The 27th annual Stony Brook Film Festival, presented by Island Federal Credit Union, wrapped up with a Closing Night Awards Ceremony on July 30. The evening recognized the outstanding new independent films screened at the festival, which was held at Staller Center for the Arts at Stony Brook University from July 21 to 30.
This year’s winners included Berenshtein — Jury Award for Best Feature; Contra — Audience Award for Best Feature; All That Glitters and Summer of Bees tied for the Jury Award for Best Short; Ousmane — Audience Award for Best Short; Peaceful — Opening Night Feature Award; Lost Transport — Closing Night Feature Award; Lentini — Opening Night Short Award; and Mila — Closing Night Short Award.
In addition, Glob Lessons, directed by Nicole Rodenburg and written by Rodenburg and Colin Froeber, received The Spirit of Independent Filmmaking Award which is given every year 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 Festival bestowed a special Humanitarian Award on Dr. Gabriel Sara, co-star of and consultant on the opening night feature, Peaceful. A cancer specialist at Manhattan’s Mount Sinai West, Dr. Sara helped launch The Helen Sawaya Fund, a philanthropy program whose mission is to enhance the experience of cancer patients through art and music.
“The dignity and empathy which Dr. Sara brings to his work became the impetus for Peaceful, a film that touched us all so deeply,” said Alan Inkles, Director of the Stony Brook Film Festival. “We are proud to confer [this award] on Dr. Sara for his vital and important work in improving the lives of cancer patients.”
Highlighting the live Awards Ceremony was a presentation by the filmmakers of Red River Road, winner of the 2021 Spirit of Independent Filmmaking Award. Writer/director Paul Schuyler proudly announced that Red River Road was acquired for distribution by Gravitas Films with the help and support of the Stony Brook Film Festival.
“For over 27 years, filmmakers have continually conveyed to us that we are the most hospitable festival they’ve been to,” said Inkles. “We are able to treat our filmmakers like royalty because we have two constituents in mind when we plan our festivals — our filmmakers and our audience. With the support of Island Federal and many of our other supporters, we are proud to provide a full experience to our audience, bringing together filmmakers and cast members from all over the world to give first- hand accounts of their process.”
During the Festival, the Staller Center announced its Fall 2022 Live Performing Arts season which kicks off on Sept. 23 and includes performances by Michael Feinstein, Katherine McPhee and David Foster, and Vic DiBitetto, among others. Visit www.stallercenter.com for the entire Fall season line-up.