As Newport Beach Film Festival Goes to the Mat for Volunteers, Fighter Flick With Good Buzz Coming

Categories: Film, Sports
nbff logo color.jpg
The Newport Beach Film Festival, which runs April 28 to May 5, is again seeking "enthusiastic film lovers to volunteer."

Warm bodies are needed for guest relations, merchandise sales, theater ushering, office reception, and gala and special-events staffing for the 12th annual event.

Three- to four-hour shifts are available in the mornings, afternoons and evenings. Volunteers must be at least 16 years old. College students and seniors are welcome.

Volunteers must also attend at least one orientation session before the festival. These provide an overview of activities, as well as updated information on positions and volunteer responsibilities.

You can sign up for specific shifts at orientation meetings, where $5 volunteer shirts are also available for purchase. The sessions are held at in the City of Newport Beach Council Chambers, 3300 Newport Blvd., Newport Beach.

You must RSVP to and select at least one of these sessions to attend: Monday, March 21, 7-8:30 p.m.; Thursday, March 24, 7-8:30 p.m.; Saturday, March 26, 10:30 a.m.-noon; Monday, March 28, 7-8:30 p.m.; Thursday, March 31, 7-8:30 p.m.; or Saturday, April 2, 10:30 a.m.-noon.

Deaf actor Russell Harvard plays the title character in Hamill, which is about UFC fighter Matt Hamill.
More important to film fans is the arrival of award-winning movies for viewing. While the NBFF has not officially released its fight card, Hamill will be on it, according to producers of the dramatic feature based on the life of UFC light heavyweight Matt Hamill, the sport's first deaf competitor.

Hamill picked up the Audience Award for Best Feature Film this past weekend at the Miami Film Festival. Four months earlier, the film captured the Breakthrough Film award at the 2010 AFI Film Festival in Los Angeles.

The real Matt Hamill
"These awards are further proof this film can survive theatrically and break the mold," Eben Kostbar, who co-wrote and produced Hamill with partner Joseph McKelheer,  tells

The indie, shot on what Kostbar described as a "modest budget," features in the lead role unknown deaf actor Russell Harvard. For more on the film, visit

Before Hamill arrives in Newport Beach, it's going to the Cleveland International Film Festival, where the UFC will document the real Matt Hamill's work promoting the film as part of the Countdown to UFC 130 program.

There's more OC intrigue involving Hamill and UFC 130: He's slated to fight Quinton "Rampage" Jackson of Irvine at the May 28 event at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

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For what it's worth, the director, Oren Kaplan, grew up in the OC and graduated from Brea Olinda High School.


The NBFF is one of my favorite places to volunteer. It's a fun event and the fellow volunteers are great people to work with. There are lots of shits available and all kinds of things to do, including working the evening parties, and VIP Room, selling tickets, driving VIPs, etc. Volunteer and get free tickets for the film fest. It's a lot of fun! And the 350 movies from 35 countries are AWESOME!!


For film lovers on a budget, volunteering is also a good way to experience the festival. Working about 4 shifts will earn you a few free standard NBFF tickets to use at your leisure.

Times and ticket redemption are usually negotiable in case you want to see a movie rolling before your prerequisite shifts are met. So don't worry about schedules. Just be upfront, responsible, and ready. ;)

I've been volunteering for the last 3 years or so and have had a blast every time. Plus, volunteering will also link you to a network for possible invites to exclusive events or other volunteer opportunities through the rest of the year!

If these perks don't get you then know that the volunteer experience itself is very low maintenance on your noggin. ;> Schedules and assignments are straightforward. Staff are helpful and friendly. Fellow volunteers are fellow film lovers and I've had many a great chat as I did my rounds.

So come on out! We'll be glad to have you! And I think you'll be glad yourself. ;)

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