2019 Stony Brook Film Festival Grand Prize Winner Priya Ramasubban, Director, Chuskit with Stony Brook Film Festival and Staller Center for the Arts Director, Alan Inkles. (photo: Nick Koridis)
2019 Stony Brook Film Festival Grand Prize Winner Priya Ramasubban, Director, Chuskit with Stony Brook Film Festival and Staller Center for the Arts Director, Alan Inkles. (photo: Nick Koridis)

Chuskit, directed by Priya Ramasubban, won the Grand Prize at the 24th annual Stony Brook Film Festival. “When the jury and the audience rank the same film the highest then it receives a Grand Prize,” says Alan Inkles, Festival Director. This is the second year in a row and the ninth time in the Festival’s 24-year-run that a film has received a Grand Prize.

Chuskit is a thoroughly charming, family-friendly treat from a part of the world seldom seen on screen. The entirety of the film was recorded in the Himalayas, and tells the story of a paraplegic girl who harbors hopes of going to school. 

In God I Trust received the Jury Award for Best Feature, and The Silent Revolution received the Audience Choice for Best Feature. It was the East Coast Premiere of In God I Trust, directed by Maja Zdanowski, and the film is continuing with the festival circuit and looking for US distribution. The Silent Revolution has already been picked up by DistribFilms, and is slated for a festival and art house rollout later this summer and fall.  

Dozens of filmmakers, directors, cast, and crew attended the 24th annual Festival. Benedict Campbell, Director of The High Bridge said, “the Stony Brook Film Festival has been one of my favorite experiences, and Alan and his team give equal representation and individual attention to every filmmaker.” Priya Ramasubban, Director of Chuskit delighted over the Festival saying “it is a very unique and warm festival, and I’ll remember it for a long time to come.” Jonathan Bloch, Director of Waiting Game said “this experience has been one of the few times where I have felt truly embraced as a filmmaker and artist.” Jake Katofsky, Director of Asia A sent a note saying, “I am still riding the high from last night, and it is by far the best run festival I have had the pleasure of attending.” The opening night film, Balloon, from Germany, was SOLD OUT as were many of the other screenings in Staller Center’s 1,000-seat theater.

2019 STONY BROOK FILM FESTIVAL AWARDS

2019 Grand Prize

Chuskit
New York Premiere – India – 90 min
Written and Directed by Priya Ramasubban.
With Jigmet Dewa Lhamo and Morup Namgyal.

Chuskit’s dream of going to school is cut short when she is rendered a paraplegic after an accident. Confined to life indoors, she continues to dream of going to school, but her tradition-bound grandfather feels that the school in their remote Himalayan village can’t handle her special needs. Caught in the middle of this struggle are her parents and brother, who respect grandfather’s old-world views, but also want to keep Chuskit’s spirit alive. In Ladakhi with subtitles.

Chuskit – Trailer

2019 Jury Award for Best Feature

In God I Trust
East Coast Premiere – Canada – 97 min
Directed by Maja Zdanowski. Written by Paul St. Amand and Maja Zdanowski.
With Marc Senior, John Cassini (Se7en) , Steven Roberts, Bilal Oliver, and Melissa Roxburgh (Star Trek Beyond).

A suspenseful, sharp-eyed study on the unpredictable realities of race and religion in America. Inspired by true events, this film follows three separate story lines that converge during a random encounter at a diner in a small Northern Idaho town. The audience may find their own assumptions questioned as these complicated, true-to-life portrayals keep one guessing until the final credits. Featuring nuanced performances, Grammy nominated singer-songwriter Bilal Oliver, and an amazing landscape, this is the unique vision of a talented and truly independent filmmaker.

In God I Trust – Trailer

2019 Audience Choice for Best Feature

The Silent Revolution
East Coast Premiere – Germany – 111 min
Written and Directed by Lars Kraume. From the book by Dietrich Garstka.
With Leonard Scheicher, Tom Gramenz, Ronald Zehrfeld (Sweethearts), and Florian Lukas (The Invisibles)

When a class of Seniors in the Communist-controlled GDR discovers what is really happening during the Hungarian Uprising of 1956, they decide to remain silent for one minute to show solidarity with the victims. After this draws more attention than expected, the students find themselves accused of a counterrevolutionary act. A true story of courage in the face of an unforgiving, authoritarian regime. In German and Russian with subtitles

The Silent Revolution – Trailer

2019 Jury Award Best Short

Toke is Cheap
Canada – 23 minutes
A film by Kerry van der Griend

A teenage boy who sells marijuana is met with an unusual request from his Father.

2019 Audience Award Best Short

The Portraitist
New York Premiere – Luxembourg – 15 min
In French with subtitles
A film by Cyrus Neshvad

An old man’s suicide attempt is interrupted when he learns that his granddaughter is ill.

The Portraitist – Trailer

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