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19th Annual Stony Brook Film Festival, July 17-26, Features Indie Premieres from U.S. and 15 Countries
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June 2, 2014, Stony Brook, NY --The 19th Annual Stony Brook Film Festival, produced by Staller Center for the Arts at Stony Brook University, will screen ten evenings of the best in new independent film from Thursday, July 17 through Saturday, July 26 in the Staller Center Main Stage Theatre. The popular summer festival will include three World Premieres and four U.S. Premieres among the seventeen features and twenty shorts and host Q&As with filmmakers and Opening and Closing Night receptions.

The U.S. Premiere features include Back on Track directed by Kilian Riedhof, a bittersweet drama from Germany about a man well over 70 years old training for the Berlin marathon; Kenau, directed by Maarten Treurniet, a big-screen adventure from the Netherlands set in the 16th century; Paper Souls  (Les âmes de papier) a quirky and surprising comedyfrom France; The Dark Valley directed by Andreas Prochaska, with Sam Riley (On the Road), a tale of revenge from Austria/Germany reminiscent of the best of American Westerns. 

Juliette Binoche (The English Patient) and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (“Game of Thrones”) star in the Closing Night film, the New York Premiere of A Thousand Times Good Night, directed by Erik Poppe, inspired by his own experience as a Reuters war photojournalist. Other actors seen on screen in the Festival: Ray Liotta, Ashley Judd, Seth Green and Joe Pantoliano in the New York Premiere of The Identical; Daphne Rubin-Vega (“Smash”) in Fall to Rise ; Hiam Abass (Lemon Tree) in the New York Premiere of May in the Summer . Karina Smirnoff (“Dancing with the Stars”) and Marsha Mason (The Goodbye Girl) are both expected to accompany Ralph Macchio screening his short film Across Grace Alley, opening the film Festival along with Back on Track. Among the short films are three World Premieres, The Ring Cycle, a film by Erin Cramer with Natalie Dormer (“Game of Thrones,” “The Tudors”); The Showdown, a film by Daniela Schrier Kafshi; and Sorta’ Horny, a film by Don Cherel.

Film passes good for all films are on sale for $85, which entitles pass holders to enter the theater first and enjoy other perks. Single tickets go on sale Monday, July 7 subject to availability: $10 general admission, $8 seniors, $5 students. For program information visit www.stonybrookfilmfestival.com. The Staller Center Box Office is open Mon-Sat, 12 noon to 6 pm, phone (631) 632-ARTS [2787], with sales online anytime.

Alan Inkles, founder and director of the Stony Brook Film Festival noted, “In addition to receiving hundreds of entries as we send out a Call for Entries with a ‘no entry fee,’ and working with many U.S. sales agents and distributors, we have also established good relationships with foreign sales agents and film distributors. Films Distribution, Eye International (Holland Films), Beta Cinema, eOne Films International, Media Luna, and Global Screen have been pivotal in securing an exciting and diverse program. Along with films from the U.S., the international slate of features, documentaries and shorts will take audiences to Germany, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, Ireland, Israel, Iraq, France, Netherlands, Singapore, Italy, Spain, Austria, Argentina, and Jordan.”

Tiffany Bartok, producer of Fall to Rise, as well as the short, The Showdown, returns to the Festival this year with Fall to Rise’s writer/director Jayce Bartok. She noted, “In this carefully curated, highly selective festival, all filmmakers who screen their film at Stony Brook feel like winners. With the intense competition to secure a spot on the program, it is an honor to screen at Stony Brook once again. We have been in the theater with close to 1,000 appreciative filmgoers and it’s an awesome experience.” Tiffany Bartok’s short Little Pumpkin screened at a past festival and Jayce Bartok wrote and starred in Mary Stuart Masterson’s The Cake Eaters, which premiered at the Stony Brook Film Festival in 2008.

