By Nicole Goesseringer Muj

Celebrated as one of the leading lifestyle film festivals in the United States, the 19th Annual Newport Beach Film Festival (NBFF) opened with the West Coast Premiere of “American Animals,” starring Evan Peters (“American Horror Story”) and Barry Keoghan (“Dunkirk”). The film recounts the true story of four friends living an ordinary existence who brazenly attempt to execute one of the most audacious art heists in United States history.

Academy of Villains

The screening was followed by a gala reception at Fashion Island, featuring food and drinks from Orange County’s best restaurants, special musical and theatrical performances and a chance to see the stunning Rovero automobile by Karma.

From April 26 to May 3, the festival, set in the gorgeous seaside locale of Newport Beach, showcases more than 350 films from 50 countries and hosts nightly special events, red carpet galas,  filmmaker panels, international spotlight events and seminars.

NBFF, in partnership with Via Lido Plaza, will host the closing night celebration at Via Lido Plaza, presented by Scheifer ChopShop. The event will feature culinary tastings from top restaurants, with a hosted bar by Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Oban Whiskey and Guinness.

For a full list of film screenings and events, visit

Photos credit: Charles Weinberg.