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by Brian Brooks
April 1, 2010 1:51 AM
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"Star" & "Juliet" Bookend 11th Newport Beach Fest

Cam Gigandet in a scene from Danny Buday's Newport Beach opener, "Five Star Day." Image courtesy of Newport Beach Film Festival.

The world premiere of "Five Star Day", starring "Twilight"'s Cam Gigandet will open the 11th Newport Beach Film Festival and the event will close with early showing of director Gary Winik's ("13 Going on 30") "Letters to Juliet" with Amanda Seyfried ("Dear John"). NBFF takes place in the Orange County, CA seaside community April 22 - 29.

Danny Buday's "Five Star Day" follows Jake Gibson on the morning of his birthday. His horoscope promises a "flawless 'Five Star Day,'" but what unfolds is anything but perfect. Determined to prove there is no legitimacy to astrology, he sets out to find others born in the same time and place, which tests his convictions and validates how life's unpredictable turns can give more than expected.

On Saturday night of the week-long fest, NBFF will host Brooks Branch's "Multiple Sarcasms" as a Centerpiece. In the film, Timothy Hutton playes Gabriel, a man who seems to have it all, though happiness is actually elusive. He quits his job, gets a pushy literary agent friend to represent him and starts writing a play about the "sorry state of his life." Chris D'Areinzo's "Barry Munday" will screen as the fest's Friday Spotlight. Starring Patrick Wilson, Judy Greer and Chloe Sevigny, the film centers on a wannabe ladies man who wakes up in a hospital without one of his body parts - his testicles. He learns there is a paternity suit against him from a woman he doesn't remember having sex with, and with this being his last chance at fatherhood, embraces the possibility of fatherhood.

Foreign fare will screen in their own special categories, including Latino Spotlight "Simonal - Ninguem Sabe o Duro que Dei" by Brazilians Michel Langer, Valvito Leal and Claudio Manoel as well as Pedro Gonzalex-Rubio's "Alamar"; Australian Spotlight "Bran Nue Dae" by Rachel Perkins; Italian Spotlight "The Sicilian Girl" by Marco Amenta; Sweden's "Starring Maja (Princessa)"; Christian Carlon's "L'Affaire Farewell" from France; Irish/Canadian production "A Shine of Rainbows" by Vic Sarin; Japan's "Air Doll" by Hirokazu Kore-eda; "Private Eye" by Korean director Park Dae-min and "Sophie's Revenge" by Eva Jin (China).

Other Newport highlights include an evening of "Disney Raritites" with Oscar-nominated producer Don Hahn ("Beauty and the Beast) and Disney Creative Director David Bossert. John Ford's classic 1939 film, "Stagecoach" will screen in the John Wayne Spotlight (the actor was a longtime resident of the community until his death), will host a student section of work.

Closing out the Newport Beach Film Festival is Gary Winick's "Letters to Juliet," about a couple from New York who travel to Italy. Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) and her boyfriend seem on different paths. He's interested in picking up supplies for his future restaurant, while she ends up corresponding to a woman from England who fell in love with a young Italian back in 1951. She eventually travels with her new friend to Verona, Italy in search of her long lost love, and in the process, romance blossoms in unexpected ways.

"This year's festival features a diverse slate of independent and studio films from around the globe, impressive in both depth and breadth," commented Gregg Schwenk, Executive Director/CEO of the NBFF in a statement. "Our coastal resort setting, amazing community support and strong filmmaker participation authenticate the festival as the ultimate destination to experience cinema and discover new filmmaking talent."

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