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Staller Center for the Arts

The Staller Center for the Arts and Stony Brook University, in partnership with Campolo, Middleton & McCormick, LLP, a Forbes Top Corporate Law Firm in America, presents a complimentary webinar titled Gift Planning on April 14 at 3:00 p.m. Join them for a comprehensive overview of planned giving and creating a vision to benefit you, your loved ones, and your charity.

Speakers:

Vincent Clark: Intermin Director of Planned Giving at Stony Brook University

Ashley Fetter: Assistant Director of Gift Planning at Stony Brook University

Martin S. Glass, Esq.Elder Law Attorney at Campolo, Middleton & McCormick, LLP

Date: April 14, 2021

Time: 3:00 p.m.

The webinar is free but registration is required by visiting www.stallercenter.com/giving/

After registering, you will receive an email confirmation with instructions for joining the meeting.

Jack Licitra & Camryn Quinlan. Photo from Staller Center

Staller Center for the Arts at Stony Brook University and musician Jack Licitra team up once again to offer an uplifting and healing concert, virtually, on Monday, Feb. 15 at 3 p.m.

Titled “Let the Music Heal Your Soul” the concert offers the usual funny songs and crazy antics while touching on some serious issues of loneliness for kids during the pandemic. Jack Licitra believes music is critical to healing and happiness. “Music can heal your soul,” says Licitra, “talking about all of the feelings, and singing about them, using yourself as the instrument, using hand movements and symbols, it can help to  heal your soul … it all helps kids get those feelings out in the open, and it shows them that they’re not alone.”

The Staller Center and Jack Licitra have paired up in the past to offer concerts through the Staller Center’s Outreach and Education Program at local nonprofits, libraries, and at the Staller Center itself. “There are a lot of other kids that feel disconnected from their friends … that’s why we wanted to offer this concert as a resource, to try to help them feel more connected to other kids that are feeling more alone than usual,” says Paul Newland, Outreach Director for the Staller Center for the Arts.

“Let the Music Heal Your Soul” by Jack Licitra and Friends uses music in a healing way by taking familiar melodies, rhythms, and chord progressions, to create a shared community consciousness. The concert features performances by Jack Licitra, Katie Monhan, Camryn Quinlan, and Brian Licitra.

Jack Licitra is a Sayville-based piano/hammond organ driven singer/songwriter; music educator; founder of the music-teaching studio South Bay Arts in Bayport. He has performed with some of the best musicians in the world such as Levon Helm, Jimmy Vivino and Bakithi Kumalo as well as opening shows for legends such as Richie Havens, Buckwheat Zydeco, Pinetop Perkins and even playing for then-Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton

The concert is free and registration is required by visiting www.stallercenter.com/outreach.

 

A scene from 'Louis Van Beethoven'

The Staller Center for the Arts’ much anticipated Spring 2021 Film Series goes virtual on February 11. This year’s series features thirteen independent films you won’t see anywhere else and presents award-winning and record-breaking films from around the world. 

Inspiring and often challenging, the films explore family and social conflict, health and healthcare issues, social justice issues, drug addiction and abuse, and so much more. 

The Staller Center’s entire spring season will be virtual and will be available for viewing from the comfort of your living room using the IndieFlix Festivals app. The full schedule is listed below.

Patrons and households can view all films with one $50 season film pass which includes access to three bonus films. Single tickets for $6 each are also available for purchase. The series is 12 weeks long and will feature ten new premieres and three bonus films from previous Stony Brook Film Festival events. All movies will be available on-demand to watch and re-watch from Thursdays at 7 p.m. through Sundays at midnight. 

To purchase, please visit stallercenter.com/movies.

FILM SCHEDULE

‘Days of Bagnold Summer’

February 11 to February 14

United Kingdom (86 minutes)

‘Asia’

February 18 to February 21

Israel. In Hebrew with subtitles. (85 minutes) 

‘The Subject’

February 25 to February 28

United States. (119 minutes)

*Bonus screening, only available to passholders.

