Movie Festivals Abound This Fall All through Orange County

Autumn brings to thoughts cornucopias, and there’s actually an considerable cornucopia of indie movies and movie festivals coming to Orange County this October.

The 13th version of the Viet Movie Fest kicks off nearly Saturday, with in-person screenings beginning subsequent Friday, Oct. 7. That fest runs via Oct. 15.

The second annual Dome Fest West at Orange Coast Faculty’s Planetarium runs Oct. 6-9. The 13th annual OC Movie Fiesta begins Oct. 13 and runs via Oct. 23.

And the granddaddy of all of them, the twenty third annual Newport Seashore Movie Pageant, opens Oct. 13 and runs via Oct. 20. 

Although they could have a humiliation of riches on their palms, native movie competition organizers insist that their choices ought to enhance one another, not crowd each other out of {the marketplace} – and out their viewers’s time and head area. Right here’s a take a look at what’s developing.

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Viet Movie Fest

When: Oct. 1-15
The place: Century Huntington Seashore and XD, 7777 Edinger Ave., Suite 170, Huntington Seashore (Oct. 7 and eight) and on-line
Value: $15 per screening (in individual or on-line)

The Viet Movie Fest, offered by the Vietnamese American Arts & Letters Affiliation, canceled its 2020 program as a result of pandemic, and provided a hybrid program in 2021, with some in-person screenings and a few on-line via Eventive.

This yr, the hybrid mannequin will return, however the principle venue has modified to the Century Huntington Seashore and XD, with in-person screenings on Oct. 7 and eight.

“It’s so thrilling for us to carry the competition so near Little Saigon in a brand new venue,” mentioned Tran Lee, this yr’s Viet Movie Fest occasions director. “We have now by no means been quite a lot of miles away from the center of Little Saigon and some streets down from key historic landmarks equivalent to Asian Backyard Mall. The competition will probably be at Century Theater Huntington Seashore, a spacious and standard native theater with luxurious seating and a big foyer space.”

By screening most movies final yr on-line in a movies-on-demand format, VFF organizers found that their viewers expanded throughout the nation and internationally as nicely. 

“Viewers had been coming from throughout North America, a very good handful coming from Europe as nicely,” mentioned Eric Nong, creative director of the competition. “They may not have in any other case flown to Southern California, so we wish to maintain that choice for them. We nonetheless have our native roots, proper? On the identical time, let’s cater to the oldsters overseas.”

This yr’s movie fest had 66 submissions, and from that, a fastidiously chosen number of 12 options and 21 brief movies will make up the official lineup. Among the many characteristic movies, 5 are North American premieres, and 5 will probably be U.S. premieres. Movies are coming in from Canada, France, Germany, Vietnam and naturally, the U.S., with English subtitles obtainable.  

The competition will open with “Maika – The Lady from One other Planet,” Ham Tran’s children-friendly sci-fi film, which premiered at Sundance earlier this yr and can solely be screened in-person through the competition. The film will probably be proven within the authentic Vietnamese, in addition to with an English dub by a Vietnamese American solid.

Tran is thought for his 2006 award-winning epic, “Journey From the Fall,” in addition to for another movies made in Vietnam, equivalent to 2017’s “She’s the Boss” and 2013’s “Find out how to Struggle in Six Inch Heels.”

The Viet Movie Fest will proceed to host free public screenings throughout Neighborhood Day. Curated for highschool college students, the theme this yr is “Pulling By,” which inspires its topics to discover what it means to be themselves within the face of familial, private and societal challenges. Lots of the movies in “Pulling By” will probably be coming-of-age movies, grappling with artwork, bullying, romance, custom and self-acceptance.

Additionally a part of Neighborhood Day is “Come Collectively,” a free brief movie program for seniors. “Come Collectively” will enable viewers to look at points confronted by Vietnamese adults – depicted in summary, based mostly on present occasions, and in strained familial relationships.

One other spotlight would be the screening of “What About China?” a documentary by distinguished filmmaker and scholar Trinh T. Minh Ha. It’ll display screen at 2 p.m. Oct. 8 at Century Huntington Seashore and XD.

The Viet Movie Fest will shut with the U.S. premiere of “Blood Moon Get together,” directed by Nguyen Quang Dung. It’ll display screen at 8 p.m. Oct. 8 and on-line from Oct. 8-15. Within the movie, seven longtime mates get collectively for dinner and share with one another the contents of each textual content, e-mail and cellphone name they’ve acquired.

Dome Fest West

When: Oct. 6-9
The place: Orange Coast Faculty Planetarium, 2701 Fairview Street, Costa Mesa
Value: $15-$325

Coming again for its second yr on the OCC Planetarium, Dome Fest West expands the probabilities of movie and leisure because it makes use of the planetarium as a 360-degree movie theater, transporting viewers past the everyday rectangular display screen. 

