Summer Times: Stony Brook Film Festival returns in July
Stony Brook University Staller Center for the Arts transforms into a cinephile mecca when new independent films are screened at the Stony Brook Film Festival on evenings and weekends from Thursday, July 21 through Saturday, July 30. The popular festival, now in its 27th year, combines memorable shorts with an array of features you won’t see anywhere else, making it a favorite with moviegoers and filmmakers alike.
Presented by Island Federal, the 2022 Festival lineup features 38 films from over 28 countries. The Festival opens with the North American premiere of Peaceful, with Catherine Deneuve, Benoît Magimel and Gabriel A. Sara. A life-affirming drama about acceptance and resilience, Peaceful follows Benjamin, a terminally ill theater teacher as he navigates his final months and days. The film’s beating heart comes from Gabriel Sara – a real-life cancer specialist at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan – who plays Benjamin’s very human specialist, Dr. Eddé. Catherine Deneuve’s powerful performance as Benjamin’s mother is unforgettable.
“This year’s Festival is kind of a family affair, with several real family members making films and members of our Stony Brook family returning,” says Festival co-programmer Kent Marks. “Our independent Sunday night feature, the very touching This is a movie about my motherwhich was filmed in Ithaca, New York, stars real-life siblings Tess and Will Harrison and was written and directed by Tess.
The family theme continues with the riveting Korean independent film, Seokkarae. Written and directed by Mike Beech and starring his wife, Jiwon Lee, the character-driven film depicts a quiet 20-something trying to keep the family business going despite the difficulties. Jungle is another such collaboration, written by real-life partners Claudia Verena Hruschka and Kieran Wheeler, with Wheeler directing and Hruschka giving a heartbreaking performance in this hard-hitting short film from Australia.
From Australia to Stony Brook, the Switch is co-directed by brothers Stony Brook Ryan and Anthony Famulari. Made for almost nothing during COVID, this hilarious comedy has the brothers serving as the entire crew, with Anthony in the very funny role of a man and his clone. Two other co-directors are sisters Austin and Westin Ray with their UK-based silent thriller before seven. The Ray’s, 2014 Festival alumni, have served as directors, screenwriter (Westin) and composer and cinematographer (Austin). Another SBFF alumnus is John Gray, who won the People’s Choice award for his 2020 film Extra sleevesand returns this year with the intriguing family drama The little boy drummer.
Women will take center stage at this year’s SBFF, both in front of and behind the camera. SBFF’s opening and closing night features and shorts were all directed by female directors. In total, 17 of the 38 films of the Festival were directed by women. two movies, kitchen tales and before sevenwere made with almost all-female crews.
The Jackie Stiles Story and nassima are two completely different documentaries about female athletes from the middle of nowhere – a small town in Kansas and a small seaside village in Bangladesh – who both defied the odds and had a huge impact in their respective sports of basketball and basketball. surf.
There are heroines from all walks of life, whether in New Zealand drama Bunny King’s Justicethe israeli epic Picture of Victorythe albanian thriller Vera dreams of the seaor American indie peace in the valleyall of which feature jaw-dropping performances from their lead actresses.
Reflection on current issues, two Festival films, Olga and Berenchtein both are set in and around Ukraine, and both date from times when the Ukrainian people faced an oppressive regime, whether from the Nazis or their own government.
Mila, a must-see short film on the closing night of SBFF, is a debut effort by writer/director Cinzia Angelini and made by 350 animators from 35 countries, who volunteered their services to help Angelini realize her story after that all the major studios turned it down. Inspired by the events of the 1943 Trento bombing in Italy, this touching story depicts a young girl who has lost everything but still clings to hope.
Closing night, lost transport, is a powerful and deeply moving film set during the final days of World War II, told only from a female perspective. When German soldiers abandon a deportation train, leaving the fate of its occupants in the hands of advancing Russian troops, three women from very different backgrounds put aside their differences and work together to survive.
