Clive Davis, Judd Apatow Docs Head Up newportFILM Festival Lineup

Courtesy of Tribeca Film Festival
'Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of Our Lives'

Highlights include Apatow and Michael Bonfiglio’s 'May It Last: A Portrait of the Avett Brothers,' a behind-the-scenes look at the story of the beloved folk-rock group.

Music mogul Clive Davis, prima ballerina Wendy Whelan and director Rory Kennedy are among the guests that will participate in this summer’s newportFILM festival.

Davis will take part in a Q&A following the July 27 screening of Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of Our Lives, which is set to screen on the lawn of The Elms, the historic mansion in Newport, R.I., once called home by coal baron Edward Julius Berwind. The screening will be presented in partnership with the iconic Newport Folk Festival.

The series of sunset screenings kicks off Thursday with Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story at the Redwood Library & Athenaeum and runs through Aug. 31, with a lineup that includes Judd Apatow and Michael Bonfiglio’s May It Last: A Portrait of the Avett Brothers, a behind-the-scenes look at the story of the beloved folk-rock group. The film, which also is being shown in partnership with the Newport Folk Festival, will take place on the site where Bob Dylan first “went electric” in 1965.

Other highlights include Linda Saffire and Adam Schelsinger’s Restless Creature: Wendy Whelan, Sandy Chronopoulos’ high-fashion doc House of Z about designer Zac Posen and Kennedy’s Take Every Wave: The Life of Laird Hamilton, which chronicles the unlikely ascent of the world-renowned big-wave surfer. And World Bank president Dr. Jim Yong Kim will be on hand for the screening of Bending the Arc, which delves into the global health movement. 

“Once again, we’ve been lucky enough to find and program some fantastic films. Seems like this summer we have something for everyone,” newportFILM artistic director Andrea van Beuren said Wednesday in a statement. “We are so looking forward to introducing our audiences to the incredible lives of [our documentary subjects].”

The Thursday night screenings will be accompanied by pre-film live music and post-screening filmmaker conversations. This year marks the eighth incarnation of newportFILM, which takes place in and around the seaside resort city of Newport.

Past newportFILM guests have included Liz Garbus (What Happened, Miss Simone?), Morgan Neville (Best of Enemies) and Lauren Greenfield (The Queen of Versailles).

The full newportFILM Outdoors schedule of films follows:

Thursday, June 29


Q&A with producer Adam Haggiag and film subject/executive editor of Baron’s Magazine
Location: Redwood Library and Athenaeum Lawn, Newport, R.I.
Hollywood star Hedy Lamarr was known as the world's most beautiful woman — Snow White and Cat Woman were both based on her iconic look. However, her arresting looks and glamorous life stood in the way of her being given the credit she deserved as an ingenious inventor whose pioneering work helped revolutionize modern communication. Mislabeled as “just another pretty face,” Lamarr’s true legacy is that of a technological trailblazer.

Thursday, July 6


Q&A with filmmaker Jeff Orlowski and producer Larissa Rhodes
Location: St. George’s School Lawn. Middletown, R.I.
Chasing Coral was shot over three years, with expeditions to coral reefs around the world. The imagery is an ominous warning of the planet’s future along the current course; at the same time, it is a celebration of the most bio diverse ecosystem on the planet. ​

Thursday, July 13


Q&A with director Thomas Simmons
Location: King Park, Newport, R.I.
The inspiring true story of legendary American sailor and Jamestown native Mike Plant. Spanning the decade from his arrival in professional offshore sailing in the mid 1980s, the film follows Plant's daring spirit as he challenges both Mother Nature — around the world alone on a sailboat — and French dominance in the sport.

Thursday, July 20


Q&A with director Rory Kennedy
Location: Newport Beach House: A Longwood Venue, Middletown, R.I.
Take Every Wave: The Life of Laird Hamilton tracks the remarkable life and legendary career of big-wave surfer Laird Hamilton. Much admired by the public, though often disdained or ignored by the surf industry itself, Laird is a unique sports icon — an athlete who has refused to compete professionally yet has dominated big-wave surfing as no other figure in history has ever done.

Thursday, July 27


Q&A with film subject Clive Davis and director Chris Perkel
Location: The Elms Lawn, Newport, R.I.
Chris Perkel’s riveting profile of legendary music man Clive Davis spans a remarkable five-decade career, providing an incredible tour of the most sensational music of the cultural revolution, from the ’60s to the rise of hip-hop.

Thursday, Aug. 3


Location: St. Michael’s Country Day School Lawn, Newport, R.I.
Filmed with extraordinary access over the course of more than two years, the feature-length May It Last: A Portrait of the Avett Brothers chronicles the band, fronted by brothers Scott and Seth Avett, on the long journey from their rural North Carolina childhood to topping the charts and selling out arenas, experiencing heartbreak, tragedy and joy along the way.

Thursday, Aug. 10


Q&A with film subject Dr. Jim Yong Kim
Location: Ochre Court Lawn, Salve Regina University, Newport, R.I.
Thirty years ago, a group of improbable heroes came together on a mission that was both medical and moral, and, by everyone’s estimation other than their own, highly unlikely to succeed. Their goal was simple but daring: to make high-quality healthcare available to everyone, even in the world’s poorest countries. The film is an emotionally charged, dramatic and inspiring journey with brilliant and headstrong heroes.

Thursday, Aug. 17


Q&A with film subject Wendy Whelan
Location: Rosecliff Lawn, Newport, RI
Restless Creature: Wendy Whelan offers an intimate portrait of prima ballerina Wendy Whelan as she prepares to leave the New York City Ballet after a record-setting three decades with the company. One of the modern era’s most acclaimed dancers, Whelan was a principal ballerina for NYCB and, over the course of her celebrated career, danced numerous ballets by George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins, as well as new works by more modern standout choreographers like Christopher Wheeldon and Alexei Ratmansky; many roles were made specifically for Whelan.

Thursday, Aug. 24


Q&A with film subject Richard Turner and director Luke Korem
Location: Newport International Polo Grounds, Portsmouth, R.I.
Sixty-two-year-old Richard Turner is renowned as one of the world’s greatest card magicians, yet he is completely blind. In this documentary, Richard traces his journey from his troubled childhood, when he began losing his vision, to present day as he relentlessly pursues perfection while struggling with the reality that his biggest weakness might also be his greatest strength.

Thursday, Aug. 31


Q&A with director Sandy Chronopoulos and producer Cori Shepherd Stern
Location: OceanCliff Lawn, Newport, R.I.
House of Z peeks past the glamor of the runway and the red carpet to show audiences a true portrait of designer Zac Posen as both an artist and businessman.

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