By Alyssa Williams
The sixth annual Gold Coast International Film Festival will take place from Nov. 9 through Nov. 15 at numerous locations on Long Island, including two events on the Post campus. On Nov. 9, there will be a screening of the short-film, “Joe’s Violin,” in the Hillwood Recital Hall at 8 p.m. On Nov. 10, there will be the special event, “New York Spotlight Program,” in the Gold Coast Cinema at 11:30 a.m.
The Gold Coast International Theatre Festival was created by the Gold Coast Arts Center, a nonprofit visual and performing arts center in Great Neck, N.Y., “with the purpose of establishing a home on Long Island to showcase the work of exceptional filmmakers and provide the public with an insider’s view of the film industry,” according to the festival’s website.
Focused on the North Shore of Long Island, the festival pays homage to actors, directors, producers, composers and entrepreneurs who lived and found inspiration in that area in the early 20th century. These stars include Charlie Chaplin, Alfred Hitchcock, Francis Ford Coppola, and Joan Crawford. The festival aids the Gold Coast Arts Center in its mission of “promoting and supporting the arts through education, exhibition, performance and outreach,” as stated on goldcoastarts.org.
The university became involved in the festival two years ago with the help of Susan Zeig, director of the film program. “I established a relationship with Caroline Sarokoff, the director of the festival, that was facilitated by the SVPA Dean at that time. We started to talk about ways we could collaborate, and last year LIU was able to host the festival’s opening night showcase, which was a night with filmmaker Morgan Spurlock,” Zeig said. “We also put together a showcase of LIU Post student films that the festival promoted and screened with a panel in our Cinema at Hillwood. Those experiences were both very positive. Caroline wanted to try this short film showcase with a panel that includes film industry professionals this year, and I thought it was a good idea.”
Zeig also discussed what benefits the festival provides to students. “Establishing personal relationships with the local film festivals is a valuable opportunity for our students to get their work out into the world. Over the years, our students have won many prizes at LIIFE – Long Island International Film Expo 2016 held each year at the Bellmore Movies Theater,” she said. “This festival showcases feature-length independent films from all over the globe during this weeklong film festival. Last year, one of our short films, ‘My Friend John,’ won best student film. Our students do enter festivals in New York City and as far away as San Francisco, and have had good results, but having a personal connection with a festival nearby can produce long lasting results.”
The first event on campus, the screening of “Joe’s Violin,” takes place on Wednesday, Nov. 9 at 8 p.m. in the Hillwood Recital Hall. With a running time of about 23 minutes, the short film follows the true story of Joseph Feingold, a 91-year-old Polish Holocaust survivor who donates his violin to a local instrument drive. The instrument ends up changing both his life, and the life of Brianna Perez, the teenager from South Bronx who receives it.
Directed and produced by Kahane Cooperman, and produced by, Raphaela Neihausen, the film was nominated for the Tribeca Film Festival Best Documentary Short Film in 2016. After the screening, there will be a Q&A with Perez and her teacher, Kokoe Tanaka-Suwan, as well as a performance by the LIU Post String Ensemble, and invited high school guest musicians from the area, conducted by Music Professor Maureen Hynes. Tickets for the event are $15, but students can buy discounted tickets for $13.
The second event on campus is the “New York Spotlight Program” on Nov. 10 at 11:30 a.m. in the Gold Coast Cinema. Eight short films including, “Last Resort,” “Adija,” “Good Business,” “Subway Love,” “Mired,” “The Tailor,” “We Live This” and “Stop Making Murderers Famous,” will be screened.
After the screening, there will be a Q&A session with the guests, including Lawrence Smith of Mad Riot Entertainment, David Paterson, screen- writer/producer of Lionsgate’s “The Great Gilly Hopkins,” and Disney’s “Bridge To Terabithia,” as well as filmmakers Frank Dale Arroyo, Gordon Grinberg, Neil Holland, Ramfis Myrthil, David Schneiderman and Max Stossel.
This event is free, though it is recommended to reserve tickets at goldcoastfilfestival.org to guarantee entry.
Thirty other films will be screened as part of the festival at Bow Tie Great Neck-Squire Cinemas, Bow Tie Manhasset Cinemas, Bow Tie Port Washington Cinemas, Soundview Cinemas, Bow Tie Roslyn Cinemas, Gold Coast Arts Center and the Port Washington Public Library.
To learn more about the Gold Coast International Film Festival, go to goldcoastfilfestival.org, or follow it on social media, @goldcoastfilm on Twitter, or @gcifilmfestival on Instagram.