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



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



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