Earth Day Gets the Shorts at Newport Beach Film Fest

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Blue Gold: World Water Wars
Earth Day is Wednesday, but the Newport Beach Film Festival (NBFF), in partnership with the Newport Bay Naturalists and Friends and the Orange County Parks Department, celebrates Sunday, April 26. A program of Earth Day-appropriate short films, curated by the festival's co-director of shorts programming Dennis Baker, screens as part of an all-day event featuring booths, games, exhibits, music and more from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. that day at Peter and Mary Muth Interpretive Center, 2301 University Dr., Newport Beach.

Baker reports it's a great venue for viewing as the Naturalists just invested $56,000 to completely upgrade the projection and sound system in the center's Ray and Elsa Watson Theater. Some filmmakers are scheduled to attend and take questions at the screenings.

Showing from 10:30 a.m. to 11:20 a.m. are: Life on a Limb, an animated short that explores the irreconcilable differences that emerge when a tree and a lumberjack are stuck in a waiting room together; Oil Tribe, a youth competition entry that finds a small business owner and two university professors discussing the high cost of fuel and how it affects consumers; Goldfish, a colorful comedy short about two third-graders on a mission to save their classroom's goldfish; The Bridge (Le Pont), an animated short that has a man and his son isolated life on an island changed when the child discovers the lights of a remote city; and The Incident at Tower 37, which follows a water tower's lone steward realizing the tower is slowly destroying an entire ecosystem.

Blue Gold: World Water Wars, the documentary feature directed by Irvine's Sam Bozzo and narrated by actor Malcolm McDowell, screens from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Reviewed here, the film argues that as corporations and governments compete for control over human kind's life source, citizens of the world will be forced to fight for their right to survive. Blue Gold will also be shown at Edwards Island Cinemas on Monday, April 27, as part of the NBFF, but if you can't make it either screening (or if you just want your very own copy of the flick), PBS Video, the film's U.S. distributor, has released it on DVD to celebrate Earth Day and World Water Day. Go here for details.

Food Fight, another documentary feature (reviewed here, scroll to the bottom), screens from 1:15-2:10 p.m. It looks at a group of anti-corporate protesters who in the late 1960s dared to take on the conventional food system of the 20th Century, resulting in a counter-food revolution that offered organic food to the public.

The second half of the Earth Day shorts screen from 2:15-3:15 p.m. and include: Afghanistan: Hidden Treasures, a documentary on the heroic Afghans who sacrificed and dedicated their lives to safeguard their cultural legacy in the midst of war; Plain Ride Penn, a documentary on a 15-year-old girl who proved one person can make a difference; The Green Film, a shortie that asks, "Can filmmakers really go green and make the greenest movie of all time?"; and Hugo, where a girl encounters an attack of conscience when she risks the life of an incredible creature for science.

Like Blue Gold, the other features and shorts on the Earth Day program will be shown at various times throughout the April 23-30 festival in the Edwards Islands Cinemas at Fashion Island, 999 Newport Center Dr., Newport Beach. Go here for the complete schedule.



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