‘Higher Love’

February 25 to February 28

United States. (80 minutes)

*Bonus screening, only available to passholders.

‘Louis Van Beethoven’

March 4 to March 7

Germany. In German with  subtitles. (120 minutes)

‘Yalda, A Night for Forgiveness’

March 11 to March 14

Iran. In Persian with subtitles. (89 minutes)

‘Rose Plays Julie’

March 18 to March 21

Ireland. (100 minutes)

‘Citizens of the World’

March 25 to March 28

Italy. In Italian with subtitles. (92 minutes)

‘Night Shift’

Thursday, April 1 to Sunday, April 4

France. In French with English subtitles. (98 minutes)

‘Blizzard of Souls’

April 8 to April 11

Latvia. In Latvian with subtitles. (104 minutes)

To the Edge of the Sky’

April 15 to April 18

United States. (118 minutes)

*Bonus screening, only available to passholders. Will be followed by a Q&A with directors.

‘Thou Shall Not Hate’

April 22 to April 25

Italy. In Italian with subtitles. (96 minutes)

‘Needle Park Baby’

April 29 to May 2

Switzerland. In Swiss German with subtitles. (98 minutes)

Films have not been rated. Viewer discretion is advised. Closed captions or subtitles available for all films.

 

'When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit'

Organizers of the Stony Brook Film Festival hosted a virtual awards ceremony on Tuesday, Dec. 15. All of the festival winners were in attendance at the ceremony to accept their awards. 

Jury Award for Best Feature

‘The Subject’

The Subject, directed by Lanie Zipoy and written by Chisa Hutchinson, won the Jury Award for Best Feature. The Subject tells the story of a successful documentary filmmaker haunted by his last film, which captured the murder of his subject, a black teen in Harlem. The timely film explores the relationship between an artist and their subject and addresses the harsh reality of race and class among the privileged. The film features Jason Biggs, Aunjanue Ellis, Anabelle Acosta, Carra Patterson, Nile Bullock, and Caleb Eberhardt.

Audience Award for Best Feature

When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, directed by Caroline Link and written by Anna Brüggemann, Judith Kerr, and Caroline Link, won the Audience Award for Best Feature. The film features Riva Krymalowski, Marinus Hohmann, Carla Juri, Oliver Masucci, and Justus von Dohnányi. When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit is a German film based on the beloved semiautobiographical children’s book by Judith Kerr. 

Anna is a nine-year-old living with her family in Berlin in 1933 when her life completely changes. To escape the Nazis, her father — a well-known Jewish journalist — quietly flees one night, and the rest of the family follows. Anna has to leave everything behind, including her beloved pink rabbit, and begins a new life full of challenges as a refugee abroad. A beautiful story for the whole family, filled with suspense, drama, sadness, and hope, with a timely message about being a refugee in a foreign land.

Jury Award for Best Short

They Won’t Last, a lighthearted short film written and directed by Portlynn Tagavi, won the Jury Award for Best Short. The film tells the story of a woman’s uncertain future when her hopeless boyfriend proposes after a friends’ perfect wedding.

Audience Award for Best Short

The Audience Award for Best Short was presented to Extra Innings. Written and directed by John Gray, the film tells the story of a reporter who interviewed the Boston Red Sox manager in an attempt to uncover secrets from his past. 

Spirit of Independent Filmmaking

The final award presented was the Spirit of Independent Filmmaking, which is awarded to a filmmaker whose work exemplifies the spirit and breadth of filmmaking where the focus is on the art and most often produced with an extremely limited budget. This year’s recipient was Higher Love. Written and directed by Hasan Oswald, the film is a harrowing and unblinking documentary about lives affected by hard drugs, shown with honesty, compassion, desperation, and hope. 

Like many other events around the country, this year’s Festival went virtual through a partnership with IndieFlix. Attendance soared with the virtual option as patrons across the country tuned in to watch the films with family and friends every weekend. Attendees sent regards from across the country, saying “what a relief to have this escape during this time,” and “these films are the only bright spot in our week.” 