Other Premieres

East Coast Premieres include Maïna, directed by Michel Poulette, a historical feature from Canada in Innu, Inuit and English; Canopy, directed by Aaron Wilson, an almost wordless drama set in wartime 1942;  and The Green Prince, directed by Nada Schirman, a documentary about a top Hamas leader’s son who spies for Israel. 

New York Premieres include The Identical directed by Dustin Marcellino,with Blake Rayne, Ashley Judd, Ray Liotta, Seth Green and Joe Pantoliano, a rock and roll tale about identical twins separated at birth; 45 RPM, directed by Juli Jackson, a charming road movie; My Sweet Pepper Land, directed by Hiner Saleem from Iraq/France/Germany, an engrossing drama set in a remote village at the edge of Kurdistan; Thesis on a Homicide, directed by Hernán Goldfrid, from Argentina/Spain, a murder-movie thriller,  A Five Star Life, directed by Maria Sole Tognazzi,a sophisticated drama from Italy about a luxury hotel inspector,and May in the Summer, directed by Cherien Dabis, who also plays the leading role of May, a Jordanian woman who lives in New York and goes home to plan her wedding.

OPENING NIGHT – Long Island’s Own: Ralph Macchio

Among the expected guests for opening night are the cast and filmmaker for the short film, Across Grace Alley. Ralph Macchio, a Long Island native, wrote and directed Across Grace Alley. Karina Smirnoff, the dancer who partnered with him on the television show, “Dancing with the Stars,” makes her acting debut in Across Grace Alley and is expected to attend.  In addition, actors Marsha Mason (The Goodbye Girl) and newcomer Ben Hyland are also expected to attend the screening. Ralph Macchio is well-known for his role in The Karate Kid, celebrating its 30th anniversary.

“The Art of the Short” - Special Program

The Art of the Short brings John Salcido and Michael Nathanson to Stony Brook on Friday, July 25 to present a collective body of award-winning work, beginning with a program of three acclaimed shorts – from Michael's starring role in the Oscar-nominated Time Freak (directed by Andrew Bowler), through John Salcido's audience favorite Cataplexy, to the darkly funny and daring This Is Ellen, all of which have been showcased previously at the Stony Brook Film Festival.  The event will culminate in the East Coast premiere of their latest collaboration, Tribute, a dark comedy that explores loss, love and obsession.

Michael and John will discuss the creative process of each film and how the meeting of two successful filmmaking teams, brought together through the Stony Brook Film Festival, resulted in the creation of Tribute, their most ambitious work to date.

Funded and Executive Produced by Stony Brook sponsor and University alum Joe Campolo, along with his partner Joe Zepf, Tribute represents the evolution of two talented filmmakers who became one team, blending their comic voices to create a surprising and bold new film.

Closing Night/Additional Screenings

The Closing Night Awards will be announced by John Anderson, film critic, at a reception following the screening of A Thousand Times Good Night, starring Juliette Binoche and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (“Game of Thrones”), along with young newcomer Lauryn Canny.

Additional features include Fall to Rise, a film about a principal dancer’s injury forcing her out of her dance company, written and directed by Jayce Bartok, Life’s a Breeze, a raucous comedy from Ireland about a search for one family’s treasure, written and directed by Lance Daly, Hanna’s Journey, a film from Israel/Germany directed by Julia von Heinz, about a German business woman’s trip to Israel as a volunteer.

Presenting sponsors generously supporting the Stony Brook Film Festival are Applied DNA Sciences-James A. Hayward, Campolo, Middleton & McCormick LLP, HBO, Suffolk County, Teachers Federal Credit Union, The Village Voice and WALK 97.5 Radio. As in past years, there was no entry fee to submit a film for consideration in 2014 thanks to the sponsors’ support of the Festival.

About Staller Center for the Arts

Staller Center for the Arts, Stony Brook University’s cultural showplace, has been the home of the Stony Brook Film Festival every summer since its beginnings. Staller Center offers over 200 performances annually in dance, music, art, theatre, and film from around the world each season.