Irish Showcase celebrating Celtic culture set for April 23.

The 18th Annual Newport Beach Film Festival (NBFF) will present the largest celebration of Irish Cinema on the West Coast during its eight-day run from April 20-27.

Highlights include an Irish Showcase event, numerous premieres, 12 narrative and documentary features, two shorts programmes, and the participation of Irish filmmakers and actors.

The Irish Showcase event will take place on April 23 and celebrate Celtic cinema and culture. Three films will premier during the event, including the Southern California premiere of A Date For Mad Mary and The Secret Scripture, and the North American premiere of Tomato Red, followed by a reception.

A Date For Mad Mary from Darren Thornton won Best Irish Feature Film and the Bingham Ray New Talent Award at the 2016 Galway Film Fleadh. 

The film stars Seána Kerslake as Mary McArdle, who returns from prison to attend her best friend Charlene’s wedding and sets out to prove the bride wrong and find a date. Charleigh Bailey also stars.

Jim Sheridan’s The Secret Scripture (pictured), based on the novel by Sebastian Barry, stars Vanessa Redgrave as a long-term resident at a mental institution believed to have murdered her baby decades before. Eric Bana, Rooney Mara, Theo James, Aidan Turner, Jack Reynor and Omar Sharif Jr. also star.

Tomato Red, directed by Juanita Wilson, is based on Daniel Woodrell’s novel about a small town drifter and two friends in Missouri. Jake Weary, Julia Garner and Nick Roux star.

Two Irish short film programmes will screen on April 23 and feature several North American premieres.

“We are honoured to host the largest collection of Irish film in the history of the festival and the largest celebration of Irish film on the West Coast,” NBFF CEO and executive director Gregg Schwenk said.

“With fourteen short films and twelve feature films, the Newport Beach Film Festival shines a spotlight on the exceptionally strong filmmaking community in Ireland.”

“Tourism Ireland is delighted to support the Newport beach Film Festival as part of our quest to promote Ireland as a destination through film,” Alison Metcalfe, executive vice-president, of Tourism Ireland US and Canada, said.

“Screen tourism has become a very important niche for us with HBO’s award-winning Game Of Thrones series, filmed in Northern Ireland, attracting thousands to locations in County Down and along the Causeway Coastal Route. More recently, Star Wars: The Force Awakens and the upcoming The Last Jedi were filmed on our stunning Wild Atlantic Way, which has led to the iconic Skellig Islands becoming an even more popular stop off point for visitors and Star Wars enthusiasts alike.”