This year’s Stony Brook Film Fest spotlights movies about families

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International films will take the spotlight at this year’s Stony Brook Film Festival, which announced its full lineup Monday.

The 24th annual festival runs July 18-27 at the Staller Center for the Arts at Stony Brook University.

The informal theme for this year’s festival is families — some in faraway countries, others closer to home. The opening-night film, “Balloon,” tells the story of two families attempting an improbable escape from East Berlin in a hot-air balloon. The closing-night film, “Lola & Her Brothers,” a comedy from France, follows a woman who even in her 30s seems to serve as mother figure to her problematic siblings. Other films with family themes include “Chuskit,” a drama about a paraplegic girl and her grandfather living in the Himalayas; “Above the Clouds,” in which a British girl searches for her birth father; and “Babysplitters,” a comedy about two California couples who want to share a child (the cast includes a local talent, Eddie Alfano, formerly of Deer Park).

A number of films with well-known stars will also screen at the festival. “Guest Artist,” holding its world premiere at the festival, features Jeff Daniels (who also wrote the screenplay) as a New York playwright considering mounting his latest play in a small Michigan town. Aaron Paul, of AMC’s “Breaking Bad,” plays a man who becomes a father figure to a deaf boy in “The Parts You Lose.” Australia’s Radha Mitchell (“Finding Neverland”) plays a retired opera singer in “Celeste.” Walton Goggins, Alice Englert and newly minted Oscar winner Olivia Colman star in “Them That Follow,” a drama about a snake-handling church in Appalachia. That film, a hit at Sundance, will hold its New York premiere at Stony Brook.

One of the festival’s most intriguing titles is “Cold Case Hammarskjold,” a documentary that appears to solve the murder of a famous United Nations official and, unexpectedly, finds evidence of a conspiracy that sentenced thousands of others to death as well.

Festival passes are on sale now; tickets for single screenings go on sale July 1. For more information, go to stonybrookfilmfestival.com.

 

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