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Crash will open Newport Beach festival

US Premiere of CRASH Kicks Off Sixth Annual Event: 2005 NEWPORT BEACH FILM FESTIVAL

The Newport Beach Film Festival opens its sixth annual event with the U.S. premiere of CRASH on April 21, 2005. The film kicks off an impressive line-up of over 300 films from more than 30 countries. The Closing Night Gala will include the West Coast premiere of MAD HOT BALLROOM on April 28, 2005. Both titles are receiving great buzz in advance of their respective theatrical releases and will contribute to what looks to be a banner year for the Festival.

Challenging and thought-provoking, Lions Gate Films’ CRASH takes a provocative, unflinching look at the complexities of racial tolerance in contemporary America. Diving headlong into the diverse melting pot of post-9/11 Los Angeles, this compelling urban drama tracks the volatile intersections of a multi-ethnic cast of characters’ struggles to overcome their fears as they careen in and out of one another’s lives. In the gray area between black and white, victim and aggressor, there are no easy answers.

This dynamic feature brings us a distinguished cast including: Sandra Bullock, Don Cheadle, Matt Dillon, Jennifer Esposito, William Fichtner, Brendan Fraser, Terrence Howard, Chris "Ludacris" Bridges, Thandie Newton, Ryan Phillippe and Larenz Tate.

This is the directing debut of award-winning writer/producer Paul Haggis ("Million Dollar Baby") from a story by Paul Haggis and a screenplay by Haggis and Bobby Moresco. Crash is produced by Cathy Schulman, Don Cheadle, Bob Yari, Mark R. Harris, Bobby Moresco and Paul Haggis.

“We are very excited to be teaming up with Lions Gate Films for this U.S. premiere,” says Gregg Schwenk, executive director of the Festival. “This poignant and engaging film sets the bar for an impressive 10 day line-up.”

Lions Gate Films’ CRASH (Rated R for language, sexual content and some violence) will hit theaters nationwide in limited release on May 5, 2005.

The film opens the Newport Beach Film Festival on April 21, 2005 at Edwards Big Newport (300 Newport Center Drive, Newport Beach) at 7:30 PM. Following the screening, the Festival will host its Opening Night Gala at the Fashion Island Courtyard (401 Newport Center Drive, Newport Beach) sponsored by Razor Magazine and Level Vodka. Tickets for Opening Night are $100.00 and include the screening and gala, complete with hosted bar compliments of Level Vodka and Karl Strauss Brewing Company and a sampling of culinary delights from more than a dozen of Newport Beach’s finest restaurants.

Closing out the Festival is the premiere of Paramount Classics’ MAD HOT BALLROOM. An insightful, inspiring and often hilarious look at a group of eleven year-old New York City public school kids who journey into the world of ballroom dancing. Along the way, they reveal themselves and their world as they compete in the final citywide competition. Told from their candid perspectives, these kids are transformed from reluctant participants to determined competitors, from typical urban kids to “ladies and gentlemen.” This film raised eyebrows when the studio purchased the documentary for $4 million dollars.

The film screens on April 28, 2005 at the Regency Lido Theater (3459 Via Lido, Newport Beach) at 7:30 PM. Following the screening, the Festival will host its Closing Night Gala at Lido Plaza (adjacent to the Regency Lido Theater) sponsored by First Republic Bank, Absolut Vodka and Karl Strauss Brewing Company. Tickets for Closing Night are $40 and include the screening and gala. Following the Closing Night Celebration is the Festival’s Awards Ceremony (April 29, 2005) and encore screenings of select Festival films (April 30, 2005).

This year's event includes over 300 films from more than 30 countries. The entire Festival line-up will be available online April 1, 2005 at www.NewportBeachFilmFest.com. Films will screen at Edwards Island Cinemas (999 Newport Center Drive, Newport Beach), the Lido Theater (3459 Via Lido, Newport Beach), The Peter and Mary Muth Interpretive Center (2301 University Drive, Newport Beach) and the Orange County Museum of Art (850 San Clemente Drive, Newport Beach) with the exception of Opening Night.

The Newport Beach Film Festival runs April 21 - 30, 2005 and is sponsored by Absolut Vodka, Adelphia, Lucy & Leigh Steinberg, and the City of Newport Beach.

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