“We were thrilled to be able to offer this virtually during the Pandemic, and we were so happy to receive such positive and uplifting feedback from our patrons. The arts are needed now more than ever, and we can’t wait to get back to offering world-class programming in person as soon as it’s safe to do so. Until then, we’ll keep getting creative with virtual programming,” said Alan Inkles, Director of the Stony Brook Film Festival and the Staller Center for the Arts.

The Staller Center for the Arts also announced on Tuesday night that virtual films will continue. Patrons can purchase a Spring Movie Pass to view 14 films for only $40. Films will be offered virtually throughout the Spring using the IndieFlix app. Additionally, the center will continue to provide virtual arts and education outreach and other virtual programming options throughout the year. Visit stallercenter.com or stonybrookfilmfestival.com for more information.

The film festival kicks off tonight with a screening of 'Dreamfactory.'

If the pandemic of 2020 has done anything, it has made us realize how small the world truly is – and how alike we all are in our hopes, dreams, fears and failings. This year, more than ever, thought-provoking and innovative films introduce us to inspiring characters and transport us to new worlds, all from the comfort and safety of our homes.

For the first time in its 25-year history, the Stony Brook Film Festival, presented by Island Federal, moves from a 10-day live event to a 12-week virtual festival starting tonight, Sept. 10, at 7 p.m. and closing with a live Awards Ceremony on Dec. 15.

The films, which can be watched on all platforms and devices in your home including FireTV, AndroidTV, AppleTV, Roku, Chromecast and GooglePlay, feature 24 new and independent premieres from a dozen countries including the United States, Israel, Germany, Hungary, Poland, France, Switzerland, New Zealand, Canada and Portugal. Each feature is preceded by a short film.

The exciting lineup offers stories of every genre: comedy, coming of age, romance, drama and documentaries with many of the films sharing a theme of life interrupted, a universal topic many can relate to as we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In these very uncertain and precarious times we find ourselves in we hope the mix of these socially conscience films balanced with uplifting, often fun and joyous stories, with spectacular performances, will provide the stimulation and entertainment we are all so desperately craving,” said festival director Alan Inkles.

The Festival kicks off tonight with the American premiere of Dreamfactory, the romantic story between two movie extras who are torn apart when East Germany closes its border and erects the Berlin Wall. An epic tale told against the backdrop of history, this film is part comedy, part musical, part romance, and a pure joy from beginning to end.

Tickets are available as an all-access, 12-week pass for $60 or may be purchased as a single ticket for each film for $6. The pass for 24 films allows 72 hours each week for viewers to watch and re-watch the weekly line-up. It also includes exclusive filmmaker interviews and Q&As with directors, cast and crew, as well as behind-the-scenes footage and back stories. For more information, visit stonybrookfilmfestival.com or call 631-632-ARTS [2787].

Film schedule:

September 10

FEATURE: Dreamfactory (Germany)

SHORT: Extra Innings (United States)

September 17

FEATURE: The Subject (United States)

SHORT: Corners (United States)

September 24

FEATURE: Those Who Remained (Hungary)

SHORT: Sticker (Macedonia)

October 1

FEATURE: Of Love and Lies (France/Belgium)

SHORT: Generation Lockdown (United States)

October 8

FEATURE: When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit

(Germany/Switzerland)

SHORT: Walk a Mile (New Zealand)

October 15

FEATURE: The Art of Waiting (Israel)

SHORT: Waterproof (United States)

October 22

FEATURE: Higher Love (United States)

SHORT: A Simple F*cking Gesture (Canada)

November 5

FEATURE: Long Time No See (France)

SHORT: Touch (Israel)

November 12

FEATURE: Submission (Portugal)

SHORT: They Won’t Last (United States)

November 19

FEATURE: Relativity (Germany)

SHORT: Forêt Noire (France/Canada)

December 3

FEATURE: On the Quiet (Hungary)

SHORT: Jane (United States)

December 10

FEATURE: My Name is Sara (United States)

SHORT: Maradona’s Legs (Germany/Palestine)

December 15

CLOSING NIGHT AWARDS CEREMONY LIVE 7 p.m.

