[UPDATED with Quickie Review:] 12 Local Documentaries Worth a Look at the Newport Beach Film Festival

Categories: Film
UPDATE, APRIL 29, 5:15 P.M.: Just finished watching the short documentary on Orange County naturalist Joel Robinson at Triangle Square and, I gotta tell you, it left me wanting to know more.

Directors Jonathan Formica, Celesta Giaimo, Mj Lat and Alexandra Santoro present an eye-opening look at areas of our little slice of bliss that probably 99 percent of us don't know exists. And they have chosen a truly compelling subject to expose them to us. But this is a case where the messenger was way for interesting than the message, so one hopes this is just the beginning of the cinematic look at the mountain man's unique life.

I don't see anywhere in the NBFF listings where there will be a repeat showing of the doc, but catch it if and however you can. It's a great introduction to a man and lifestyle beyond OC's fast lane.

ORIGINAL POST, APRIL 29, 2:14 P.M.: Sure, the Newport Beach Film Festival has packed among its 420-and-some-odd films short- and feature-length documentaries from all over the world.

Fifty countries are represented with flicks in the festival, and many have screened before at Cannes, Toronto and Sundance.

But the NBFF is also a showcase for locally grown films, including the following 12 documentaries after the jump that sound promising . . .

Mountain Man. Directors Jonathan Formica, Celesta Giaimo, Mj Lat and Alexandra Santoro follow naturist Joel Robinson into the place he escapes crowded Orange County to chill: our backcountry where hidden canyons, waterfalls and freakin' quiet abound. The 14-minute documentary screens as part of the Coping With Your Shorts program at 3:30 p.m. today at Triangle Square.

Breaking Through
. It took a village of directors--Maurianna Zingarelli, Dan Duran, Jacob Taylor and Kirsten Moore--to create this documentary short on Costa Mesa-based nonprofit Girls Inc., whose mission is to empower young women. This is illustrated through the stories of at-risk girls like Monique, the 11-year-old daughter of a woman who'd been teased and ridiculed throughout her adolescent life. Monique demonstrates the poise and confidence her mother never possessed--much to mom's surprise and delight. Shorts Triumphing Over Adversity program 1 p.m. Saturday at Triangle Square.

Lost & Found. It really took a village for this 17-minute short doc that's also part of the same program. Directors Kiah S. Jones, Jonathan Formica, Alexander Gaeta, Rob McClelland, Malica Chehrzad and Lauren Hulsey--graduates or nearly so of the Dodge College of Film & Media Arts at Chapman University--share the story of a couple who twice weekly provide an education and stable home to orphans and unwanted children living on the streets in Botswana. Shorts Triumphing Over Adversity program 1 p.m. Saturday at Triangle Square.

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