By Film Threat Staff | June 3, 2008

The Stony Brook Film Festival, produced by Staller Center for the Arts, has announced its program of new independent film from eighteen countries screening over ten days at Staller Center at Stony Brook University from Thursday, July 17 to Saturday, July 26. The well-attended, highly selective festival is in its thirteenth year.

Opening and Closing Nights
Opening Night will feature the New York Premiere of a drama from Canada, “Emotional Arithmetic,” starring Susan Sarandon, Christopher Plummer, Gabriel Byrne, Roy Dupuis and Max Von Sydow, in a film about a fateful reunion among three survivors of the notorious French “transit” camp, Drancy. “The Festival is starting off with some of the finest actors in the business on screen,” said Alan Inkles, director of the Stony Brook Film Festival. Some will feel like they know the actors personally. Christopher Plummer was among the guests on stage for the Q&A last year at the N.Y. Premiere of “Man in the Chair.” Roy Dupuis will be a familiar face to fest-goers who saw the Quebeçois film “Looking for Alexander” at Stony Brook in 2006. Representing “Emotional Arithmetic” will be director Paolo Barzman who will attend the July 17th Opening Night and be on hand for audience questions after the screening.

The East Coast Premiere of “Camille” ends the Stony Brook Film Festival as its Closing Night film on Saturday, July 26 at 8:30 pm. Sienna Miller and James Franco star in the delightfully twisted story about a young couple on their way to Niagara Falls for a honeymoon. Director Gregory MacKenzie will attend the screening. Many of the directors who win awards for Best Features and Shorts will also attend Closing Night, where film critic John Anderson will once again serve as the Master of Ceremonies at the Awards Reception held on the Staller Center Main Stage.

World Premieres
Returning to the Stony Brook Film Festival this year with World Premieres are two filmmakers who have been to Stony Brook before, John Putch and Brent Huff. John Putch, director of “Route 30,” presents his backwoods comedy placed in rural Pennsylvania, complete with Bigfoot sightings and Amish neighbors, screening on Saturday, July 19 at 9:30 pm starring Dana Delany, David Deluise, Kevin Rahm and Robert Romanus. Brent Huff, director of “Cat City,” has created a thriller about a successful family lawyer with husband problems that will have its World Premiere on Sunday, July 20 at 7:00 pm. “Cat City” features Rebecca Pidgeon, Julian Sands and Brian Dennehy. Many of the actors from these films as well as others will be on hand during the festival to introduce films and join in post-screening Q&As on stage.

John Putch said, “I couldn’t be more pleased to premiere my latest film, ‘Route 30,’ at the Stony Brook Film Festival. This movie means a lot to me and the festival experience that Stony Brook provides has never been surpassed throughout my festival endeavors. The audience, the venue and the snazzy line-up of films are better than top-notch. When I was making ‘Route 30’ I had always hoped that I could premiere it at Stony Brook. I’m just thankful I made the cut!”

Brent Huff noted, “I have attended many festivals in the past but Stony Brook is a special venue. First and foremost, Alan Inkles and his staff truly champion the ‘indie’ filmmaker. In 2003, I came to Stony Brook to screen my film ‘100 Mile Rule.’ My flight was delayed so I literally got to the Staller Center just 15 minutes before the screening. I asked the festival driver why the traffic was so bad. He replied, ‘Because everyone is coming to your screening.’ I laughed, ‘Yeah, right.’ Once I arrived Mr. Inkles escorted me to the stage to introduce the film. I couldn’t believe that the huge 1,000-seat+ theatre was filled to capacity. It’s a moment I will never forget.” Continues Huff, “I screened the same film at another festival a week later and there were only five people in attendance. For the Q & A after that screening I just took everyone to Starbucks. It was less embarrassing and I wrote off the $13.25 tab. Congratulations to the Festival, Alan Inkles and all the people of Stony Brook who support the arts with such vigor.”

Another returning guest will be actress Mary Stuart Masterson, a Festival presence in 2001 when she starred in “Book of Stars.” This year Stony Brook will present her directorial debut “The Cake Eaters.” Masterson will attend the screening of her tender and charming drama on Saturday, July 19 at 7:00 pm.

International Flair
The 13th Annual Stony Brook Film Festival is presenting films with a myriad of languages in the mix. Gaelic, Bosnian, Hebrew, Russian, Hungarian, Chinese, Dutch, Hindi, French and Spanish are among the many languages that will be heard over the course of the ten-day festival.

Shorts that precede most of the features are from as far away as Belguim (“Barbara Broadcast;” “Bunny Games”), Australia (“Triple Concerto in D Minor”), Bosnia and Herzogovina (“In the Name of the Son”), and The Netherlands (“For a Few Marbles More”) as well as Long Island. “Artistic Closure” is by Stony Brook alum Tracy King-Sanchez. It will be paired with “Home Song Stories,” a film starring Joan Chen from Australia and Singapore in English, Mandarin and Cantonese screening on Thursday, July 24 at 9:30 pm.

From Sundance to Stony Brook
Working again with ThinkFilm, one of the few remaining independent studios in the U.S., Stony Brook will have the New York Premiere of “Phoebe in Wonderland,” with great performances by Elle Fanning, Felicity Huffman, Patricia Clarkson, Bill Pullman and recent festival guest Campbell Scott. “Phoebe in Wonderland” premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and was nominated for a Grand Jury Award. Director Daniel Barnz will be on hand for the screening and the cast has also been invited.

Many Other Premieres
Other premieres include the East Coast Premiere of the Canadian film “The Stone Angel” directed by Kari Skogland, starring Ellen Burstyn and Ellen Page. “The Stone Angel” is one of five Canadian films in this year’s festival. Dave McLaughlin’s Boston-based dark comedy, “On Broadway,” starring Joey McIntyre and Eliza Dushku will make its New York Premiere on Friday, July 18 at 9:30 pm and is one of thirty films making either World, US, East Coast or New York Premieres at this year’s Festival.

For the Stony Brook Film Festival schedule and descriptions of all films go to: www.stonybrookfilmfestival.com.

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