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Newport prepares for namesake film festival

Though the event brings together filmmakers from around the world, local connections are many.

April 01, 2014|By Michael Miller and Rhea Mahbubani
  • Former college and NFL coach Mike White was head coach during Cal Berkeley's Pac-8 co-championship in 1975, a team that was led by Joe Roth, who is the subject of a new documentary to be shown at the Newport Beach Film Festival.
Former college and NFL coach Mike White was head coach… (Don Leach, Daily…)

However long other ticket buyers stand in line to see "Don't Quit: The Joe Roth Story," Mike White has waited longer.

Nearly four decades, in fact.

White, the former football coach at UC Berkeley, has hoped to see a film about the story of Roth, the promising quarterback who played two seasons on the university's team, since shortly after Roth's 1977 death at age 21 of melanoma. For years, White heard rumblings about proposed scripts, but no project ever came to fruition.

Then, five years ago, a pair of Berkeley alums who attended the school after Roth's time there got to work on a documentary. "Don't Quit" combines archival footage of the quarterback's playing days with reminiscences from family members and former teammates, some of whom recall the shock they felt upon learning that Roth had excelled on the field while battling a terminal illness.

"Don't Quit" will have its world premiere April 27 at the Regency Lido Theatre — meaning that White, who lives on Balboa Island and appears throughout the film, won't have to make a long journey to see it.

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"I'm sort of overwhelmed by the fact that we're finally, finally having a chance to show this on the screen, and, ironically, here where I live," he said.

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'Under the Influence'

The 15th annual Newport Beach Film Festival, set to run April 24 to May 1 this year, brings together films and filmmakers from around the world. For some, though, it's an opportunity to see their region on the big screen. In addition to White, the 2014 offerings will spotlight local filmmakers, athletes and more.

Tickets went on sale Tuesday for the festival, which will take place at six venues around Newport Beach, Santa Ana and Costa Mesa — the Lido, Edwards Big Newport 6, Island Cinema 7, Sage Hill School, the Triangle Square Cinemas and the Regency South Coast Village.

In keeping with this year's theme, "15 Years Under the Influence," organizers released a trailer dubbed "Bedtime Story" earlier this week. The video features projectionist David Theune, who responds to his daughter's request for a straightforward bedtime story by tapping into characters and plots from "Fargo," "Her," "Memento" and "Pulp Fiction."

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