Paul Booth chats to Todd Quartararo.

I have covered Newport Beach Film Festival for the last three years. In 2011, Todd Quartararo blessed me with press credentials. I say blessed me, because he did not know me and it was my first time covering a film festival. It launched a wonderful path of covering film festivals, film events and interviewing filmmakers, where Todd unknowingly inspired me to be a Film journalist. It is an honor to interview Todd Quartararo.

Paul Booth: Why did you decide to co-found NBFF? Was there a film that drove you or work of art that fueled the passion for NBFF?

Todd Quartararo: I was born and raised in Orange County. When I was younger, I always used to complain that there was nothing to do here. I figured, rather than complain, why not solve the problem. Today, the Newport Beach Film Festival is experiencing huge success on the national stage along with other Orange County arts organizations like Segerstrom Center for the Arts, South Coast Repertory and the Philharmonic Society.

PB: What has been the most fruitful challenge of running your side of such a big event?

TQ: The biggest challenge initially was sponsorship development. Now after 15 years, we have wonderful family of committed sponsors including LA TImes, Esquire Magazine, The Irvine Company and Stella Artois.

PB: What are some of your main duties for NBFF?

TQ: My main duties are public relations, strategic partnerships, sponsorship development, media planning and advertising.

PB: It has probably been a 15 years-period that flew by, any moments you are most proud of?

TQ: Of course, I am proud of the countless films that had their start at NBFF. But what makes me most proud is the dozens of former NBFF interns that have gone on to great success in the movie business.

PB: As a lover of film, not the co-Director or head of marketing, what do you love most about movies?

TQ: I love the fact that film can take you places. It can be a great escape from your everyday life or an incredible educational opportunity to learn about something new. The best part of NBFF is that with more than 350 films from 40 countries, there truly is something for everyone.

PB: What part of the annual festival is your favorite?

TQ: Opening night is always my favorite. It not only is the kick-off to a great week of films, but it is truly grand in every aspect. The opening night film and gala hosts approximately 2500 guests, 30+ Newport Beach restaurants serving up their signature dishes, host bars, and world-class entertainment from the likes of Cirque du Soleil or top Broadway shows.

PB: When you started NBFF, did you envision year 15 or were you just setting out to do your best?

TQ: We had no idea that the Festival would be this big, Our philosophy is slow and stead growth, however, the response from the audience has catapulted us to new heights.

PB: I have attended the last three Newport Beach Film Festivals, do you have a favorite opening night film as a film lover?

TQ: I love them all. I enjoy the fact that every year is completely different from the year before.

PB: Finally, what are you words or message for the readers? It can be for filmmakers or audience. Consider this an open mic.

TQ: One of the most important things that I would like to share is that the Festival is for everyone and you don’t have to be in the industry to attend. We have films that focus on actions sports, foreign spotlights, animation, art, architecture, design and more. It is a great opportunity to see films that you may never see again or films that everyone will be talking about tomorrow. It is also a rare chance to meet the filmmakers and celebrities that are responsible for these acclaimed films.

The Newport Beach Film Festival celebrates year 15, this April. Visit for more details.

Interview by Paul Booth, Lead Entertainment Writer