Evan Beamer, co-director of "In Security," had a brush with danger Friday.
The Los Angeles resident almost backed into a Camaro after receiving a text telling him that his first feature film had been honored as an Outstanding Achievement in Filmmaking at the Newport Beach Film Festival.
"This is such a cool thing for our first tiny little movie that no one had ever seen before," said Beamer, who directed the film with his brother, Adam. "We are so grateful to the Newport Beach Film Festival. We got to watch this thing with a full house, and everyone was laughing the whole way through. We hope this honor allows more people to hear about this movie and helps get the word out for us a little bit."
Festival-goers tore off the corners of colored ballots after every screening to indicate if what they had just watched was "excellent," "good," "fair" or "poor." The festival gives out three sets of awards each year: Jury Awards, Audience Awards and Outstanding Achievements, which are decided by staff.
Another winner taken by surprise was Jericho Rosales, who starred in and co-produced the drama "Breakaway (Alagwa)." Rosales was being driven through Los Angeles when his phone rang and his publicist, Monica Busby, inquired, "Did you hear the news?"
Rosales froze, preparing for bad news, but it turned out to be the opposite: He had won the Outstanding Achievement in Acting award.
"Holy smokes — I'm so stoked," said Rosales, who was given the same prize in 2011. "This award means that a piece of the puzzle of my dream is coming together ... it means that us Filipinos can make it out here ... it's a confirmation of my faith."
Rosales, who co-produced the Ian Loreños-directed movie, said he was thrilled to simply have earned the lead role.
"This is a treat," he said. "I'm blown away. I leave Newport Beach with a great memory and souvenir."
Sam Rockwell ("A Single Shot") and Diane Kruger ("Fly Me to the Moon") won Jury Awards for Best Actor and Actress, respectively. "Fly Me to the Moon," a French adventure comedy, also took Best Feature Film, Director and Screenplay.
According to Gregg Schwenk, chief executive officer and executive director of the festival, this year's audience rankings were higher than normal.
"I'm elated," he said. "One, I'm very happy with how well the festival has gone ... We are very pleased with the feedback we've gotten not only from our audience, but also the scores that are all trending a little higher than ever before."
Schwenk said so many films got an ecstatic crowd reaction during the festival that it was hard to predict which films would come out on top until the votes were counted.
Closing in style
The festival concluded with people lining up Thursday in anticipation of the final night's spotlight "The Way, Way Back."
The atmosphere was upbeat among attendees, some of whom spent about an hour waiting to watch the sold-out film at the Regency Lido Theatre in Newport Beach.
The movie centers on Duncan, an awkward 14-year-old, stuck with his mother, her inappropriate boyfriend and his daughter for the summer. Enter Owen, manager at Water Wizz park, who befriends Duncan during what turns out to be a memorable vacation — first kiss and all.