The widely-popular Stony Brook Film Festival is heading back to Long Island for its 24th annual year next week—and it is bringing some big names.
The award-winning film fest, which runs from July 18 to July 27 at Stony Brook University’s Staller Center, will show 36 films, including movies with critically-acclaimed actors Jeff Daniels (of “Newsroom”) and Aaron Paul (of “Breaking Bad.”)
Daniels’ movie, Guest Artist, airs Monday, July 22. The drama, wrote and starred by Daniels, is a 74-minute movie about a drunk playwright who moves to Midwest to a pitch a play he is writing. Paul will be seen in The Parts You Lose, a 99-minute drama of a criminal fugitive befriending a young deaf boy, on Friday, July 26.
“The more successful we become, the bigger films we get,” said Alan Inkles, the festival’s director.
Each day of the festival includes multiple movies, aside from the opening and closing nights, which are headline movies. During weekdays, the festival begins showing at 7 p.m., and on weekend days at 4 p.m. (scroll down for tickets)
The films range from short and long-form, American and foreign, dramatic and comedic
This year’s opening-night movie is Balloon, an action-adventure German film based on a true story of a family who tried to escape East Berlin on a hot air balloon.
“It is a very powerful, strong action adventure with great acting,” said Inkles. “If this was an American film it would be a blockbuster.”
Closing night’s film is Lola & Her Brothers, a comedy about two brothers, whose older sister acts like their guardian.
“This is a really funny movie about a sister who has to save the day for her two siblings who screw up,” said Inkles.
The Stony Brook Film Festival is used by filmmakers typically as its U.S. or worldwide premiere.
“We tend to really like to bring in films that are real earthy, independent and are trying to get picked up by distributors,” he said.
And all because some haven’t been picked up yet, it doesn’t mean the quality isn’t there, according to the festival organizers.
“Each year the quality of the films keeps getting stronger and stronger,” said Inkles. “This year is going to be a notch above years prior.”
Last year, the film festival featured a film by Emmy Award-winner actor Brian Cox.
“You run a helluva festival at Stony Brook,” Cox told Inkles. “When there is such a passion as you engender, you cannot but be affected by it.”
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.
All in all, the festival’s founder is really excited about this year’s lineup.
“By and large, if you watch the trailers, you will see there is a really good balance of comedies, dramas, American and foreign films,” said Inkles.