* Please note: All films in the Stony Brook Film Festival are premiere screenings and have not been rated. Viewer discretion is advised. Films are available to begin streaming at 7 p.m. on Thursdays.

Eddie Alfano stars in the upcoming short, Internet Gangsters, on May 24. Photo from Staller Center

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Stony Brook University’s Staller Center for the Arts is sharing a selection of award-winning short films from previous Stony Brook Film Festivals to watch at home. The shorts, which debuted on May 5,  will be available for free online and will be screened twice a week through June. The films are announced on a weekly basis at www.stonybrookfilmfestival.com/shorts.

“We receive numerous requests every week from our patrons and followers asking for more content to be available at home during this crisis. These shorts are a great way to give them a taste of what the Stony Brook Film Festival is, and it shows what kind of films we premiere,” said Staller Center and Stony Brook Film Festival Director Alan Inkles. 

The series includes introductions from Festival co-programmer, Kent Marks, and Q&A footage from previous festivals.

 “We are excited to see all of our patrons soon, but until then, be safe and stay healthy, and we hope you enjoy this selection of shorts from the Stony Brook Film Festival,” said Inkles. 

Upcoming shorts include Internet Gangsters, a film by Sam Friedlander and starring Deer Park native Eddie Alfano, on Sunday, May 24 at noon; Hunter Gatherer, a film by Ashley Grace on Tuesday, May 26 at noon; and Across the Line, a film by Nadav Shlomo Giladi (in Arabic and Hebrew with subtitles) on Tuesday, June 2 at noon.

To gain access to the films, visitors can subscribe online at www.stonybrookfilmfestival.com or by visiting www.stallercenter.com/athome. 

On March 7 Kelli O’Hara and Sutton Foster joined forces for the first time in a double headline show at Stony Brook University’s Staller Center for the Arts for their 2020 Gala and, though no one knew it at the time, this would be the last show of the Staller Center season. Performing songs from their lengthy repertoires, both Tony-winning performers gave it their all to a sold-out crowd despite mounting precautions and fears surrounding COVID-19. 

“I know this is a time of a little bit of nerves and wonder and mystery and anxiety … we want to give you a night away from that,” O’Hara said during her performance. The show went on, but out of an abundance of caution, the Gala’s reception was canceled. Little did O’Hara know, her comment about it being the last time audiences would be together, quickly became true. (see more photos at www.tbrnewsmedia.com)

Days later, on March 10, at the urging of Interim Stony Brook President, Michael Bernstein, the Staller Center announced that all March events were canceled. Bernstein’s bold and forward-thinking guided Staller Center Director, Alan Inkles, in his decision to cancel the Starry Nights concert, which was scheduled that same evening. 

One week after that, Inkles also took the lead and stated that all events at the Staller Center through May 15 would be canceled. In the following days, other theaters and arts organizations, including the Metropolitan Opera, followed suit. In a time of considerable unease, theatre venues across the world have closed their doors to limit the spread of COVID-19.

“We were the first East Coast Arts Center that canceled shows for March last week and second in the country,” Inkles said. Indeed, the Staller Center decided to close before larger venues such as Broadway, The Metropolitan Opera House, and London’s West End. 

Performances by the Russian National Ballet, America’s Got Talent finalist Diavolo, and the 30th-anniversary show of Bela Fleck & the Flecktones, among many others, are no longer coming to the Staller Center this season. “We are working with all of our artists and their managers in attempting to reschedule their shows in upcoming seasons and working together to find creative ways to minimize the financial hardships that appear imminent for these performers,” said Inkles. 

Other canceled events include: three remaining MET Opera Live in HD screenings, the Spring Film Series, A Capella Live, Starry Nights, Jack Licitra: U are the Music!, the Emerson String Quartet, Carol Wincenc, and the Doo Wop Project. The Paul W. Zuccaire Gallery is also closed to all in-person visitors through the end of May.

