×

Newport Beach Film Fest U.K. Honors Bring Surf and Sun to BAFTA Weekend

Nobody can quite explain why, but there’s long been a significant thread connecting the Newport Beach Film Festival to British film culture. The Southern California festival, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this spring, always features a popular showcase of U.K. films. And now, for the fifth year running, the Southern California fest’s U.K. Honors is heading to England to celebrate the best of British entertainment.

The star-studded event takes place Feb. 7 at The Langham Hotel in London, three days before the BAFTA film awards.

“For whatever reason, there’s always been kind of a cultural affinity between the audience that comes to the Newport Beach Film Festival and the U.K. marketplace,” says Gary Sherwin, president and CEO of Visit Newport Beach. “We’ve always had some great actresses and actors that come from the U.K. to attend the festival.”
Sherwin mentions recent visitors including current Oscar nominee Olivia Colman, Simon Pegg and Jared Harris.

“Our organization has had a presence in the U.K. for many years,” he adds. “It’s a large source of visitation for the city, one of our top three visitor markets.”

Five years ago, Sherwin met with Gregg Schwenk, executive director of the Newport Fest, to discuss exploring an international partnership. “He always wanted to do something that celebrates [the British] aspect of the film festival, and we certainly wanted a way to help tell the Newport Beach story. So together we thought, what if we could do an event in conjunction with BAFTA weekend?

“As a BAFTA member, and a board member for the British American Business Council, I’ve always had a unique understanding of the role the creative industries play in the U.K. Because of my background, and because of our festival’s strong historical ties to the U.K., creating an honors program in London was a very natural and organic step for us.”

The first U.K. Honors Awards event celebrated “The Imitation Game,” with Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley in attendance. “And then subsequently we had other filmmakers coming to us and saying, ‘Can we be part of this?’ So this has grown from what was a really nice celebration of a particular British film to more of a broad-based award ceremony. And last year it was designated as kind of the opening-night event for BAFTA weekend.”

This year, Yorgos Lanthimos’ acerbic royal tragicomedy “The Favourite,” nominated for 10 Oscars and 12 BAFTAs, will be honored for achievement in global cinema. Previous film honorees include “Darkest Hour” and “Brooklyn.”

This year’s icon honorees are Julian Fellowes, the novelist and screenwriter responsible for the Oscar-winning film “Gosford Park” and the smash hit period drama “Downton Abbey,” and John Lloyd, the television producer best-known for his work on “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” and “Blackadder.”

Honors for Artists of Distinction, given to those who combine their craft with philanthropy, go to Rob Brydon (“The Trip” series), Lily Cole (“Snow White and the Huntsman”), Laura Carmichael (“Downton Abbey”) Richard Dormer (“Game of Thrones”), and Joanne Froggatt (“Downton Abbey.”)
The breakthrough award recipients are Naomi Ackie (“Lady Macbeth”), Ellie Bamber (“Les Misérables”), Hannah John-Kamen (“Game of Thrones”) and Louis Serkis (“The Kid Who Would Be King”).

And the Arts Champion honors, given to “outstanding organizations, corporations, institutions or individuals, that promote, defend, produce, educate, and encourage creativity and the arts” will be awarded to MediCinema, a U.K.-based charity that builds state-of-the-art cinemas in hospitals and health facilities, and Women in Film & TV, which offers professional development to women working in media.

In addition, Variety will present its annual list of 10 Brits to Watch honorees, calling attention to a new generation of talent from cinema, TV, music, and beyond.

The 20th edition of the Newport Beach Film Festival will take place April 25-May 2, with the lineup set to be announced April 1.

Tipsheet
What: NBFF U.K. Honors
When: Feb. 7
Where: The Langham Hotel, London
web: newportbeachfilmfest.com/event/variety-10-brits-to-watch-and-nbff-honours

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Maleficent Mistress of Evil

    Korea Box Office: 'Maleficent 2' Debuts on Top, Deposes 'Joker'

    Given a Thursday opening, “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” debuted on top of the South Korean box office. The Walt Disney release earned $4.56 million from 612,000 admissions over four days. The fantasy adventure film accounted for 37% of total weekend box office in the country. “Joker” slipped to second after remaining on top for two [...]

  • Inside an Inox Leisure multiplex in

    India's Inox Multiplex Chain Reveals Ambitious Growth Plans

    Indian multiplex chain Inox Leisure has revealed ambitious plans to more than double its existing screen capacity of 600. The company is planning to add 900 more screens across the country over the next decade. “That’s the realistic answer, but my desire is to do it over the next five years,” Siddharth Jain, director, Inox [...]

  • Joker

    Why 'Joker' Is About All of Us (Column)

    Take a look at the photo above. It’s the most poetic image to have emerged from Todd Phillips’ “Joker,” and the reason I say “poetic” isn’t just because the shot has that caught-in-action indelible vibe of a quintessential movie poster: graphic, hauntingly composed, a bit shocking (at least, the first time you see it). It’s [...]

  • Angelina Jolie is Maleficent in Disney’s

    'Maleficent: Mistress of Evil' Rules International Box Office With $117 Million

    Though Disney’s “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” stumbled at the domestic box office, the Angelina Jolie-led sequel enjoyed a far stronger start overseas. The follow-up to 2014’s fantasy adventure inspired by the “Sleeping Beauty” villain took off with $117 million from 56 international markets. In North America, “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” debuted with a meager $36 [...]

  • Angelina Jolie is Maleficent in Disney’s

    Box Office: 'Maleficent: Mistress of Evil' Dominates With Soft $36 Million

    Five years after Angelina Jolie’s “Maleficent” cast a spell over the box office, the villainous enchantress has returned to the top of domestic charts. Disney’s “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil,” a sequel to 2014’s fantasy adventure based on the “Sleeping Beauty” sorceress, flew lower than the original and debuted to a disappointing $36 million from 2,790 [...]

  • MIA Wrap

    Rome MIA Market Wraps With Stronger U.S. Presence, Boosts Italy's Industry Standing

    Rome’s MIA market for TV series, feature films and documentaries wrapped positively Sunday with organizers boasting a bump in attendance just as some 2,500 executives departed in an upbeat mood after four days of dealmaking and presentations of mostly European fresh product, which elevated Italy’s global standing in the industry, especially within the TV sector. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content