One of the largest regional film festivals in the Northeast is quickly approaching.

Starting on Thursday, July 19, and running until Saturday, July 28, the Stony Brook Film Festival will be hosting its 23rd annual event at Stony Brook University’s Staller Center for the Arts.

There will be 36 films showed ranging from short and long-form, American and foreign, dramatic and comedic.

“You’re coming to see films no one has seen yet and are all unique,” said the festival’s director, Alan Inkles. “We have Sci-Fi, dramas, comedies, and great topical films… and a lot of the films are directed by women.”

Inkles, who founded the event, says each showing is an experience, especially when the center is packed out at its 1,000-seat capacity. “You are going to be sitting with nearly a thousand people and you will be experiencing the films with the filmmakers and actors,” he said.

There are typically Q&A’s that follow each showing.

“How many times have you seen the film and wondered what something meant?” said Inkles. “You can now ask those questions.”

Over the years, the film festival has grown tremendously — from attracting larger audiences to receiving more film submissions.

“Stony Brook Film Festival is an incredibly well curated and intelligent film festival,” stated Oscar-winning director, Todd Wider. “Supremely well run and organized, each film is shown one in a giant, state of the art theatre to a routinely packed crowd.

According to the film festival, the selection process is very competitive.

“Only 1 percent of what we look at gets into our festival,” said Inkles. “There is no room for pretty good; it has to be a really, really good film.”

This festival is used by filmmakers typically as its U.S. or worldwide premiere.

Each day of the festival includes multiple films, aside from the opening and closing nights, which are the headline movies.

The opening night film is Shelter, a 93-minute Isreali movie about a double-agent that is working in Lebanon before being exposed by its government.

“This is a really powerful film,” said Inkles.

And the closing night feature, Aurora Borealis: Északi fény is a Hungarian film about a woman who is dying and tells her life to her estranged daughter who comes to visit.

“She is telling her what her life is about,” explained Inkles.

In addition to those two, there is also a film called The Etruscan Smile, which will be featured on the 40-foot screen on Saturday, July 21, that stars acclaimed actor Brian Cox (Braveheart; The Carer).

To see the full schedule click here. And to buy tickets and passes click here.

Top: A snippet of the Stony Brook Film Festival’s opening film Shelter.