“The dome is sort of a portal into the metaverse or into digital worlds,” mentioned co-founder of Dome Fest West Ed Lantz. “The lights go down. The theater disappears. Recreate actuality by mapping a pixel onto each nerve ending in your retina.”

This yr’s competition and convention will probably be screening over 45 movies/media exhibits and incorporating workshops, trade panels, events and displays for brand new know-how. 

Dome Fest West prides itself in bringing collectively individuals from throughout the filmmaking group, together with native immersive content material creators equivalent to Marina del Rey artist and filmmaker Mikhaila Stettler.

Stettler submitted her movie “Star Youngsters In The Realm Of Limitless Chance,” which Stettler initially created as a VR expertise from one among her 2D movies of her ephemeral sculptures  throughout her artist-in-residency at Enter The Metaverse 2021 convention. 

Stettler’s movie is about limitless potentialities that includes white, studded stars known as star kids who journey the universe and produce “pleasure, peace and star magic” wherever they go. With an authentic rating, sound design and spoken-word narrative, the movie dives right into a miniature world created in a sand tray using totally different textures and vibrant colours. 

“Full dome movies 360 cinema is not only for science astronomy planetarium movies anymore, it’s the brand new wave,” Stettler mentioned. “And (Orange County) occurs to have, at OCC, probably the greatest planetariums within the nation. So I might actually encourage individuals who reside regionally to take benefit and are available to the movie competition and see what’s happening.”

Highlights Embrace:

  • “Lands of the Americas,” produced by Pascal Pelletier and directed by Patrick Bossé. a “street film” that celebrates the life and the 60 years of creative work by multidisciplinary artist René Derouin. The plot connects Derouin’s creative creations with the important locations of his journey. 
  • “Final Whispers,” produced and directed by Lena Herzog, spouse of famend German filmmaker Werner Herzog. The movie addresses the disappearance of assorted indigenous languages, bringing consciousness to the speedy and mass extinction of those languages. 
  • “Bébé Symphonique,” produced by Nicolas Lemieux, Isabelle Painchaud and directed by Marcella Grimaux. Made for younger viewers members (beginning to 18 months) and their mother and father, “Bébé Symphonique” combines 2D, 3D and frame-by-frame animation to carry its viewers a world of colours, shapes and textures. The present strikes to the rhythm of the album “Bébé Symphonique,” carried out by the Montreal Symphony Orchestra.

Newport Seashore Movie Pageant

When: Oct. 13-20
The place: The Lot at Trend Island, Edwards Massive Newport, the New Port Theater in Corona del Mar and Starlight Triangle Cinemas in Costa Mesa
Value: Opening evening is $275, consists of gala; closing evening is $145, consists of gala; normal tickets are $15 earlier than 5 p.m. and $20 after 5 p.m.; highlight movies are $50 (consists of after-party)

The 23rd annual Newport Seashore Movie Pageant – which has been rising in status, sponsor participation and measurement – is returning for a second post-pandemic yr to in-person screening and gatherings. This yr’s fest will showcase greater than 350 movies from around the globe, together with a number of world premieres, red-carpet galas and Q&As with filmmakers.  

Highlights will embrace Pageant Honors celebrating Selection’s “10 Actors to Watch,” worldwide highlight occasions, and specifically themed packages (motion sports activities; artwork, structure and design; culinary; environmental; household and music movies).

The competition will open Thursday, Oct. 13, with an eight-day run of “Bizarre: The Al Yankovic Story,” starring Daniel Radcliffe, Evan Rachel Wooden, Rainn Wilson and others. Contemporary from the Toronto Worldwide Movie Pageant, the place it gained the Individuals’s Alternative Award within the Midnight Insanity class, “Bizarre” will display screen at 7 p.m. at Edwards Massive Newport. Directed by Eric Appel and written by Appel and Yankovic, “Bizarre” tells the unexaggerated true story of essentially the most profitable parody rock musician of our time.

Following the premiere of “Bizarre,” Trend Island will as soon as once more host the Opening Night time Gala, that includes samples from greater than two dozen of the world’s high eating places, together with a hosted bar. Company will get to see a sneak peek efficiency from the Broadway manufacturing of “Moulin Rouge! The Musical.”

The closing movie on Thursday, Oct. 20 will probably be “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Thriller,” a sequel to “Knives Out” written and directed by Rian Johnson and starring Daniel Craig, Edward Norton, Janelle Monáe, Kathryn Hahn, Leslie Odom Jr., Jessica Henwick, Kate Hudson, Madelyn Cline and Dave Bautista. “Glass Onion” will display screen at 7:45 p.m. on the New Port Theater in Corona del Mar.

