The 22nd annual Stony Brook Film Festival gets underway Thursday. Over the next ten days, the Staller Center for the Arts at Stony Brook University will host 36 features and shorts on a 40-foot screen in front of a thousand seats.
This year, nearly half of the selected films were written, directed or completely made by women.
Alan Inkles, director of the Staller Center and founder of the Stony Brook Film Festival, said, “So we’ve become a real international festival, with I think 18 or 19 countries represented this year, and a lot of these filmmakers are coming out [to Stony Brook] this year. We have filmmakers from Israel coming, from Armenia, from Latvia, from Bulgaria and France and of course, a lot of American filmmakers who will be here for their screenings.”
While over half the films are internationally made, two have Long Island ties. The festival also tries to address the lack of female-directed films at other festivals.
“They’re being made, they’re just not being screened and not being screened at festivals,” Inkles said.
Forty-two percent of the films selected this year were directed by women.
“Three of our films actually, The Sounding, and our closing night film, Text For You, and one of our shorts, Speak, were all written and directed by the lead actress.”
Thousands of entries are submitted each year but only a maximum of 40 are chosen. The festival itself is competitive with numerous jury and audience choice awards. Inkles finds the awards necessary for some of these films to get off the ground.
“You know back in the day, years ago, films would stay in the theater six, eight, ten weeks or two months, you know three months. Now unless you’re Wonder Woman or Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings, you’re in for two, three weeks and if you’re not doing the business, you’re gone.”
The festival will run from July 20 – 29. 15,000 attendees are expected over the course of ten days. While passes and individual tickets are still available, opening night is already sold out.
Disclosure: WSHU is a media sponsor of the Stony Brook Film Festival.