Sunday, April 24, 2016

Selling Tickets at the Newport Beach Film Festival

2016 Newport Beach Film FestivalWe at GHPALS are great supporters of the Newport Beach Film Festival. Our scribe is working at the Fashion Islands ticket counter full time through the run of the Festival and will be blogging on the experience.

We in ticket sales have an opportunity to promote a film because we are often asked what films are good. "They're all good, or they wouldn't be in the Festival," may be true, but it isn't helpful. A better answer is to ask the potential ticket buyers what kind of film they like and suggesting films based on the response they give.

I can only do that if I know something about the films. While I screened 474 of them, I watched mostly shorts and documentaries. My ticket selling compadres didn't screen any.

2016 Newport Beach Film FestivalWe compensate by taking advantage of our unique position. EVERYONE has to see us to get a ticket for a film, so we see all the press, Festival guests and, most importantly, the filmmakers. Their badges are clearly marked so we always ask them to tell us about their films. We encourage them to give us posters and post cards to help promote their films. When someone asks us about a film, it is so helpful to have a card to hand them as we talk about the film.

I won't have time to write about everyone I talked to because I'm working 12 hour days, but here's the highlights of Friday and Saturday.

Irina Ugolnikova, the force behind Battalion, the film about the Russian female general who led a battalion of women in World War 1, stopped by and I was really excited to meet her. I confess I gushed about her film because I really liked it. I asked for more cards because I'd run out of them. She told me there is still mystery about the general's death. The official story is she was executed by the Bolsheviks for supporting the Mensheviks, but there are stories of her appearing in Shanghai, America and other places. With the destruction of records through war, changing regimes, etc. the record is unclear. Ms Ugolnikova was a delight.

The team behind The Lennon Report have been wonderful to us. They brought posters and the sticky stuff to hang them up, to make our jobs easier. And to show their appreciation they gave us a box of chocolate truffles. Their movie sounds so interesting as they tracked down the reporter who broke the story of John Lennon's shooting (he just happened to be a patient in the hospital where Lennon was brought). He apparently had one hell of a time getting to a phone to call in the story. The film makers also found the doctor who actually operated on Lennon. The one who's taken the credit all these years was in the operating room for less than five minutes. They smoked this out by interviewing the nurses. The film sounds so interesting. Wish I could go.

Nobody Walks in LA director Jesse Shapiro brought us his extra tickets to give away. His show was sold out and people were eager to see it. He made some folks very happy and we thank him for it.

Chasing the Win executive producer Laura Sheehy stopped by. Her film on her father, Newport Beach oncologist Patrick Sheehy, and his race horse Kinsale King sounds wonderful. My daughter went to the races at Los Alamitos Friday (crossing something off her bucket list) and this movie sounds perfect for her right now. Apparently Kinsale King was a phenomenon, racing all around the world, from Ascot to Dubai, and the film tells their story.

Gotta run now. More tomorrow as I report on the other nice folks I met.

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