owners and educators have come together, intent on saving the annual
Newport Beach International Film Festival.
Led by Gregg Schwenk, this nine-member group includes a healthy mix of
people who know how to sell Newport Beach to the public and those who
know a good film when they see it.
Among this group's likely tasks will be choosing the featured films in
order to ensure the festival's quality. And they've got the personnel to
do so. Included on the board is Bob Bassett, dean of Chapman University's
All the details still need to be worked out, Schwenk says. But one plan
he's already mentioned sounds good: scaling back the festival.
The festival, when led by Jeffrey S. Conner, was at its best when it
focused on the independent filmmakers. The most vibrant moments were when
these up-and-comers came together, discussing their techniques and their
It missed the mark when it tried to bring in celebrities or hold golf
A weeklong festival featuring high-quality, independent films -- what the
festival started out as -- is the way to go. It might not become the next
Sundance, but what's important is that it stay the Newport festival.
Run correctly, the festival will attract a dedicated filmmakers and a
dedicated audience. And it will pump some extra revenue into Newport
It reads like a script in which everybody wins.