Newport Beach Film Festival The Absense of Eden
Zoe Saldaña in The Absence of Eden

The Newport Beach Film Festival has announced that The Absence of Eden will open the 24th annual festival and The Holdovers will close it.

Directed by Marco Perego and starring Zoe Saldaña, The Absence of Eden will play on the opening night of the festival, Thursday, Oct. 12, at the Edwards Big Newport in Newport Beach, Calif. Filmmakers will be there in person for a moderated interview before the screening.

In total, the week-long festival will feature 91 films from around the world.

24th Annual Newport Beach Film Festival Details

Executive produced by Martin Scorsese, The Absence of Eden follows an ICE agent (Garrett Hedlund) who is struggling with the moral dilemmas of border security, and an undocumented woman (Saldaña) fighting to escape a ruthless cartel. The two cross paths and work together to save the life of an innocent girl. Filmmakers will be in attendance for a moderated interview prior to the screening of The Absence of Eden.

Alexander Payne’s The Holdovers, starring Sideways star Paul Giamatti, will close the festival on Oct. 19 at the Port Theater. The movie follows a curmudgeonly instructor (Paul Giamatti) at a New England prep school who is forced to remain on campus during Christmas break to babysit the handful of students with nowhere to go. Eventually, he forms an unlikely bond with a damaged, brainy troublemaker (Dominic Sessa), as well as with the school’s head cook who has just lost a son in Vietnam (Da’Vine Joy Randolph).

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The Absence of Eden is produced by Perego and Julie Yorn along with Robert Kravis and Karl Herrmann under their Pioneer Pictures banner, as well as Alexandra Milchan. Scorsese and Rick Yorn serve as executive producers alongside Saldaña’s Cinestar Pictures, Ingenious Media, Ashland Hill, Sycuan Tribal, Ruben Islas, Jolene Rodriguez, and Stanley Preschutti.

From Focus Features, The Holdovers is produced by Mark Johnson, Bill Block, and David Hemingson. Chris Stinson, Tom Williams, Andrew Golov, and Thom Zadra all serve as executive producers.

The festival’s centerpiece and spotlight films include A Whole Life, Double Blind, Frontiers, Honey Sweet, Freelance, Fingernails, Gentleman, Woken, In the Name of the Father, May December, Monster, NYAD, Only the River Flows, Radical, Rustin, Second Act, The First Day of My Life, Verdigris, Live and Without Her.

Find tickets and passes and see the full festival lineup here.

Main Image: Zoe Saldaña in The Absence of Eden