The Box Office is closed to in-person visitors, but patrons are asked to call or email the box office at 631-632-ARTS[2787] or [email protected] with questions or concerns. 

While Staller is offering credit or refunds for all ticketholders, generous sponsors, donors, and partners are offering their help, and many patrons have kindly donated their tickets back. 

“We are certainly seeing some great humanity in the art world as everyone scrambles to help each other,” Inkles said. 

Stay tuned for announcements on the Staller Center’s 2021-22 Season at www.stallercenter.com and visit www.stonybrookfilmfestival.com for information on this July’s 25th Annual Stony Brook Film Festival.

All photos by Millie Elangbam/Staller Center

By McKenzi Murphy

Sitting cross-legged on the floor of a vibrantly lit playroom, a little boy gleefully fiddled with a box of Mr. Potato Head toys. Flanking him on both sides, delighted at his antics, members from the Los Angeles-based contemporary dance company BODYTRAFFIC, Haley Heckethorn and Tiare Keeno, joined the little boy in his creations. 

On the morning of their performance at Staller Center for the Arts on Feb. 8, Heckethorn and Keeno, along with the rest of the company, headed over to the new Stony Brook Children’s Hospital to spend time with a few of its patients. It was there, within newly painted and decorated walls lined with oceanic-themed paintings and paper mache art, that they met with and performed for about a dozen of the 40 patients.

“It’s always very rewarding to be able to give back to the community and spread the joy of dance with everyone, but especially with those who are really in need of a pick-me-up,” Jamal White, a dancer and BODYTRAFFIC’s social media manager, said. The last little girl he visited became his favorite because of her delightful laughter. While two of his colleagues went through some of their steps, she sat giggling and clapping along. “It was the cherry on top,” he said.

While the younger children seemed more interested in playing with the dancers and showing off their toys, some of the older children had an opportunity to ask the dancers questions about their work and the company, familiar territory for many of the performers. Throughout their tours, BODYTRAFFIC often goes on outreach missions. Usually, they visit schools and teach students a few of their modern moves, or go into retirement homes and work with elderly residents. However, for some of them, going into a children’s hospital proved to be a new experience. 

“It’s one of my favorite experiences so far,” Heckethorn, who has been with the company for two and a half seasons, said. “It was really lovely and especially doing that on a show day, it really inspires and brings a lot of energy. We travel so often and it is really taxing, so [events] like going to a children’s hospital reminds us of why we dance and why we love it so much.”

Splitting off into smaller groups, the dancers were able to visit a few patients in their rooms where they showed off a modified version of a dance they would later perform in front of hundreds at the sold-out show at the Staller Center. A few children even joined them in learning some steps after some encouragement.

“We visited this one five-year-old,” Rachel Secrest, a dancer new to BODYTRAFFIC’s season, said. “His name was Chris and he recently had surgery and was connected to a machine which was helping him. At first, we came in and he just laughed at us as we danced. We showed him some moves, and he was giggling and nervous, but his mom was with him and got him up and out of the bed. He still has it inside of him to want to dance.”

An emotional but so very rewarding experience, getting to spend time with the children became a bright spot in an otherwise high-stress day. 

“It’s tough seeing these kids who are quite sick and hooked up to different machines,” Secrest continued. “But as much as I could I was trying to really look at their faces and do what I could to make them forget their troubles for a minute. I was seeing a kid I wanted to connect with and share a dance with.”

General operating support was made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project with funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. The Outreach program was coordinated by the Staller Center for the Arts, Stony Brook Children’s Hospital and BODYTRAFFIC. 

Paul Newland, Outreach director at the Staller Center for the Arts said, “It was a wonderful collaboration, and we look forward to working with the Children’s Hospital again soon.”

