Balloon directed by Michael Bully Herbig
Balloon directed by Michael Bully Herbig

Independent films from nearly twenty countries will be in the spotlight at the 24th Stony Brook Film Festival from Thursday, July 18 to Saturday, July 27. Produced by Staller Center for the Arts at Stony Brook University, the Festival lifts off with the New York premiere of Balloon, a German film based on the true story of two families who escaped East Germany on their homemade hot air balloon, and closes with another New York premiere of the French film Lola & Her Brothers.

There are many World, U.S., East Coast, and New York premieres in this year’s Festival. Alan Inkles, Stony Brook Film Festival Founder and Director, notes “The quality and diversity in our dramas, comedies, and documentaries are extremely high and I expect our audience to be thoroughly entertained this summer.”

Several American indie films will have their World Premiere at the Stony Brook Film 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 director Timothy Busfield brings Guest Artist, a stunning and humorous film written by and starring Jeff Daniels.

The idea of family forms the foundation for many of the features and shorts at the 2019 Stony Brook Film Festival (SBFF). The families in the 24th annual Stony Brook Film Festival 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’s 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 rainforest of Queensland and the wilds of Appalachia.

Many of this year’s films showcase the strength of families through all the trials and tribulations they face. The opening night film, Balloon, tells the riveting story of two families trying to escape from East Berlin in a homemade hot air balloon during the Cold War, and the Festival closes with Lola & Her Brothers, a charming French comedy about three adult siblings who are still trying to look after one other after losing their parents.

24th Stony Brook Film Festival Trailer Preview

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