The week-long 23rd annual Newport Beach Film Festival (NBFF) wrapped up on October 20, 2022 after screening over 300 films and hosting nearly a dozen post-screening celebrations in three Orange County cities: Newport Beach, Costa Mesa, and Corona Del Mar, California.

Earlier this year, my blog was invited to partner with the NBFF’s French Spotlight. As a Francophile, I was absolutely delighted to support this event as I enjoy French film, food, and culture. Here’s a look back at the French Spotlight event, which took place on October 18, 2022 in Costa Mesa.

ice sculpture at TIME Nightclub | October 18, 2022

In addition to the French Spotlight film, the Starlight Triangle Square Cinemas was the venue for the German Spotlight, Italian Spotlight, Norwegian Spotlight, and Swedish Spotlight film screenings.

The Red Carpet at Starlight Triangle Square Cinemas | October 18, 2022
thank you for having me!

Before the film, Gregg Schwenk, CEO / Co-Founder of the Newport Beach Film Festival, welcomed everyone to the community. He also introduced the French Spotlight team: Lesleeane, Jack, Robin, Morgane, Julia, Marie, and Hugo.

French Spotlight team | October 18, 2022

French Spotlight film: The Worst Ones (Les pires)

I knew that The Worst Ones (Les pires) was going to be a film-within-a-film, but the acting appeared so natural at times that I thought I was watching a reality show. The movie shows the casting process, as well as the “director” in the film directing his movie. Without giving too much away, there is a scene in which the director films a love scene between two visibly uncomfortable teenagers. While it was tastefully done, in my opinion, such scenes would probably be considered too risqué for a majority of American viewers! (That’s what I love about French films – they are not afraid to “go there.”) The director depicted in the film also seems to exploit the cast’s youth and social status by perpetuating the negative stereotypes of people living in the banlieues, or suburbs. Overall, the best part of The Worst Ones was the acting by the film’s young cast.

TIME Nightclub entrance | October 18, 2022

After the Spotlight films ended, guests walked over to TIME Nightclub for the Post-Screening Celebration.

We got to sample some tasty bites, like pizza, chicken strips, garlic noodles, and white cheddar mac & cheese from popular Orange County restaurants. My favorite was the chocolate chip madeleines made by Popote.

artisan madeleines by Popote

I ordered a vodka cranberry featuring Austin, Texas-based Tito’s Handmade Vodka, a main sponsor of NBFF.

Talented caricaturists reminded me of the artists in Montmartre’s Place du Tertre in Paris!

caricature by Trisha

A DJ spinning ’90s hits, a pair of nimble aerial performers, and one hammy mime provided live entertainment.

Lyra aerial hoop performer at TIME Nightclub | October 18, 2022
aerial silks performer at TIME Nightclub | October 18, 2022
mime at TIME Nightclub | October 18, 2022

Ever notice at events how the official photographers never get photographed themselves? Well, let’s change that! Here are some photographers getting their groove on! (Plus, watch the 14-second video below.)

TIME Nightclub | October 18, 2022

Thanks again to the French Spotlight team for putting together such a fun event, inviting my blog to take part as an official partner, and for the warm welcome.

with Lesleeane & Jack of the French Spotlight team

I hope The Worst Ones (Les pires) will be released widely soon. When it is, I hope you’ll check it out. Until next time, à bientôt ! 🇫🇷 🎞

“get on out there and dance / dance, I said” 🎶

TIME Nightclub | October 18, 2022