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Newport Beach Film Festival opens with “The Absence of Eden” and closes with “The Holdovers”



The 2023 Newport Beach Film Festival (NBFF) announced that the festival’s opening night will be the Los Angeles Times Envelope screening of The Absence of Eden, directed by Marco Perego and starring Zoe Saldaña, on Thursday October 12 at the Edwards Big Newport. The festival will close with Focus Features’ The Holdovers, directed by Alexander Payne, on Thursday, October 19 at the Port Theatre. The 24th edition of the festival will be held in person from October 12-19 and will spotlight 91 films from around the world.


Filmmakers will be in attendance for a moderated interview prior to the screening of The Absence of Eden. The film centers around an ICE agent (Garrett Hedlund) struggling with the moral dilemmas of border security and an undocumented woman (Zoe Saldaña) fighting to escape a ruthless cartel who cross paths and work together to save the life of an innocent girl. The film is produced by Academy Award-nominated producer Julie Yorn and Marco Perego, along with Robert Kravis and Karl Herrmann under their banner of Pioneer Pictures, and Academy Award-nominated producer Alexandra Milchan. Academy Award-winning director and producer Martin Scorsese, and Rick Yorn serve as executive producers, alongside Zoe Saldaña’s Cinestar Pictures, Ingenious Media, Ashland Hill, Sycuan Tribal as well as Ruben Islas, Jolene Rodriguez and Stanley Preschutti.


The Holdovers follows a curmudgeonly instructor (Paul Giamatti) at a New England prep school who is forced to remain on campus during Christmas break to babysit the handful of students with nowhere to go. Eventually he forms an unlikely bond with one of them -- a damaged, brainy troublemaker (newcomer Dominic Sessa) -- and with the school’s head cook, who has just lost a son in Vietnam (Da’Vine Joy Randolph). The Focus Features comedy is directed by Alexander Payne and produced by Mark Johnson, Bill Block and David Hemingson. Chris Stinson, Tom Williams, Andrew Golov and Thom Zadra serve as executive producers.


The 2023 Newport Beach Film Festival will host world premieres, awards contenders, nightly special events and compelling conversations with filmmakers. Already announced Centerpiece and Spotlight films include A Whole Life, Double Blind, Frontiers, Honey Sweet, Freelance, Fingernails, Gentleman, Woken, In the Name of the Father, May December, Monster, NYAD, Only the River Flows, Radical, Rustin, Second Act, The First Day of My Life, Verdigris, Live and Without Her.


Tickets to the Opening Night Film and Gala are $225. Tickets to the Closing Night Film and Gala are $145. Gala events are open to attendees 21 & older. For Festival passes, tickets, and complete line-up, visit


About Newport Beach Film Festival

Recognized as one of the largest luxury lifestyle film festivals in the United States, the Newport Beach Film Festival brings an internationally curated collection of films and vibrant cultural gatherings to the beautiful Southern California coast. Committed to championing the work of original storytellers from around the globe, the Festival celebrates contemporary screen culture, cinematic excellence, engaging the community in compelling conversations with filmmakers and artists. The Newport Beach Film Festival is sponsored in part by UCI Health, Los Angeles Times, The Macallan, Fashion Island, and the City of Newport Beach. For Festival passes, tickets and safety information, visit


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