In distinction to earlier years, when the ultimate gala adopted the movie, the Closing Night time Gala will happen earlier than the closing movie at Sherman Library & Gardens, 2647 E. Coast Freeway, Corona del Mar. Attendees will get to get pleasure from culinary creations by 608 Dahlia and different native eating places, together with a hosted bar and reside leisure.

“The Newport Seashore Movie Pageant is thrilled to bookend this yr’s version with two unimaginable movies that characteristic stellar expertise and memorable storytelling,” mentioned Gregg Schwenk, CEO and government director of NBFF. “We’re proud to carry excellent international cinema and compelling filmmaker conversations to Southern California. This yr’s program is the strongest in our 23-year historical past.”

Movies will display screen at 4 Orange County venues: The Lot at Trend Island, Edwards Massive Newport, the New Port Theater and Starlight Triangle Cinemas in Costa Mesa. Domestically created productions embrace “Massive Wave Guardians: First Responders of the Sea,” “Shopping for Her,” “The Friendship,” “The Human Trial,” “Humanity Stoked,” “Sound of the Surf” and “Wes Schlagenhauf is Dying.”

OC Movie Fiesta

When: Oct. 13-23
The place: On-line and in individual at Tele Visions & Giga Bytes (TVGB) Middle, 1666 N. Predominant St., Santa Ana, and different Orange County venues
Value: $50-$75

Attendees of the OC Movie Fiesta outdoors of The Frida Cinema in Santa Ana. Credit score: Picture courtesy of the OC Movie Fiesta

The thirteenth annual OC Movie Fiesta, offered by Media Arts Santa Ana, returns this yr, providing digital and in-person screenings with 50 movies and counting as organizers end rounding out the lineup. The competition covers a large cultural and geographical vary with this yr’s picks, with movies from the U.S., Mexico, Canada, Spain, Italy, India, Brazil, Portugal, Tunisia and Iran. 

“We’re a cinematic celebration of Orange County and the nation’s variety and multicultural heritage. And this yr’s movies actually replicate that,” mentioned OC Movie Fiesta founder Victor Payan. “And (we’re) together with the variety of Orange County.”

Not solely are international movies going to be featured, but additionally native movies from highschool and Chapman College movie college students, filmmakers who had been raised in Orange County, and a few who at the moment reside within the county, equivalent to Sripal Sama, a filmmaker from Irvine. 

Sama describes his movie “How’s That for a Monday?” as a mirrored image of the “craziness” that has occurred and continued to exacerbate for the reason that pandemic, such because the well being and financial disaster.

“It doesn’t immediately speak about these (subjects), however it’s a mirrored image of this craziness. A fictitious story on this craziness,” Sama mentioned. 

The Irvine filmmaker shot scenes throughout cities in Orange County, equivalent to Irvine, Santa Ana, Anaheim, Huntington Seashore and Mission Viejo. 

Sama mentioned he’s been ready for in-person movie festivals to come back again for the reason that pandemic and feels “completely nice” to be again.  “That’s the factor most filmmakers search for — to look at your film on a giant display screen with an viewers and see the way it feels, how everyone seems to be feeling. So, it’s completely nice.” 

When new areas in Orange County opened up for his or her first yr, the OC Movie Fiesta highlighted these venues by utilizing them as screening areas just like the Frida Cinema in 2015, the Bowers Museum in 2016, the Heritage Museum of Orange County in 2017, and the O.C. Museum of Artwork (Broaden) in Santa Ana in 2019 to call just a few. 

Now the OC Movie Fiesta will probably be spotlighting its personal area, MASA’s Tele Visions & Giga Bytes (TVGB) middle, which just lately opened its doorways in June in Santa Ana. 

“It’s about having screenings there, but additionally letting individuals know that we’re there as a yr round facility for screenings, discussions, workshops, filming — as a group media arts area,” Payan mentioned.

TVGB was created to be a digital artwork area for the group, addressing the digital divide and utilizing the area as an outlet for Santa Ana and Orange County residents.  

As for the opposite venues for the competition, these screening areas are nonetheless being lined up and will probably be up to date on the web site as soon as obtainable. 

Accessibility is a major purpose for MASA and OC Movie Fiesta; with that in thoughts, tickets will probably be about $1 per movie within the grand scheme of ticket costs. 

“It’s crucial to us to be accessible,” Payan mentioned. “Movie must be a democratizing medium for our communities to get collectively to precise their goals and wishes and wishes. And a whole lot of occasions, it’s actually prohibitively costly to take a household to a film.”

