6 Must-see Long Island Film Festivals This Year


By Olivia Booth and Luis Centeno

With Long Island serving as the set of TV shows and movies so much that the region was dubbed “Hollywood East,” it’s fitting that LI has a slew of annual film festivals.

From the Hamptons to the Gold Coast, cinemaphiles can go film fest hopping across the Island throughout the summer and into the fall. Some have already concluded so far this year, such as the LI LGBT film fest that wrapped up last month. And the Cinema Arts Centre in Huntington regularly hosts mini-film fests of its own.

Here are six upcoming annual film festivals on Long Island:

Long Island International Film Expo
The Long Island Film Expo’s 19th annual festival will include over a hundred short and feature-length independent films from all over the world! Several panels are held during the event, discussing many topics such as scriptwriting, legal music and a filmmaker panel/breakfast. This expo includes an opening night party and a closing night party and awards ceremony, which are attended by filmmakers, sponsors, board members and ticket holders. Some big name celebrities have been attendees in the past, such as Kelly Rutherford, Steve Buscemi, Edie Falco and many more! Bellmore Movies, 222 Pettit Ave., Bellmore. longislandfilmexpo.com July 13-21.

Stony Brook Film Festival
Three dozen American and international feature films, documentaries as well as shorts are scheduled to be screened at the 21st annual Stony Brook Film Festival. Among them are “The Carer,” the opening night feature that tells the story of a young Hungarian refugee who becomes the caregiver of an aging, temperamental actor; “Screenagers,” a documentary about how parents try to teach their kids the appropriate amount of time spent on computers, cell phones and watching TV; and “A Man Called Ove,” the closing night feature that’s a dramatic comedy about love, family and the importance of surrounding yourself with the proper tools. Fans will be able to meet the directors of the opening and closing night features at the screenings, among other Q&As and an awards ceremony. Staller Center’s Main Stage Theatre, 100 Nicolls Road, Stony Brook. stonybrookfilmfestival.com July 21-30.

Film Festival Shorts
Eight short documentaries made by local filmmakers will be screened at this one-night-only event. To kick off the evening, Direct Cinema pioneer D.A. Pennebaker will be presenting his debut short, Daybreak Express. The film festival will focus on telling fascinating stories while giving the audience an opportunity to get a feel for the different styles these local filmmakers have to offer. Sag Harbor Whaling Museum, 200 Main St., Sag Harbor. sagharborwhalingmuseum.org 7:30 p.m. July 30.

Long Beach International Film Festival
The Long Beach Film Festival will celebrate it’ 5th anniversary with an action-packed line up of over 30 feature films, shorts and documentaries, including independent and studio films as well as American and international movies—even animated flicks. The festival will feature a bunch of special events, such as red carpet premieres, celebrations, filmmaker receptions, awards and musical performances. The special programs planned for this year are: Shorts On The Beach series, Taste On The Beach and Joan Jett Music film series. Long Beach Cinema 4, 179 E. Park Ave., Long Beach. longbeachfilm.com Aug. 3-5.

Hamptons International Film Festival
The Hamptons Film Festival was founded to celebrate independent films of all kinds. This year’s film festival shows films that express fresh voices and differing global views. It being the Hamptons, there have been some notable attendees in the past, including Kevin Bacon, Madonna, Kevin Connolly and Billy Joel—with more to come this year. Starting the end of August, announcements will begin about the lineup for the festival. All films will be revealed by the middle of September. Films will be shown in various locations throughout the East End. hamptonsfilmfest.org Oct. 6-10.

Gold Coast International Film Festival
This week-long film fest brings together residents, students, teachers, tourists and professionals to celebrate the cinema on the North Shore of Nassau County. Although the festival kicks off in November, during the rest of the year its organizers also host The Furman Film Series, which features the best new independent films and studio releases as well as Q&As with filmmakers. The next movie, “Life, Animated,” which tells the story of a young man who was unable to speak as a child until he and his family discovered a unique way to communicate, will be screened July 6 at Bow Tie Squire Cinema in Great Neck Various venues goldcoastfilmfestival.org Nov. 10.