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Port Theater to Reopen Saturday

The long awaited return of the Port Theater in Corona del Mar will happen just in time for the Newport Beach Film Festival.

One of the most iconic buildings in Newport Beach will finally be unveiling its long awaited remodel this week as it serves as a venue for the heavily anticipated Newport Beach Film Festival.

The Port Theater on East Coast Highway, which has been closed and deserted since 1998, has been slowly undergoing a facelift fit for the 21st Century. While theater officials have been hush hush on the project, an official from the Newport Beach Film Festival confirmed some design secrets the public could expect when its doors reopen Saturday afternoon for the seminar, "Vision and Craft: The art of filmmaking."

"It's the Port Theater so there has to be portholes, lots of stainless steel portholes and lots of stainless steel gates, granite all over the place," said Dennis Baker, the festival's director of short film programming. "It's just really really impressive inside. Really nice theater. State of the art sound system, state of the art projection system."

Throughout the Newport Beach Film Festival, the Port Theater will host additional seminars and special screenings complimentary to guests including the April 28 screening of “Kingdom Come” on Saturday and “Right to Play” on Sunday.

"Everything is free. We have seminars there, free, movies Sunday night are free," Baker said. "It's part of the Newport Beach Film Festival giving back to the community. "

Even Mayor Nancy Gardner, is eager to see what the theater will be like. 

"It's been long awaited," she said. 

In the past the theater has shown everything from first run features to its final years as an art house theater showing independent and foreign films. Although full details about the theater have not been confirmed, there have been suggestions that the theater will now focus on one-off screening, special events and will possibly have a lounge area and the availability to hold private events. 

Currently the exterior of the theater can be seen from sidewalk views. A bright purple retro style mod design outlines the entryway which is entirely glass. The old Port sign has stayed in place, but a new neon sign which reads "new" above Port has been added. There is also an elevator inside the lobby. 

Are you looking forward to the reopening of the Port Theater? Tell us what you are hoping to see inside of it in the comments.

Evelyne Huegi April 24, 2012 at 03:01 PM
Yeahhhh!! It's about time. No more construction !!!
Tara Kuhnert Cote April 24, 2012 at 05:12 PM
Amazing article!! So excited for the "...return of the Port"!!

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