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Newport Beach Film Festival and Orange County Museum of Art Kick Off 2007 Cinema Orange Film Series

Free Film Series Spotlights Docuementary Films from Independent Filmmakers By Gregg Schwenk

The Newport Beach Film Festival and the Orange County Museum of Art will present Cinema Orange, a free film series that celebrates the cinematic works of independent filmmakers from around the world. In conjunction with OCMA’s new exhibition, Chuck Close Prints: Process and Collaboration, the winter / spring Cinema Orange film series will showcase a collection of innovative documentary films from the 2006 Newport Beach Film Festival. Through compelling images, archival footage, up close interviews and montages of reality cinematography, the documentary films chronicle the lives of individuals from a wide array of cultures, backgrounds and circumstance within the context of their lives. Offering fascinating behind the scenes and "slice of life" portrayals, the series explores non-fiction filmmaking as a meaningful art form and an essential medium for presenting fascinating social, political, environmental and historical perspectives

The films will screen on select Thursday nights of February, March and April at the Orange County Museum of Art, located at 850 San Clemente Drive in Newport Beach. "Film is undeniably an important medium in the art world and the Orange County Museum of Art is committed to presenting myriad disciplines in arts," stated OCMA Director Dennis Szakacs. "With the addition of these pioneering works by some of the newest and creative directors now on the scene, the museum hopes to introduce new audiences to the world of art through film."

Now in its third season, Cinema Orange at OCMA has emerged as the premiere destination for free independent film screenings in Orange County. “As co-curator of the series, the Newport Beach Film Festival is committed to enlightening the public with some of the most refreshing and original cinematic works available on the international Festival circuit,” stated Leslie Feibleman, Senior Film Programmer for the Newport Beach Film Festival. “We look forward to presenting an eclectic slate of compelling documentary films from independent filmmakers at the Orange County Museum of Art, a location that has a long history of bringing creative achievements to the people of Southern California.”

Directed by Peter Goetz (Survivor), Sofia (2005, 51 min, Color and B/W / Spanish, English with English subtitles), tells the story of how an unlikely heroine inspired a new energy within her developing, impoverished nation. Born into Peru's terrorist state ripped apart by social unrest during the 1980's, Sofia found an escape in surfing. Today she is in Hawaii pursuing her childhood dream of becoming a World Champion surfer which has never been achieved by a South American. Join photographer Renzo Giraldo on assignment as he embarks on a journey to uncover how one girl defied perceptions and stereotypes while learning to believe in herself and inspire a nation, changing the face of culture forever. Using a mix of the storytelling techniques by Fredrick Wiseman and Quentin Tarantino, the film chronicles world champion surfer, Sofia as she competes in tournaments around the world, providing an inspiration for the young people of Peru. Sofia has won numerous awards including Outstanding Achievement in Documentary Filmmaking at the 2006 Newport Beach Film Festival and Best Documentary 2006 in the Surfer Poll Awards. Sofia will screen on Thursday, February 22nd at 7:30 p.m.

In March, filmgoers can catch a glimpse into the intimate lives of four influential women from Brazil, India, Jerusalem and Senegal as they infuse the Third World with a passion for change in The Shape of Water (2006, 70 min, Color In English, Hindi with English subtitles). Narrated by Susan Sarandon (Thelma & Louise, Dead Man Walking) this colorful documentary takes a close look at the far reaching and vibrant alternatives crafted by women in response to environmental degradation, archaic traditions and lack of economic independence and war.  The Shape of Water brings about a call to the end of female degradation. First-time director Kum Kum Bhavnani, a political activist in the UK, has been working to promote anti-racist issues since the age of eighteen. After falling victim to discrimination, Bhavnani felt the need to explore the contradictions that face women in the Third World. The Shape of Water will screen on Thursday, March 22nd at 7:30 p.m.


In April, Cinema Orange will spotlight How to Eat Your Watermelon in White Company (and Enjoy It) (2005, 85 min, Color and B/W In English, French with English subtitles), director Joe Angio’s incisive, provocative and humorous portrait of an American original, examining the incredible life of Melvin Van Peebles, the maverick filmmaker, musician, novelist and theater  impresario. Weaving rare archival clips with cinema vérité footage and interviews with Spike Lee, Gordon Parks, Mario Van Peebles, Gil-Scott Heron, and more, the film traces Van Peebles' fascinating life. Whether making guerrilla-style films, flying Air Force sorties over the Pacific, studying astronomy in Amsterdam, writing novels in self-taught French, composing music (by means of a self-devised notation system), writing musical stage plays (for which he received nine Tony nominations), recording seminal rap albums or trading options on Wall Street, Van Peebles has blazed his own path, making a mark in each endeavor he’s pursued. Known as the “godfather of modern black cinema”, Melvin Van Peebles was the driving force behind one of the most controversial movies in American history, Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song, the film that sparked the "Blaxploitation" era in Hollywood. How to Eat Your Watermelon in White Company (and Enjoy It) will screen on Thursday, April 12th at 7:30pm.

The eighth annual Newport Beach Film Festival will run April 19th through 29th, 2007 and will showcase more than 350 films from around the world, offering an ambitious and international selection of features, shorts, documentaries, animated and student films that will compete for both Jury and Audience awards. In 2007, the Newport Beach Film Festival will host the official John Wayne Centennial Celebration commemorating "Ten Decades of the Duke." The celebration will include gala events, John Wayne film screenings and a symposium on Wayne and the Western. Since its beginnings, the Festival has presented many acclaimed films, including Crash, The Illusionist, Layer Cake, Dust to Glory, Sexy Beast, Spellbound, Dogtown and Z Boys, and Castle in the Sky, as well as anniversary screenings of classics such as The French Connection, Sunset Boulevard, the 50th anniversary of Jim Henson Company and The Outsiders.

The Orange County Museum of Art is the premier visual arts museum in Orange County, California, serving a population of nearly three million residents in one of the fastest-growing metropolitan areas in the United States. Located one hour south of Los Angeles, the museum's main facility is in Newport Beach, with a satellite Orange Lounge, a new media space in Costa Mesa at South Coast Plaza. The museum's program of dynamic solo exhibitions and landmark group shows links historical and contemporary art and ideas, bridges local and global perspectives, and embraces a diverse array of cultural activities and media. The museum is dedicated to engaging diverse audiences by providing creative commentary and illuminating dialogue on issues in our society through the arts.

The Orange County Museum of Art in Newport Beach is located at 850 San Clemente Drive. Hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday, with extended hours Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Admission is $10/adults; $8/seniors and students; children twelve and under and OCMA members are free. OCMA is open free to the public every Thursday.

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Gregg Schwenk is a writer, educator, and entrepreneur. He reports on a number of various subjects including: film, art, technology and politics. Mr. Schwenk is an adjunct professor at CSUF's Center for Entertainment and Tourism located in Orange County, California. He is also a consultant and advisor to several entertainment and technology firms. In 2005, Mr. Schwenk was appointed by the US Secretary of Commerce, to the District Export Council. He has a BA from the University of California, Berkeley and completed the Advanced Management Program at USC.
Related Keywords:film, filmmaker,documentary

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