Newport Beach Film Festival Goes to Pot (and Other News & Notes for the Home Stretch)
Here are some news nuggets to get you caught up as the Newport Beach Film Festival heads for the home stretch. (Orange County's premiere cultural event ends Thursday night once the last cocktail glass at the Closing Night Party has been drained.)
One Good Year follows one fair-to-middling year for four Humboldt County pot growers. These are not the growers of recent years who have moved in with large-scale operations that have left environmental degradation in their wake. These are homesteaders--and in one case a third generation Humboldt pot grower--who are so barely getting by, they cannot afford to buy much of anything in town (Garberville), where prices have been driven up by you know who moving in.
But the characters--and I mean characters--director Mikal Jakubal shadows in his fascinating documentary seem happy despite the poverty, back-breaking work and multiple threats to their cash crops that are, after all, illegal, even in Humboldt County.
Jakubal includes a priceless scene with a sheriff's sergeant there declaring the drug war over, lost and should of having resulted in legalization. That issue has actually divided the pot growers the filmmaker came to know, as he explained after Monday afternoon's West Coast premiere screening at The Triangle in Costa Mesa.
Some fear legalization will change their businesses but most relish the chance to finally come out in the open and identify themselves to the world as legal pot growers. To that end, at least a couple featured in One Good Year see 2016 as the good year they are targeting (and campaigning) for legalization in California, Jakubal noted.
The director is now planting the seed for a sequel that will look more closely at the legalization struggle and how it's playing out in Humboldt County. Meanwhile, you can still catch the compelling One Good Year at its repeat screening at 3:15 p.m. today at Fashion Island Cinemas.
Another director planning a new project is Ireland's Kevin Glynn, who in his tux was hard to miss at Sunday's Irish Spotlight screening that opened with his tense, clever and explosive two-minute short Countdown, followed by the fractured family feature Life's A Breeze.
It was Glynn's third straight short film to play at NBFF. When Cairdeas was chosen to open the Irish Spotlight evening of 2012 with feature Songs for Amy, he was ready to pack that tux come to Newport Beach, which he'd been told is the best festival in the world. But Glynn's wife then informed him a 50th birthday party had already been set for him the same evening, and he stayed back in Ireland.
"Hell and high water" could not stop Glynn from attending NBFF 2013, which included his short The Kiss Heist. While Countdown brought him back to Newport a second time, Glynn told the packed house at Big Newport he hopes a feature film he is developing will return him here again "if I am fortunate enough to have it selected."