Friday, July 10, 2009



Nina Hoss
The Woman From Berlin
(Nina also appears in The Anarchist's Wife)

The Maiden & The Wolves

It's 14 years old, and seems to be getting better every year!

14th Annual
Stony Brook Film Festival
Thursday July 23 – Saturday August 1
37 Films 4 World Premieres, 3 U.S. Premieres
At the Staller Center for the Arts at Stony Brook University.

I had a very good time at last year's Stony Brook Film Festival (SBFF-08). The screening facilities are exceptional, the whole Stony Brook Campus is inviting and friendly, and the crowd is great. The selections were excellent last year, and this year seems particularly interesting.

Last year, Mary Stuart Masterson showed her remarkable first film, The Cake Eaters. One year later, her film, now also on DVD, seems to be generating interest all around the world. This year SBFF is showing a film that her husband directed (and she produced).

Another film I'm interested in.... I was rehearsing an adaptation I did (a play using Shakespeare's Sonnets) at rehearsal halls in New York and I often passed signs directing actors to nearby studios for a film in production that had a great title: Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Undead. Well, it wasn't a joke, it's showing up at SBFF.

Looking through the program, there are stars & new talent; provocative stories & romances; wars and unrest; lovers from antagonistic cultures; features and shorts; many countries and languages. It's mostly stories, with few documentaries. It's almost entirely relationships with very little FX. Mostly live, with just a bit of animation.

Here are some highlights of this year's festival:


The New York Premiere of The Answer Man
with Jeff Daniels and Lauren Graham
Written and directed by John Hindman, the comedy from Magnolia Pictures features Daniels as Arlen Faber, a reclusive author of a best-selling spiritual book who is pursued for advice by a single mother and a man fresh out of rehab. Graham (TV’s Gilmore Girls and currently in Broadway’s Guys and Dolls) is the very protective mother, and Lou Taylor Pucci is a bookstore owner.


The New York Premiere of The Little Traitor
with Alfred Molina (and 85 year old Theodore Bikel)
Directed by Lynn Roth, set in Palestine in 1947, just before Israel becomes a state, Alfred Molina (The DaVinci Code, Spider-Man 2) plays a British officer who finds a little boy out on the street after curfew. The film, from Regent Releasing and based on the novel Panther in the Basement by Amos Oz, explores the unlikely friendship that develops between them.


Tickling Leo, written and directed by Jeremy Davidson, produced by his wife, the acclaimed actress Mary Stuart Masterson, and starring Eli Wallach, Lawrence Pressman, Daniel Sauli, Annie Parisse, Ronald Guttmann and Victoria Clark.

Blindness-Saramago in China
, a documentary from China directed by Xilin Chen that grapples with the concept of intellectual property rights. Blindness tells a story about the adaptation of Jose Saramago’s Nobel Prize winning book by the same name into a play. It vividly transports the viewer to Beijing, to rehearsals by a professional theatre company, and into the negotiations going on between the play’s producer and the writer’s representative.

Life is a Banquet
, which filmmaker Jonathan Gruber says is the first ever about actress and entertainment giant Rosalind Russell. Using words taken from Ms. Russell’s autobiography, the film’s narration is by acclaimed actress Kathleen Turner.

Adam’s Wall, from Canada;
Family Rules, from Germany;
Country Wedding, from Iceland.


Whales, from the U.S. (A short; with stunning looking, upcoming actress Sarah Desage.)

Dana Delany (Desperate Housewives), who attended the Stony Brook Film Festival in 2008 when she starred in John Putch’s Route 30, stars this year in a short film dealing with autism, Flying Lessons. The short, making its New York Premiere, is by Janet Grillo and will be paired with the screening of Tickling Leo.

Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Undead, a vampire comedy with an eccentric cast, starring Jake Hoffman, son of Dustin, in a story featuring sexy vampires, the Holy Grail and Hamlet. Sean Lennon composed the score for the film, which also stars Devon Aoki, John Ventimiglia, Kris Lemche, Ralph Macchio, Jeremy Sisto, Joey Kern and Waris Ahuwalia.

The Anarchist's Wife

The Anarchist’s Wife, from Germany/Spain/France;


The Missing Person, from the U.S. and starring Michael Shannon, Frank Wood, Amy Ryan, Linda Emond, and John Ventimiglia;
Bowled Over, from The Netherlands;
The Maiden and the Wolves, from France;
The Friend, from Switzerland;
Like Dandelion Dust, from the U.S., with Mira Sorvino and Barry Pepper;
Interpretation, from the U.S.;
True Beauty This Night, from the U.S.;
Light Bulb, from the U.S., with Dallas Roberts, Jeremy Renner, and Ayelet Zurer;
The Gold Lunch, from the U.S.;
In the Dark, from the U.S.;
Adopt a Sailor, from the U.S., with Bebe Neuwirth, Peter Coyote, and Ethan Peck;
After the Storm, from the U.S.;
The Painter of Skies, from Spain;
The Fairy Princess, from the U.S.;
On the Road to Tel-Aviv, from Israel.

For a complete
schedule, and film passes, visit or call the Staller Center Box Office, 631-632- ARTS [2787]. Tickets to parties and receptions are also available. Individual movie tickets go on sale July 13.

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