The Blond Boy from the Casbah directed by Alexandre Arcady
The Blond Boy from the Casbah (courtesy Stony Brook Film Festival)

The 29th Stony Brook Film Festival will run from Thursday, July 18, through Saturday, July 27, 2024, offering 36 feature and short films from 19 countries.

The Opening night film is The Blond Boy from the Casbah, from France. Writer/Director Alexandre Arcady’s brilliantly layered feature follows the story of a filmmaker as he travels with his son back to Algiers to present a film about his childhood there. A thought-provoking, unique journey through the past on the surprising path to self-discovery.

The closing night film, from Germany, is One Million Minutes. It is the directing debut of writer/producer Christopher Doll and stars his wife, actress Karoline Herfurth. This is Herfurth’s fourth film to be featured at the festival. Herfurth and Doll will attend closing night and answer questions about their latest work.

Festival Director Alan Inkles is thrilled to have one of Germany’s most prolific and well-known actress/director, Karoline Herfurth, returning to the festival: “We first got a look at Karoline’s acting abilities as she starred in the lead role in our 2009 premiere of Berlin 36 at just 25 years old and illuminated our large screen. She attended the festival and lead the Q&A in 2016 when her delightful comedy that she starred in and directed, Text For You, was the festival’s closing night film. In 2019, the festival premiered Sweethearts, another comedy that Karoline starred in and directed with both comedies produced by Christopher Doll. This year, we are extremely excited to have the first screening in North America of Doll’s feature directorial debut, One Million Minutes starring Karoline in a dramatic role also produced by Doll.”

Karoline becomes the first actor in the 29 years of the festival to star in four films.

The festival offers Early Bird passes at discounted rates. Passes are on sale at the Early Bird rate from May 22-June 10.

OPENING NIGHT – July 18, 2024

United States – 11 min.
A film by Reilly Anspaugh & Daniel Rashid

Zoe is afraid to introduce her new boyfriend to her old stuffed animal. Daniel Rashid (Almost Winter, Hit Friends) returns to SBFF in this hilarious and heartwarming tale.

The Blond Boy from the Casbah
France – 126 min – U.S. Premiere
Written and directed by Alexandre Arcady
With Léo Campion, Marie Gillain, Michel Boujenah, Christian Berkel, Dany Brillant, Pascal Elbé, and Patrick Mille.

Alexandre Arcady intertwines both past and present in this highly original masterpiece using his own autobiographical book with the same title as the source. Fictional filmmaker Antoine Lisner is returning to his childhood home in Algeria after a long absence to screen his film about his life before the war forced him to flee to France with his family at the age of 13. Accompanying Lisner is his 13-year-old son, who serves as a witness to his father’s conflicted memories. Meanwhile, we also see this childhood played out – in his memory or perhaps in his film. Arcady employs this fictionalized version of personal events to recreate his childhood with gentle humor and abundant grace while reaching for a more profound and complicated truth.

In French, with subtitles.

CLOSING NIGHT – July 27, 2024

India – 26 min – New York Premiere
A film by Tathagata Ghosh

After a woman is separated from her true love due to an arranged marriage by her conservative father, her mother tries to help her find a way forward.
In Bengali, with subtitles.

One Million Minutes
Germany – 124 minutes – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Christopher Doll. Written by Monika Fäßler, Tim Hebborn, Malte Welding, and Ulla Ziemann.
With Karoline Herfurth (Sweethearts, Texts for You, Berlin 36), Tom Schilling, Pola Friedrichs, and Hassan Akkouch.

Wolf, a workaholic husband and father, constantly travels for his job. At the same time, his wife Vera, a successful professional in her own right, stays home to take care of their two daughters, the oldest of whom has just been diagnosed with developmental delays. Tired, frustrated, and at the end of their rope, they realize that the only way to save their marriage and give their eldest the attention she needs is to leave it all behind and start afresh. And they do just that. Wolf rearranges his job so he can work remotely, and the family packs up and heads off to Thailand to lead an idyllic life on the beach, which turns out to be harder than imagined. Compromises come slowly, and further tweaks to the work-life balance plus a change of environment – Iceland! – doesn’t make it any easier. Actress Karoline Herfurth returns to the Stony Brook Film Festival in this beautiful closing night film, based on the true story by Wolf Küper. A scenic journey that touches on universal struggles while quietly capturing your heart.

In German, with subtitles.

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