Home > Uncategorized > Going Bionic Column > GOING BIONIC #264 – FINDING GOLD AT THE NEWPORT BEACH FILM FESTIVAL – April 28, 2015


Way back in April of 1999, my friend Christina took me to the first annual Newport Beach Film Festival, which was ambitious, chaotic, and fantastically memorable. Sixteen years later, I returned to Newport Beach to attend Gold, the festival’s Irish Spotlight showcase film. So, today I’m going to share my thoughts on Gold and how it may find success. I’m also going to share the happenings of the Newport Beach Film Festival, which is clearly one of the most enjoyable festival experiences I’ve had outside of Cannes in the last few years.

Gold – A Quick Review
Directed by Niall Heery, Gold is about Ray, a mysteriously content underachieving slacker who returns to his hometown to convince his estranged teenage daughter to meet her dying grandfather. While the premise isn’t infused with sunshine and rainbows, and the subplots fall into even darker treachery, this picture is also littered with key comedic moments that ultimately make it an enjoyable 88-minute slice of cinema. In fact, the on-screen performances of Maisie Williams and David Milmot alone are worth the price of admission and time spent. So, don’t be derailed by the film’s dark themes and anti-hero lead characters, because they only enhance the value of Gold.

Gold Is A Title That Keeps This Film From Winning Gold
Gold is not a bad title for pictures about Olympic hopefuls, Yukon miners or bank heists, but it’s just not a good title for this film. Since a picture’s title is the first thing film buyers and moviegoers alike will see, titles are crucial to the film’s ability to capture an audience. The problem with this title is that it’s tied to one of the film’s subplots, and thus has almost nothing to do with the main story. Thus, as the picture starts to get sold throughout the world, I predict distributors will change the title in order to create more interest. Of course, if the title doesn’t change, this film may fall into the annals of forgotten cinema, which is sad because Golddeserves to be remembered.

Key in on Performance Based Marketing
If I were distributing Gold, I’d focus on the performances, and the fact Maisie Williams has 872,000 Twitter followers and 910,721 likes on Facebook (as of the publishing of this article). Short of Fox Searchlight, Sony Classics or The Weinstein Company buying the film and mounting an Oscar-worthy “For Your Consideration” ad campaign this fall, Gold will have to rely on social media to carry it to the promise land. Thus, focusing on the film’s standout performances by David Milmot and Maisie Williams is Gold’s best shot at achieving success.

The Newport Beach Film Festival Is A Grand Affair
Aside from attending the Gold screening, I was astounded as to how grand the Newport Beach Film Festivalhas become. Not only does the festival have an Irish Spotlight, but they also have a Pacific Rim Showcase, Latino Showcase, and a European Showcase. Furthermore,the Newport Beach Film Festival showcases family films, environmental films, action sports films, collegiate films, youth films, films on art, architecture and design, and music-oriented films. They also have short film showcases, seminars, and documentaries, feature films, and even a retroactive showcase. In all, there’s north of 400 films screened over eight days, which attracts more than 50,000 attendees. However, the festival is programmed at multiple theaters in the Newport Beach and Costa Mesa area, so it never feels like you’re in a cattle call trying to get into a screening. Simply put, this festival is one that everyone should attend at least once, and is one that I plan on attending yearly.

Okay, friends. That concludes this 264th edition of Going Bionic. As always, I thank you for lending me your eyes, and I look forward to borrowing them again next week, when we preview up upcoming annual trip to the 2015 Cannes Film Festival. Until then, I hope you have a great week! I can be followed on Twitter @Lonelyseal.

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