Photos courtesy of Staller Center for the Arts

 

The German film ‘Sweethearts’ starring Karoline Herfurth and Hannah Herzsprung makes its U.S. premiere at the festival on July 20. Photo from Staller Center

The Staller Center turns into a movie lover’s mecca when new independent films from nearly 20 countries screen at the Stony Brook Film Festival on evenings and weekends from Thursday, July 18 to Saturday, July 27. The popular festival, now in its 24th year, brings a highly selective roster of diverse films, making it a favorite of moviegoers and filmmakers alike.

Produced by the Staller Center for the Arts at Stony Brook University, the festival pairs memorable short films with an array of features you won’t see anywhere else. This year’s event, presented by Island Federal, brings in filmmakers, cast and crew who field questions after the screenings, adding a unique dimension to the experience.

The idea of family forms the foundation for many of the features and shorts at the festival this year. Whether they are by birth or by choice, flexible or dysfunctional, generational or newly formed, you will see families of all stripes in films that take place in nearly 20 countries, from Australia to Austria, India to Israel and Spain to South Africa.

The families in this year’s films are found in Cold War era East Germany and the political upheaval of 1980s Jerusalem. They brave the isolation of North Dakotan farmlands, experience drug-fueled head trips in the California desert and solve idiosyncratic murders on a small Turkish island. They live in Paris’ Chinatown as well as remote Himalayan villages; they travel the dusty roads of Senegal and the long highway from the south of England to the Isle of Skye; and they revel in the lush rain forest of Queensland and the wilds of Appalachia.

PREMIERES

There are many world, U.S., East Coast and New York premieres in this year’s festival including the opening film, Balloon, a German film based on the true story of two families who escaped East Germany on their homemade hot air balloon, which is making its New York premiere on July 18.

The festival closes with another New York premiere of the French film Lola & Her Brothers, a charming comedy about three adult siblings who are still trying to look after one other after losing their parents.

Several American indie films will have their world premiere at the festival, and many foreign films, including Yao, Sweethearts, Miamor perdido, Lady Winsley and Made in China will have their U.S. premieres. 

American features include Them That Follow, a tense drama featuring Academy Award winner Olivia Colman; the raucous comedy Babysplitters, featuring Long Island native Eddie Alfano; and Guest Artist, a stunning and humorous film written by and starring Jeff Daniels and directed by Timothy Busfield. 

“The quality and diversity in our dramas, comedies, and documentaries are extremely high and I expect our audience to be thoroughly entertained this summer,” said Alan Inkles, Stony Brook Film Festival founder and director. 

For a complete film schedule and descriptions of all of the films, visit www.stonybrookfilmfestival.com.

TICKET INFORMATION

All screenings are held at Stony Brook University’s Staller Center for the Arts, 100 Nicolls Road, Stony Brook in the 1,000-seat Main Stage theater. Film passes are on sale for $90, which includes admission to all 20 features and 16 shorts over 10 days. 

Passholder perks include VIP gifts, discounts to over a dozen area restaurants throughout the summer, guaranteed admission 15 minutes before each film, and the opportunity to purchase tickets for the Closing Night Awards reception. 

For $250 you can purchase a Gold Pass and receive all the Regular Pass perks plus reserved seating with filmmakers and guests, as well as entry to the exclusive Opening Night party and the Closing Night Awards reception. 

Single tickets for individual films are also available for $12 adults, $10 seniors, $5 students. For more information or to order, call the Staller Center Box Office at 631-632-2787.

Times Beacon Record News Media hosted a double-feature screening of “One Life to Give” and its sequel, “Traitor: A Culper Spy Story,” at Stony Brook University’s Staller Center for the Arts on Sunday, June 23. The screenings were followed by a Q&A with Executive Producer Leah Dunaief, Director Benji Dunaief, featured actors Dave Morrissey Jr. and Jonathan Rabeno and production designer Connor O’Neill. The free event, TBR’s gift to the community, attracted hundreds of history buffs to the Main Stage Theater to learn about Setauket’s Culper spies and their critical role in the Revolutionary War.

Photos by Rita J. Egan and David Ackerman