I first got involved with the Newport Beach Film Festival (NBFF) back in 2009 with my film Spooner.

Even then the festival was large, but now NBFF screens over 400 films on 14 screens during their eight-day run. In 2009, Spooner screened at their flagship venue, the Historic Regency Lido Theatre, a beautiful, 600-seat movie palace built in the 1930s. Growing up in the area, I always dreamed of seeing a film I made up on that screen, and I was proud to be able to live out that fantasy.

There’s a good reason that the Newport Beach Film Festival is the biggest film entertainment event in Orange County, and why it’s become a premiere stop on the festival circuit. Newport Beach, apart from being one of the best luxury destinations in Orange County, is home to some of the most film-loving audiences in the country. 52,000 people attended the NBFF last year alone. When my second film, Douchebag, debuted to critical success and studio interest, I was excited to return to the NBFF and screen the film to a packed house of serious filmgoers.

I got to see both sides of the festival when I served as a juror for the NBFF in 2012 and saw just how devoted the staff is to their participants. Priding themselves as a “filmmaker’s festival,” the staff of the NBFF goes out of its way to make sure the moviemakers presenting during their event are taken care of, and that each has the best screening experience possible.

Running this year from April 25 through May 2, the Newport Beach Film Festival is an event that no film lover should miss. If you live in Southern California, you have no excuse. MM

Drake Doremus’ feature films include Like Crazy, which took home the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, and the critically acclaimed films Douchebag and Spooner. Doremus’ Breathe In is currently on the festival circuit.

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