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Film festival kicks off with a 'Sting'

March 29, 2001

Young Chang

NEWPORT BEACH -- Despite the rush and glitz of putting together the

second annual Newport Beach Film Festival, organizers haven't lost sight

of what the upcoming week is really all about.

The art of filmmaking.

Seven consecutive days of screenings and galas beginning today

celebrates, ultimately, that craft, said Todd Quartararo, director of

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marketing for the festival.

The guest list includes Hollywood stars, visiting politicians and

non-industry folks from Newport Beach and beyond.

"One of the nice things about our festival is that we pride ourselves

on being available to the community," Quartararo said. "Some festivals

are difficult to get into, but our priority is to, as we grow, continue

to have this be an event that the community has access to."

Seven tribute films, including "The Sting" tonight, will celebrate

their anniversaries at the festival. Post-parties, themed according to

each film, will follow some of the screenings. By April 5, 56 feature

films and more than 100 shorts will have been shown.

The festival starts with a VIP reception for sponsors and celebrities

at the Newport Beach Marriott late this afternoon. "The Sting," a 1973,

seven-time Academy-Award winner, will be screened at 6:30 p.m. at the

Edwards Big Newport.

"One of the reasons we chose 'The Sting' is because of its popular

appeal, its quality as a film and the impact it had on the industry,"

Quartararo said.

Many of the festival's visiting filmmakers were influenced by the

piece as well as others included in the week's lineup, he added.

The idea to show the film was born at last year's festival when

actress Sally Kirkland got to talking with executive director Gregg

Schwenk.

"Even after 30 years probably, it's a film that holds up exceptionally

well," Schwenk said. "And [Kirkland] has helped hold up the effort to

invite cast and crew."

Other tributes include "Zoot Suit" on Friday, which celebrates its

20th anniversary; "The French Connection" on Saturday for its 30th

anniversary; "Sexy Beast" on Sunday; and three Chinese films Monday.

Celebrities from "The Sting" and other titles will be introduced at

tonight's screening, including Academy-Award winning screenwriter David

S. Ward, actors Kirkland, Dimitra Arliss, Joe Tornatore and producers

Tony Bill and Robert L. Hill.

Local elected officials, members of the International Counselor Core

and Consulate Generals from countries including China and Austria will

also be introduced.

The evening will end with a party at the Marriott's ballroom with

music by the Johnny Crawford Dance Orchestra.

"It'll be like a mini Taste of Newport with several of the restaurants

in the Newport Beach area participating," Quartararo said.

Restaurants involved include Ristorante Mama Gina's, Sage Restaurant,

Clayton Shurley's Texas BBQ and What's Cooking.

"It'll be a time for cast members of 'Sting,' members of the community

and visiting filmmakers to get together and mingle and celebrate the art

of filmmaking," Quartararo said.

Schwenk added, "We have been so honored by the response of the cast

and crew and we feel it's a reflection of how strong the festival is and

what potential it has going forward."

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