With United States premieres on its opening and closing nights and the world premiere of a moving documentary by a pair of Long Island brothers, the 22nd annual Stony Brook Film Festival presented by Island Federal Credit Union promises something for everyone.
The festival runs from July 20-29 at the Staller Center for the Arts and features films from 19 foreign countries, as well as more American independent features and shorts than ever before.
Twenty features and 16 short films will be screened over 10 days, with each film treated as a special event, shown on one of the region’s biggest screens in Staller’s 1,000-seat Main Stage theatre.
Festival film passes are on sale for $85 at stonybrookfilmfestival.com. Single tickets go on sale July 5.
Many of the festival’s filmmakers are expected to attend and represent their films at screenings and Q&As. Also expected to attend — and play some of his music — is Elliot Murphy, the Rockville Centre singer/songwriter who is the subject of the documentary The Second Act of Elliot Murphy, written and directed by Jorge Arenillas.
The film is making its U.S. premiere at the festival on July 26 and features interviews with Billy Joel and Bruce Springsteen, who both count themselves as fans of Murphy, who has become popular throughout Europe.
Long Island’s Todd and Jedd Wider will present the world premiere of their documentary, To the Edge of the Sky, on July 23. The film follows four families as they fight the FDA to gain access to a potentially lifesaving drug for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a fatal disease the family’s sons suffer from and the number one genetic killer of boys in the world.
The opening night feature on July 20 is Welcome to Germany, a delightful comedy about politics, cultural identity, xenophobia and family issues, written and directed by Simon Verhoeven. The closing night feature on July 29 is Text for You, a romantic comedy about loss and finding love again written, directed and starring Karoline Herfurth.
Both films are in German with English subtitles and are making their United States premieres at the festival. Alan Inkles, the festival’s founder and director, said the pair of films “are entertaining and timely, and were chosen for their ability to bring in the widest possible audience since they are definite crowd pleasers.”
Herfurth’s feature is one of several films by women filmmakers to be featured in the festival. The Sounding is produced, written and directed by Catherine Eaton, who also stars in a story of a woman who breaks years of silence by using only the words of Shakespeare.
Other women filmmakers whose work will be screened include Emily Harris (Love is Thicker Than Water), Lola Doillon (Fanny’s Journey), Paula van der Oest (Tonio), Selma Vilhunen (Little Wing) and Nicole Garcia (From the Land of the Moon, starring Marion Cotillard).
Purple Dreams is a documentary by Joanne Hock produced by SBU alum Robin Gray, and explores the story of the first high school permitted to stage the musical The Color Purple. Other highlights include The Midwife, starring French cinematic stars Catherine Deneauve and Catherine Frot.
Additional festival sponsorship is provided by Campolo, Middleton & McCormick, LLP; HBO; Suffolk County; The Village Voice and WLIW Channel 21.