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    Newport Beach Film Festival 2019

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    NEWPORT FILM FEST IS SHORT FILM HEAVEN!

    The Newport Beach Film Festival honors short films with more screen time than any other festival I've attended.

    Over 200 short films are screening this year!  And only fourteen percent of the shorts submitted to the festival are accepted!  That number comes straight from Dennis Baker, Director of Shorts Programming.

    The math is pretty simple:  Over 1435 short films were submitted to the festival this year!!

    Surely those short films that made the cut deserve some serious kudos.  And it means, as a screenwriter, you should pay attention to the short form.  Given the exposure you may get, it’s a viable ticket to “the show,"  a point of entry in a marketplace filled with gatekeepers.

    Many of the shorts at this year's festival are written, directed, produced and sometimes star talented young people in the industry.  Some are proving concepts and skills, and their “how-I-got-it-made stories” are perhaps as interesting as the stories they present on screen.

     Stay turned for more on that.  In my next article, I’ll focus on a handful of the shorts screened here, how they got made, got funded, and the inspiration behind them.

    For now, I’ll tell you more of what I learned from Dennis on how these movies are presented to the public at NBFF.

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    NBFF Closing Night

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    The Newport Film Festival is over!  And the highlight happened an hour before it even began. (For me, anyway)

    Here’s the story:

    Before the first red carpet, I killed some time at Flemming’s happy hour where I chanced upon Dawn Bierschwal, the lead producer of “Better Start Running,” one of the bigger features this year, mainly due to the cast including Jeremy Irons and Maria Bello.

    “So what’s your favorite story,” I asked. (Making a movie always means you have stories to tell.)

    “Oh, definitely the fight over the fuck,” she said.

    I recognized immediately that she cut her movie for a PG rating, and that meant some compromises. Let me explain (in case you’re not following):

    Movies are more marketable when you produce them with a PG-13 rating (or lower) because the market is bigger.  It isn’t “restricted” by an arbitrary age requirement that leaves the bulk of your potential audience outside the door.

    And if the word “fuck” is spoken more than once in your film, it gets an R rating.

    Bottom line: You get only one fuck. If you use the word “fuck” twice, you’re screwed.

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    Newport Beach Film Festival 2018 - Seminars

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    The Newport Beach Film Festival is not just about watching movies!

    It’s also a chance to network with filmmakers and industry pros. You can do this at QA’s after world premieres, at nightly parties, and at FREE seminars this Saturday and Sunday at the Newport Civic Center.

    Access to working people in the industry is limited in Orange County. Your only regular options are the events we sponsor here at OC Screenwriters.

    So don’t miss this once-a-year opportunity!

    The NBFF’s FREE seminars are a great way to shake hands and chat with working writers, directors, editors, musicians, animators, and other industry pros.

    This year, the panel titles are:

    Cinematography Master ClassBuilding a career in AnimationHeroes of the Editing RoomDiversity in Film and TV Musicand….Screenwriting Seminar

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    The Newport Beach Film Festival 2018 - Riki Kuchek

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    Every wonder how the Newport Beach Film Festival is put together?  Writer/producer Joe Becker (joebeckerfilms.com) interviews programming director Riki Kuchek to find out.

    The Newport Beach Film Festival bills itself as the biggest social event in Orange County.  And they might just be right!  Each year over fifty-five thousand people attend a screening or buy a ticket to one of their nightly parties during the eight day event in late April of each year.

    The festival began in 1999, and now, nineteen years later, NBFF is bigger and -- few would deny -- better than ever before.  Over three hundred films are screened in multiple south OC locations, principally the Lido theater and the Triangle Square theater complex on Newport Boulevard.

    I chatted recently with Programming Director Riki Kuchek, and what she had to say is of great interest to screenwriters and filmmakers here in the OC and worldwide:

     WHAT CRITERIA DO YOU USE TO VET FILMS?

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