Festival History

Founded in 1999, the Newport Beach Film Festival has emerged as the largest international cinema event in coastal Southern California, attracting over 56,000 attendees to Orange County, CA.

The Community Outreach Program was created with the idea that film offers new perspectives and possibilities for a changing world. Each year, the Festival partners with over 40 non-profit organizations and pairs each philanthropic organization with a film that aligns with their mission. The Festival gives non-profit organizations a forum to voice their message to large audiences and spread awareness of their organization and mission through the medium of film. Areas of focus include the arts, health and human services, the environment, education, children’s causes, seniors’ and veterans’ programs, and alumni clubs.


Newport Beach Film Festival founded


NBFF honors Robert Wise with Lifetime Achievement Award


NBFF honors composer Elmer Bernstein


NBFF opens Festival with North American Premiere of ‘Crash’

NBFF hosts Jim Henson Retrospective

‘Cinema Orange’ film series launched with Orange County Museum of Art

‘Action Sports Film Series’ created


Will Ferrell hosts ‘Youth Film Showcase’ as honorary chair at its launch


NBFF presents ‘An Evening of Disney Animation Rarities with Roy E. Disney and Don Hahn’

NBFF hosts ‘Ten Decades of ‘The Duke’: The Official John Wayne Centennial Celebration’


NBFF hosts ‘An Evening with Richard Sherman’

NBFF presents Chuck Jones Award for Excellence in Animation


NBFF celebrates 10th Anniversary Cirque Du Soleil performance at Opening Night

McG named Honorary Chair

NBFF launches ‘Cinema Sage Hill’ free community film series at The Studio at Sage Hill

NBFF hosts Nickelodeon Spongebob Squarepants 10th Anniversary Celebration


‘Art, Architecture + Design Film Series’ launched


NBFF presents free screenwriting panel with Aaron Sorkin


Richard Sherman Disney Rarities


Variety Hosts their first “10 Cinematographers to Watch” at the 15th Annual Newport Beach Film Festival


NBFF and Visit Newport Beach Launches the NBFF UK Honours Program and Honors the Cast of “Imitation Game,” including Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley


NBFF Launches our Annual Honors program with Honorees Rita Moreno, Burt Bacharach, Kate Beckinsale, and legendary screenwriter Linda Woolverton in attendance


NBFF ‘Culinary Film Series’ launched

NBFF and Visit Newport Beach host Variety’s 10 Actors to Watch


NBFF Celebrates its 20th anniversary, reaching 58,000 attendees