However accessibility additionally comes within the type of how attendees can watch the movies by using digital screenings. These screenings are nice for many who might not have transportation or, as a nationwide competition, for individuals who is perhaps geographically distant, Payan mentioned. 

“It truly is a solution to introduce these audiences to those filmmakers, and hopefully to create a nationwide dialogue,” Payan mentioned. “The movies actually do encourage individuals to wish to make movies, but additionally to wish to have interaction of their society extra absolutely.”

With different movie festivals occurring across the identical time, Payan mentioned it’s nice for the group as a result of they’ll select from varied movie festivals, noting that every competition has its personal imaginative and prescient and focus. 

“I feel it’s actually nice that if you happen to love movies, you will have such a large variety of choices to get pleasure from. They’re all integral to their communities, not solely ethnic communities however geographical communities. The cultural dialogue that’s created by having all of them occur on the identical time actually amplifies the work that we’re all doing individually,” he mentioned. 

Coast Movie & Music Pageant

When: Nov. 9-13 in-person and on-line Nov. 16-27
The place: Pageant of Arts of Laguna Seashore, 650 Laguna Canyon Street, Laguna Seashore
Value: $25-$475

Although it happens in November, the Coast Movie & Music Pageant, celebrating its fourth yr, is value mentioning within the context of all of the movie festivals taking place in O.C. this fall. 

When Coast Movie Pageant founder Ben Warner was a child, he remembers watching movies by American ski and snowboarding filmmaker Warren A. Miller. After the film was over, athletes from the movie caught round, and Warner would get posters signed by them to hold up in his room. 

“I’d watch the flicks till the subsequent yr, and it turned an obsession of mine to wish to reside that life like they do,” Warner mentioned. “It doesn’t imply any of our international clients or attendees are going to develop into skilled athletes, however they actually dream and we will help join them to these goals.”

It was the mix of those movies and interactions that Warner mentioned “modified my life,” a sentiment he needed to duplicate at his competition. 

“This movie competition’s imaginative and prescient is to carry the outside world to the seaside, and join the out of doors tradition with the ocean tradition, and use the facility of movie to attach individuals and encourage constructive change,” he mentioned. 

The competition replaces the normal darkish theater that the majority movie festivals are used to and as a substitute makes use of a big outdoors stage seating about 400 individuals for audiences to soak up the great thing about the movies and the setting surrounding them. 

There can even be two indoor theaters: the Discussion board Theater on the Pageant of Arts grounds and a 230-seat theater.

This yr attendees can count on screenings, speaker panels and the chance for attendees to socialize with filmmakers, athletes and changemakers. 

“What we love is to search out the nuggets of nice tales by filmmakers that no one’s heard about earlier than, and assist uncover them and put the highlight on them,” Warner mentioned. 

Within the spirit of discovering up-and-coming filmmakers, the Coast Movie Pageant additionally added a brand new class this yr for pupil filmmakers from grades 6 via 12. 

As a 30-year Laguna Seashore resident, Warner needed to carry a movie competition to Laguna Seashore, an space recognized for its historical past of conservation and artwork — however not only for the sake of getting an area movie competition. 

Warner mentioned he noticed a chance with Laguna Seashore to do a movie competition centered round journey and the out of doors area, a theme that may be a refreshing take in comparison with different movie festivals in Orange County and Southern California. 

With its concentrate on the outside, a portion of the competition’s proceeds will probably be donated to native and nationwide nonprofits, together with 1% for the Planet, Surfrider Basis, Shield Our Winters, Laguna Canyon Basis, and the competition’s personal nonprofit Coast Movie Basis.

“If you happen to’re actually going to exit and revel in all these locations, it’s important to have a sure stage of respect and accountability to you,” Warner mentioned. “We actually attempt to empower individuals by highlighting and selling these vital tales. And I feel individuals make their very own selections. That’s our function is to entertain, inform and encourage.”

Highlights embrace:

  • In celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of award-winning documentary filmmaker Greg MacGillivray’s “5 Summer time Tales,” Coast Movie Fest will probably be screening the film and breaking it up in chapters. The band that performed the reside music for the movie 50 years in the past will probably be becoming a member of the screening this time round and play alongside every chapter of the film. 
  • An artwork exhibit with about 30 to 40 curated artists centered on surf and out of doors artwork. 
  • Attendees are invited to jam out with DJs at a free silent disco for many who wish to veer away from the flicks for some time.
  • A social space with a bar and place for individuals to lounge, drink, socialize and nonetheless watch the movies from the place they’re standing.

Richard Chang is senior editor for Arts & Tradition at Voice of OC. He will be reached at [email protected].

Kristina Garcia is a contributing author for Voice of OC Arts & Tradition. She will be reached at [email protected].

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