Selling tickets at the Newport Beach Film Festival is so much fun because everyone, including all the film makers, Festival Guests and the press, have to see for tickets to the films. No ticket, no entry to the theater. And our volunteer theater ops folks are doing their jobs well. Yesterday I had a miffed member of the press come back to me because I'd printed a ticket for the Thursday showing of a film instead of yesterday's. The volunteer at the door wouldn't let him in because his ticket was for the wrong day. I quickly printed the right one for him and he easily made the movie. By the time he left he was smiling because I accepted responsibility and had praised the door guy for doing his job well.
We have talked to many producers, directors, writers and cast members. They get us excited about the films, and we in turn generate excitement in people who ask us what to see. It helps if the filmmakers leave promotional postcards that we can use as visual aids when suggesting films.
One Big Home Director Thomas Bena discussed his film about development on Martha's Vineyard. We here in Newport Mesa can certainly relate to the problems of that area, where smaller homes are torn down and mega-homes built in their places. This problem is acute in Newport Heights, where innumerable homes have lost their gardens as newly constructed neighboring homes block the sun. Mr. Bena stood outside the ticket booth with flyers and approached Festival goers. We had several people buy tickets because he talked to them.
Fare director Tom Torrey told us about his thriller. An uber driver picks up a fare his wife's unknown lover. A psychological drama for sure.
Since: The Bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 This documentary covers the aftermath of the Lockerbie bombing and the impacts on surviving family members. The Orange County Register did a fabulous job covering this film. The reporter interviewed the father of a stewardess who was killed on the flight. We had a former Pan Am stewardess buy a ticket. Phil Furey, the director and producer, actively promoted the film by discussing it with people outside the ticket booth. Director Dustin Kahia told us this mystery/suspense thriller was shot in four days.
Beyond What Remains actor Peter Tharos spoke to us about the grueling shoot in the Mexican desert. We discussed how easy it is to get lost out there and the challenge of staying hydrated. The film is a road trip across the Mexican heartland. He said he felt safer there than most places.
Selling Rosario was one of my favorite short films. As you watch the events happening on the screen you are lead to one interpretation of them, but the ending shows you were completely wrong, and you are so happy it was. You get goose bumps and want to watch it again. I was lucky. I screened it and could rewatch it. Festival goers won't have that chance. I was glad I could tell Michael Winokur how much I liked his film.
Have You Seen Charlie filmmakers Alexander Le Bas & Alex Brisker stopped by to discuss this cute short. Mr. Le Bas said he wanted to make a likeable story and since I screened it I can say it is one. From what he said the actress Alyvia Ann Lind was hard to book because she has such a full career. We're glad to hear it when people are successful.
Population Zero Producer Tom Spraggs explained the premise of this film so well to people that it sold out its first showing. A man gets away with murdering three people because a little-known clause in the constitution prevents him being tried. A true crime story.
Call of the Void Actor Mojean Aria caught our attention by pointing to a photo on the promotional card and announcing, "This guy's performance is amazing!" All you can see in the picture is the actor's eyes behind a pair of glasses, so we didn't recognize him, but the people with him laughed so hard it gave him away. The film must be good because it sold out its first showing.