The Long Beach International Film Festival (LBIFF) celebrated its ninth anniversary with a lineup of independent and studio films from around the globe.
From July 27 through Aug. 1 beachside in front of the Allegria Hotel and on longbeachfilm.com, the festival screened an international slate of more than 40 films, including feature-length narrative, documentary, short, and animated that competed for a series of Jury Awards.
On Friday, July 30, festival-goers watched 86’d: How A Global Pandemic Rocked The World’s Culinary Capital, a documentary film by six-time Emmy Award-winner Rob Petrone, the executive producer and host of Restaurant Hunter for Verizon’s Fios1 News. As Covid-19 started spreading in New York in March 2020, Petrone reached out to many of his former Restaurant Hunter colleagues with an idea: to capture this pandemic from a restaurant perspective in real-time, creating a time capsule of the biggest story any of us have ever lived through. He put his restaurant industry contacts and expertise to work, following a moving target of a story wherever it led, which included a linen supply company and a one-woman farm. The emotions are raw as the documentary is history as it unfolded.
On Saturday, July 31, My Promise to PJ, a documentary film by actor Daniel Baldwin, took viewers on his journey across the world to fulfill a promise he made to his friend, PJ, that should he become two years sober, they would run with the bulls together in Pamplona, Spain to celebrate PJ’s sobriety. Tragically, that day never came, and after three years of sobriety, PJ died of a surprise drug overdose. Haunted by the loss of PJ, Baldwin decides to get in shape and run with the bulls to honor the promise he made to his beloved friend. Along the way, you see the emotional aftermath that drug addiction has on a family that tries to cope with the loss of their son, brother, nephew, and friend.
Having had to cancel last year’s Festival due to the Covid-19 pandemic, LBIFF presented this year’s festival as a hybrid, offering films both in-person and online. Typically, the festival offers multiple nights of in-person events such as “Chefs and Shorts,” wine-paired dinner with the Island’s top chefs, and “Taste on the Beach,” featuring bites and sips from Long Island’s best restaurants and bars, as well as dozens of film screenings at the Long Beach Cinema and Regal Lynbrook & RPX.
Partnering with the Nassau County Industrial Development Agency (IDA) has helped grow the Long Beach International Film Festival through the years as Nassau County increasingly develops into the prime film shoot destination it is today. Home to television shows, movies, documentary films, and more, Long Island has the people, places, scenery, and studios to rival Los Angeles as the film capital of the country. In 2022, LBIFF will celebrate its 10-year anniversary in a big way with the many live food, film, and fun events like in years past.
-Long Beach International Film Festival
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