The Newport Beach Film Festival is going on right now, and by coincidence, two of my loved ones (friends and family) both have feature films in the festival. I am putting this out there for those of you who might live in that area. While there are a ton of films on the docket, the two I want to mention are:
Certainty, directed by Peter Askin, and written by my cousin Mike O’Malley. I saw the film last year at the Boston Film Festival.
Here is my review of Certainty. It’s a rare film, funny, deep, and moving, with Mike’s typically awesome dialogue. Terrific ensemble, including many friends and family (my brother Brendan is in it, my cousin Kerry, friends Larry Clarke, Missy Yager – all have great cameos) – It’s the story of Deb and Dom, a young couple on their Catholic “pre-cana” retreat – something that has never been shown in film before. Adelaide Clemens and Tom Lipinski are beautiful in the two leads, Giancarlo Esposito plays the priest running the pre-cana, in a wonderful performance, and Valerie Harper is fantastic as Dom’s mother. Please check out my review, and if you live in Orange County or thereabouts, this is definitely a film you won’t want to miss.
Certainty screens this Sunday, April 29, at 6:30 p.m. Information here.
And then there is Passionflower, the first feature by my great old friend and collaborator Shelagh Carter. She hails from Winnipeg, and has been in the trenches of Canadian film for years. I was one of the leads in her first short film, shot here in New York! She also wrote Passionflower, the story of a young girl in 1962 Winnipeg, watching not only her parents’ marriage unravel, but her mother descend into psychosis. She sent me a screener, and I was blown away by its power. Doing a period film is never easy, but Shelagh gets the details just right: the cars, the kitchen appliances, the home decor, the clothing. Phenomenal performances, too, by all of the leads. It’s a mix of Mad Men and John Cassavetes. Raw and beautiful. I wish I could fly out to Newport Beach to see it. Shelagh has been making the festival circuit now with her film, and it has been racking up well-deserved awards.
Passionflower screens at the Newport Beach Film Festival on Wednesday, May 2, at 8:30 p.m. Information here.