The Newport Beach Film Festival’s opening night will see the world premiere of “Jewtopia,” bringing to Orange County something its residents seldom get to see: Jewish humor.
Adapted from the successful off-Broadway comedy of the same name, “Jewtopia” stars Ivan Sergei, Joel David Moore, Jennifer Love-Hewitt and Wendie Malick as two couples who find themselves in the middle of an outrageous culture clash. Also in the film are Jon Lovitz, Rita Wilson, Nicollette Sheridan and Tom Arnold. The cast of the film is set to walk the red carpet at the premiere this Thursday, April 26 at Big Newport Six.
“Jewtopia” follows childhood friends Christian O’Connell (Sergei) and Adam Lipschitz (Moore), both of whom are in the middle of relationship crises: Adam is nearly betrothed to Hannah (Sigler), a woman he cannot stand, and Christian is chasing the Jewish Allison (Hewitt) with the hopes of never having to make an adult decision for the rest of his days. In order to woo Allison, Christian convinces Adam to help him act Jewish, and naturally, plenty of Jewish stereotypes are made fun of during the course of the film.
While the film pokes fun of the Jewish culture, director and co-writer Bryan Fogel insists that the heart of the film is in the right place: “[Jewtopia] not only captures the outrageous comedy that made the stage play so popular, it also tells the universal story of cultures clashing and families getting in the way of love.”
Fogel and fellow writer and co-creator Sam Wolfson started out as struggling writers, actors and stand-up comedians back in 2001 in Los Angeles. In an attempt to break into the business in a very big way, the duo maxed out their credit cards and released “Jewtopia” on May 8, 2003. The play sold-out at the Los Angeles Playhouse and Coast Playhouse for 16 straight weeks, then moved on to New York six weeks after their last West Coast performance. The show became a hit, selling out showings right and left, and went on to become the longest running comedy in off-Broadway history.
After the premiere, a gala event will be hosted by Fashion Island that will feature live entertainment, samples of food provided by thirty of Orange County’s top-rated restaurants, and an open bar courtesy of Absolut Vodka and Stella Artois. Tickets for the film are $85, and tickets for both the film and gala are $125 per person.
The Newport Beach Film Festival is showing over 400 films this year from 50 different countries, continuing its tradition of giving Orange County a sample of some of the best in independent and foreign cinema. Regular special events, showcases, and Q&A’s with filmmakers will regularly accompany screenings. Tickets for any and all events at the film festival are available at their main website.