Art, Architecture + Design Film Series Brings Aesthetics to Cinematic Life

The Art, Architecture + Design (AA+D) Film Series at the 2019 Newport Beach Film Festival (NBFF) will feature nine feature films and seven short films that showcase art, architecture, design, modernism, photography, sculpture, urban planning and immersive art.

According to an official festival release, “The series highlights emerging and prominent artists, visionaries and icons of the creative world whose achievements have influenced, intrigued, and inspired a multitude of designers, curators, historians and independent filmmakers.”

The Newport Beach Film Festival takes place April 25 – May 2, 2019. AA+D films will screen at THE LOT in Fashion Island (999 Newport Center Drive, Newport Beach), Edwards Big Newport (300 Newport Center Drive, Newport Beach), and Triangle Square Cinemas (1870 Harbor Boulevard, Costa Mesa). Interactive Q&A’s with filmmakers and documentary subjects will follow select screenings.

Here’s a breakdown of every film in the AA+D Film Series:

AA+D Features

An Engineer Imagines 

A cinematic homage to the life and ideas of Peter Rice, widely regarded as the most distinguished engineer of the late 20th century; the film traces Rice’s extraordinary work, from his native Ireland through, London, Sydney and Paris, to his untimely and tragic death in 1992.

Art Paul of Playboy: The Man Behind the Bunny

This documentary explores the life and lasting impact of Art Paul, founding art director of Playboy Magazine, creator of the brand’s iconic bunny logo, and an unsung, accomplished artist of our time. Paul’s thirty-year tenure at Playboy singlehandedly changed the landscape of the two-dimensional magazine and revolutionized the relationship between art and publishing. Through conversations with Paul himself, archival footage, imagery, and interviews with artists, graphic designers, art directors, and former Playboy executives, the film reveals the life and accomplishments of a legendary art director, acclaimed artist and inspiring human being.

Bauhaus Spirit 

Celebrate the 100th anniversary of Walter Gropius’ Bauhaus with this wide-ranging exploration of the movement uniting modern design, art, architecture and performing arts with communal social living to form an academic discipline and utopian way of life. Combining free imagination and play with strict structure, Bauhaus’ members included Anni Albers, Marcel Breuer, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, László Moholy-Nagy, Oskar Schlemmer and more. The film explores this influential 20th-century movement’s history, legacy, and continued relevance in an age where function and environmental sustainability have taken on new urgency. 

Carlos Almaraz: Playing with Fire

A look at the life and work of the late Los Angeles artist Carlos Almaraz. From the lens of an immigrant child coming to this country to live his American Dream of becoming a famous artist.  Through interviews and personal journal entries we explore his inner demons, his passions, his rise as a beloved leader of the Chicano Art Movement and his subsequent success as an artist who is ultimately lost to AIDS in the late 1980’s.

Citizen Lane 

Citizen Lane a Portrait of Hugh Lane: aesthete, collector, dealer, philanthropist. An innovative mix of documentary and drama that delivers a vivid and compelling portrait of Hugh Lane, one of the most fascinating yet enigmatic figures in modern Irish history.

Jay Myself 

Photographer Stephen Wilkes creates an intimate portrait of his mentor, Jay Maisel, as he leaves the 30,000 square foot building in the Bowery that he’s inhabited and filled with his eccentric collection of beautiful random objects for the last 40 years – known as ‘The Bank.’

MEGALODEMOCRAT: The Public Art of Rafael Lozano-Hemmer 

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer is one of the most acclaimed artists working in public space, but his pieces wouldn’t exist without participation. Shot over 10 years in 17 countries, MEGALODEMOCRAT follows Rafael’s breakout career creating large-scale works that entice an increasingly isolated public into transforming their cities and reconnecting with one another.

Neutra- Survival Through Design 

This comprehensive documentary encompasses the life, work and times of Architect Richard Neutra. Over the course of his career, Austrian-American Neutra designed over 500 projects around the world – homes, schools, libraries, and is known for his simple conceptual and practical, steel and glass designs, with a vision towards environment, ecology, and livability. Although he spent his later years in Europe, he built for the majority of his career in Southern California. In 1965, he formed Richard and Dion Neutra Architecture, with son Dion, which continues today at the Neutra Institute in Los Angeles’ Silver Lake neighborhood.

Queen of Paradis 

After the success of artist Reine Paradis’ breakout photo series ‘Jungle’, filmmaker Carl Lindstrom follows her on a surreal journey across the United States as she works to complete her highly anticipated second series ‘Midnight’. Visionary young artist, Reine Paradis, has had success over the past 2 years with her first photo series entitled ‘Jungle’. Now she will face the pressure of completing her anticipated second series entitled ‘Midnight’.  This journey takes us across the U.S. and back again, while unveiling the story of what make Paradis so unique. 

AA+D Short Films

Visions Not Previously Seen: Barbara Stauffacher Solomon  

A short documentary portrait of Barbara Stauffacher Solomon, the groundbreaking designer who fused Swiss modernism with an iconic and bold California pop aesthetic to create the design phenomena known as Supergraphics. At 89 years old, Bobbie continues to produce bold, eclectic work both large and small.

Bordalo II: A Life of Waste

This film is an intimate portrait of Portuguese street artist Artur Bordalo as he aims to highlight the extent of our wastefulness and the impact this has on our environment through his ‘Trash Animals’ sculptures.

Dancing with the Sun: The Artwork of Manuel Hernandez-Trujillo
This film tells the story of Manuel Hernandez-Trujillo’s art and how he helped restore a stolen culture during the Chicano Movement, and the resonating legacy he leaves behind as an artist, activist, and educator.

Gloria’s Call 

From the cafés of Paris to the mountaintops of Samiland, a scholar’s life is forever changed through her friendships with the women artists of Surrealism.

I am known as an artist, Wharton Esherick 

This film recounts the life of a seemingly obscure artist who nevertheless influenced an entire art movement. Interviews with wood experts, historians, contemporary wood artists, and the grandson of Esherick’s most significant patron weave together the story of Esherick’s life and the events that led up to a major exhibition and sale of his work.

Painting the Town – the Street Art of Detroit

This documentary film offers a view upon Detroit’s surging independent movement of street art and graffiti. This once renegade art form – often expressed in massive building-sized murals – depicts subjects, both abstract and whimsical, as well as deeply personal. How is this medium changing the face of Detroit, its popularity, and even its economy? But most of all, how can street art bring people together in ways that never been imagined a few short years ago?

The Sea Ranch: Architecture, Environment, and Idealism

On a ten-mile stretch of the Northern California coast lies the site of a radical architectural experiment. Learn the story behind The Sea Ranch, a place where environment informs geometry and buildings embody ideals.

The AA+D program is supported by Community Partners including AIA Orange County, AIGA Orange County, Orange County Museum of Art, Laguna Art Museum, Arts Orange County and Emerging Arts Leaders.

Tickets are available at the Festival box office or at