This year, the Stony Brook Film Festival celebrated its 20th anniversary. Between July 16 and July 25 the festival hosted movie-makers from all over the world for a week-long display of films.
The winners from this year include:
- “Henri Henri” for 2015 Jury Award-Best Feature. “Henri Henri” had its New York premiere at the Stony Brook Film Festival. The movie, shot in French and shown with English subtitles, is about a man named Henri who spent his life in a convent but is now forced to survive in the real world.
- “Secrets of War” for 2015 Audience Choice-Best Feature. “Secrets of War” is a movie from the Netherlands about young friends who live in a Nazi-occupied Dutch Village. The film features the adventures the friends go on and secrets they learn.
- “Thicker Than Paint” for 2015 Achievement in Filmmaking. “Thicker Than Paint” is a documentary about an Iranian Artist, Habibeh Bedayat, and the struggles she faces.
- “Day One” for Jury Award-Best Short. “Day One” had its New York premiere at the Stony Brook Film Festival. The film focuses on an interpreter for the U.S. Army who is forced to deliver the child of enemy bomb-makers in Afghanistan.
- “Cops & Robbers” for Audience Choice-Best Short. The short is about an actor who is sick of being cast as a cop so he takes drastic measures to land the role of a psycho killer.
- “This Isn’t Funny” for 2015 Spirit of Independent Filmmaking Award. “This Isn’t Funny” is about the romance between a stand-up comedian and the manager of a juice bar. The makers of the film are an engaged couple, Paul Ashton and Katie Page, from Los Angeles. The duo wrote, produced and starred in the film, which was on the edgy side with dirty jokes and talk of drugs.
Director of Marketing and Public Relations for the Staller Center Julie Greene said the film festival really has not changed much over the years. The big difference is that the festival no longer holds screenings during the day, instead holding screenings at night so that more people have the chance to attend.
Some of the money that is received from the festival’s sponsors offsets the cost of organizing the festival, which allows for the no-entry fee policy so filmmakers can enter their work. This year, the festival received about 700 entries. Only 34 films, including short films, are chosen. Greene described the film festival at Stony Brook as “carefully curated.” She said that several foreign filmmakers attend the festival to talk about their films after the screening.
“Part of the thing that makes it interesting for people is that these films have representation,” Greene said. “It was really interesting for the audience to hear from these people.”
Greene said a highlight for her during the festival was that the films transported the audience to the country where the film took place. She said she liked how the cinematography allowed the audience to feel like they were traveling to these places.
“We’ve had a really good festival,” Greene said. “Very strong films. We had a great range.”
She added that it was close a competition this year and the winners were determined by “a fraction of a decimal.”
“We’re always very proud of our quality and I think that the quality of films this year was really outstanding,” she said.