NEWPORT BEACH, Calif., April 13, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Celebrated as one of the leading lifestyle film festivals in the United States - and certainly the most accessible to the cinema-loving public - the 16th Annual Newport Beach Film Festival (www.newportbeachfilmfest.com) is renowned for bringing classic and contemporary filmmaking from around the world (and the state) to Newport Beach for eight spectacular days each year. This year, the Newport Beach Film Festival will be held April 23 – April 30, 2015.

In its 16th year, the Newport Beach Film Festival will showcase more than 300 films from 40 countries, welcoming more than 50,000 attendees to beautiful Newport Beach, California for its eight-day run. In addition to screening its largest selection of international films ever, the Festival will host celebrity-studded red carpet galas, lavish post-film parties, compelling conversations with filmmakers, seminars and more. Unlike other film festivals, the Newport Beach Film Festival offers movie lovers unique opportunities to mingle with celebrities, filmmakers from around the globe, and film industry professionals – all in the spectacular seaside resort setting of Newport Beach.

"Newport Beach is proud to be the home of the Newport Beach Film Festival," says Gary Sherwin, President and CEO of Newport Beach & Company, the destination marketing organization for the City of Newport Beach. "We are thrilled that locals and visitors alike will have the opportunity to celebrate the art of film for eight days in our beautiful corner of the world, where they also can indulge in some of the globe's best shopping, dining, sightseeing, and recreation."

The Newport Beach Film Festival kicks off on Thursday, April 23, with the showing of its Opening Night film The Water Diviner, directed by Academy Award winning actor Russell Crowe. Following the red carpet celebration and welcome remarks by Ed Selich, the Mayor of Newport Beach, as well as Newport Beach Film Festival officials, the film will screen at 7:30pm at the Edwards Big Newport Cinema. The Opening Night Gala at Fashion Island follows the film at 10pm, and is sponsored by Esquire magazine. The fête will feature live music, a fashion show and a taste of Newport Beach with delectable dishes from some of the city's most acclaimed restaurants.

New this year is the Festival's inaugural "Made in California" shorts program, a curated collection of films under 40 minutes in length that celebrate California, its communities and its filmmaking history. Presented in partnership with the California Film Commission, the program will showcase both the iconic and versatile nature of California as a filming location, with a focus on films that explore California and its people, places and spaces.

From a global perspective, the Festival continues to play a key role for international filmmakers looking to make a splash in the United States. In addition to sponsorship and participation from the Irish and Australian film communities, the Newport Beach Film Festival furthers its collaboration with the U.K. film industry this year with an expanded U.K. film program and UK-themed festivities. On Friday, April 24, the NBFF will host an extensive U.K. Showcase followed by a post-screening event featuring a hosted bar by Remy Cointreau, Tito's Vodka and Stella Artois Beer, signature tastings by top Newport Beach restaurants, music by celebrity DJs and a luxury fashion show.

Other compelling film genres making their start turns at the Newport Beach Film Festival this year include action sports, architecture and design, family, collegiate and more.

"The 16th Annual Newport Beach Film Festival will be one of the strongest film festivals yet," says Gregg Schwenk, CEO, Executive Director, and Founder of the Newport Beach Film Festival. "We are thrilled to be the largest Festival in Southern California and to be able to spotlight international films in the world-class setting of Newport Beach, California."

To help festival-goers enjoy the world-class setting of Newport Beach, several local hotels and resorts will roll out the "red carpet" with exciting accommodations packages tailor-made for fans of film and fun. One hotel, the Newport Beach Marriott Hotel & Spa, is offering a Newport Beach Film Festival package that includes accommodations for two in a Deluxe Guest Room with daily breakfast for two adults, and free parking with rates starting at $199.

Over its eight-day engagement, the Newport Beach Film Festival celebrates cinema throughout Newport Beach, showing on 15 screens at seven theaters, and offering guests the opportunity to enjoy the film of their choice in a different and distinctive village of Newport Beach each night.

Since its inception, the Newport Beach Film Festival has evolved into a prestigious event, attracting many acclaimed film such as the U.S. premiere of Crash and other notable films including (500) Days of Summer, The Cove, Waitress, The Illusionist and many more.

For more information on the Newport Beach Film Festival, please visit www.NewportBeachFilmFest.com. For more information on visiting Newport Beach, including special Newport Beach Film Festival accommodation packages, please visit www.VisitNewportBeach.com.

About the Newport Beach Film Festival

Celebrated as one of the leading lifestyle film festivals in the United States, the Newport Beach Film Festival seeks to bring to Orange County the best of classic and contemporary filmmaking from around the world. Committed to enlightening the public with a first-class international film program, a forum for cultural understanding and enriching educational opportunities, the Newport Beach Film Festival focuses on showcasing a diverse collection of studio and independent films from around the globe.

About Newport Beach, California

Nestled among golden stretches of pristine Pacific coastline between Los Angeles and San Diego, Newport Beach epitomizes the casually sophisticated lifestyle of Southern California. This idyllic seaside destination is widely celebrated for its natural beauty and vibrant yachting community alongside stylish accommodations, eclectic coastal cuisine and upscale shopping. Ranked among the "Top 10 Resort Towns in the U.S.," Newport Beach also is distinguished as one of the country's "Top 10 Best Family Beaches." A mild climate and picturesque backdrop minutes from the newly expanded Orange County/John Wayne Airport (SNA) offers year-round appeal. For more information on Newport Beach or for a complimentary visitor guide, please visit our website www.visitnewportbeach.com, or call (800) 94-COAST.

CONTACT: Carrie Williams/ Cristen Stapp Kitchen Table Marketing + PR 949.433.6735/949.294.0655Source:Newport Beach and Company