year’s fest offerings may be purchased by visiting their website or calling 949-253-2880.
In addition to films targeting youth, seniors, various ethnic groups, nature lovers and more, the fest annually incorporates features and shorts appealing to LGBT viewers. Here’s a rundown of the LGBT offerings on tap this year:
Barrio Boy (Directed by Dennis Shinners, USA):
A Latino barber secretly falls in love with a handsome Irish stranger over the course of a haircut during a hot summer afternoon in a macho Brooklyn neighborhood. Shinners won the Best Director - Short Film award for this at last fall’s Long Beach Qfilm Festival.
Ma/ddy (Directed by Devon Kirkpatrick, USA):
A genderqueer widow carries a child using her late wife's embryo, creating a family that will forever link her to the love of her life. Starring Mel Shimkovitz (Transparent) and Clea Duvall (Argo).
Like Breathing (Directed by Liz Cooper, Australia):
Max, a mechanic for her father and caretaker for her disabled sister, feels stuck and doesn't have the courage to say anything until one day when she meets Bel.
Elder (Directed by Genéa Gaudet, USA):
A young gay man stands at a crossroad between who he is and who he is expected to be in this documentary chronicling a forbidden love affair between a Mormon missionary and an Italian Communist.
Stealth (Directed by Bennett Lasseter, USA):
Born a boy, 11-year old Sammy knows she's a girl and is determined to live her life as one, even as pressures build from the other kids at school.
The Future Perfect (Directed by Nicolas Citton, Canada):
One man is hired to do a job that makes him question every impulse in his body, until he sees a future he cannot unlearn in this time travel tale starring out actor Zachary Quinto (Star Trek) and Robert Baker (True Blood).
Lady of the Night (Directed by Laurent Boileau, France):
The anniversary of the death of his lover, Cornelius, revives Samuel's memories. Desperate, he retires to his room and seeks refuge in his night life. He becomes a Queen of the Night, in tribute to his lost love.
First Love (Céad Ghrá) (Directed by Brian Deane, Ireland):
A nostalgic coming of age story about two best friends who set out on a quest in pursuit of their first crush.
TRIPTYCH: 3 Women Making Art (Directed by Pam Walton, USA):
The unique stories of three female artists who have remained vibrant and creative well into their 70’s.
Preview by Rev. Chris Carpenter, resident film critic of Movie Dearest and Rage Monthly Magazine.