“The diversity of filmmakers is a hallmark of the Stony Brook Film Festival, with student filmmakers, seasoned professionals and nine budding directors represented this year,” festival director Alan Inkles said. “We are very happy to have filmmakers from all over the world join us in person this year for their first screenings. Our audience can gather in a huge theater with the largest screen on Long Island, to see movies the way they were meant to be seen. Not only are these films not available on any streaming format, but you can also hear directly from the filmmakers themselves, ask them a question during our live Q&A, and even vote for your favorite.
For 27 years, the Stony Brook Film Festival has welcomed 549 filmmakers from 78 different countries, presented nearly 55 world premieres and more than 75 American premieres. In total, the Festival screened nearly 1,100 independent films from around the world. The festival begins with an opening party and ends with an awards ceremony and a closing party.
Thursday July 21 at 8 p.m.
Characteristic: Peacefulme France
Short: LentiniUnited States
Friday July 22 at 7 p.m.
Characteristic: Olga, Switzerland, Ukraine, France
Short: kitchen talesUK
Friday, July 22 at 9:30 p.m.
Characteristic: Global LessonsUnited States
Short: before sevenUnited States
Saturday July 23 at 4:30 p.m.
Documentation feature: The Jackie Stiles StoryWE
Saturday July 23 at 7 p.m.
Short: The little boy drummerWE
Saturday July 23 at 9:30 p.m.
Characteristic: peace in the valleyWE
Short: raiseUnited States
Sunday July 24 at 4:30 p.m.
Documentary report: nassimaWE
Sunday July 24 at 7 p.m.
Characteristic: BerenchteinIsrael and Ukraine
Short: The Switcheroo, United States
Sunday July 24 at 9:30 p.m.
Characteristic: This is a movie about my motherWE
Short: North StarUnited States
Monday July 25 at 7 p.m.
Characteristic: Take the roadIran
Short: summer of beesFinland
Monday, July 25 at 9:30 p.m.
Short: Save ElodieUK
Tuesday July 26 at 7 p.m.
Characteristic: Hard shell, soft shellFrance
Short: almost winterUnited States
Tuesday July 26 at 9:30 p.m.
Characteristic: Bunny King’s JusticeNew Zealand
Short: The dressUnited States
Wednesday July 27 at 7 p.m.
Characteristic: Picture of VictoryIsrael
Wednesday July 27 at 9:30 p.m.
Characteristic: The testFrance
Short: Free fallFrance
Thursday July 28 at 7 p.m.
Characteristic: Haute coutureFrance
Thursday July 28 at 9:30 p.m.
Characteristic: son of the seaSouth Africa
Friday July 29 at 7 p.m.
Characteristic: Vera dreams of the seaKosovo & Albania & Republic of Macedonia
Short: Everything that shinesUK
Friday, July 29 at 9:30 p.m.
Characteristic: Black BoxFrance & Belgium
Saturday July 30 at 8 p.m.
Characteristic: lost transportNetherlands & Luxembourg & Germany
Short: MilaUnited States
PRIZE OF THE CLOSING EVENING
All screenings take place at Stony Brook University’s Staller Center for the Arts, 100 Nicolls Road, Stony Brook in the 1,000-seat Main Stage Theatre. Festival-goers can choose between a Gold Pass, a Festival Pass or an Individual Pass. Passes start at $20. All pass holders will hear from filmmakers throughout the Festival and have the opportunity to rate and vote on favorite films to help choose this year’s Festival winners.
Gold Passholders receive admission to all films, VIP reserved seating, a Stony Brook Film Festival goodie bag, discounts at restaurants and local businesses, access opening and closing nights, filmmakers’ Q&As, and the closing night awards ceremony. Festival pass holders receive admission to all films and guaranteed seats to sold-out films, Q&As with the filmmakers, access to the evening’s awards ceremony closing ceremony, discounts at local restaurants and businesses, voting for the People’s Choice Award and a gift for the Stony Brook Film Festival pass holder. For more information or to order, call 631-632-2787 or visit stonybrookfilmfestival.com.
*This article originally appeared in TBR News Media’s Summer Times supplement on June 24.