Newport Beach Film Festival: Great independent films

As I mentioned last week, there were 450 films from 50 countries at the 13th annual Newport Beach Film Festival. There were too many good films to choose from, so today I mention a few that you should write down and keep an eye out for future Netflix release (or Google the title and support its website).

 “Nesting” was a highly original film that examines a struggling married couple that decides to live in their old apartment with hopes it could bring back the fun and spark their love once had. It was pure comedy, with bittersweet moments. It is a reminder of the love, joy and pain that relationships can be. What made this film work was it was never depressing and it stuck to the fact that both men and women change.

“Nesting” didn’t take itself too seriously. It laid out the truth of relationships: They are work and not always good. The movie makes you realize, even those with great relationships have to put in ridiculous amounts of work.

Canada was represented with the film “Beat Down” (, the debut feature of Deanne Foley of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. The story takes place in the theatrical world of semi-professional wrestling. The plot revolves around a teenage girl who dreams of wrestling glory despite the objections of her overprotective father (a single parent). This gem avoided all clichés. No fifty-cut (edits) every wrestling scene and no sappiness in the characters. It was refreshing.

Western Canada was also in the mix with “The Sunflower Hour” out of Vancouver. My film school buddy Leigh Jenkins (crew member of “A-Team,” “50/50”) recommended I see this. I was pleasantly surprised. It was “This is Spinal Tap” meets “Sesame Street” meets “Boogie Nights.” It was hilarious, do not miss a chance to find this film online. Not for kids, but you adults will love it!

The festival also featured “Miss South Pacific” produced by Ha‘ena’s own Teri Tico. I will be reviewing the film itself with some words from Tico. It also screened at the Awareness Festival, which I attended on its opening night. Keep an eye for both articles right here in the next few weeks.


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