Stony Brook Film Festival: LI's Ralph Macchio to open with 'Across Grace Alley'

Ben Hyland stars in "Across Grace Alley" (2013), Ben Hyland stars in "Across Grace Alley" (2013), directed by Huntington native Ralph Macchio. Photo Credit: Houston Curtis Pictures

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If there's a theme to this year's Stony Brook Film Festival, it's this: You snooze, you lose.

The festival's 19th edition, which packs 17 features and 20 shorts into 10 days, runs the gamut -- from a light Irish comedy to a Middle East documentary to an American road-trip movie. Guests expected to attend with their films are Bebe Neuwirth (the short "Jerome's Bouquet"), Daphne Rubin-Vega (the dance drama "Fall to Rise") and Huntington native Ralph Macchio, whose short film, "Across Grace Alley," will screen opening night. The festival also boasts U.S. premieres of four films from overseas, including "The Dark Valley," a revenge-thriller in which British actor Sam Riley ("On the Road") speaks German.

"Two-thirds of these aren't going to get into theaters," says festival director Alan Inkles, citing a limited market for foreign films and stiff competition for American independents among film buyers and distributors. "Some might go to Netflix or somewhere," he says, "but chances are, this is the only way you'll see them."

Here's a sampling of the festival's feature-film highlights. Each will be preceded by a short, and all times listed are after noon.

BACK ON TRACK (Thursday night at 7)

U.S. premiere. The opening-night film is a German comedy starring Dieter Hallervorden as a former Olympian in his 70s who, rather unreasonably, begins training to win the Berlin Marathon.

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THE IDENTICAL (Friday at 9:30)

During the Great Depression, identical twins are separated at birth. One becomes a rock legend while the other strives to please his evangelical father. With Ashley Judd, Ray Liotta, Seth Green and newcomer Blake Rayne, who is scheduled to attend. The cast includes Joe Pantoliano ("The Sopranos"), a part-time Greenport resident, who's also expected to attend.

LIFE'S A BREEZE (Saturday at 9:30)

Three Dubliners surprise Grandma by remodeling her dingy flat. Unfortunately, they threw out a mattress containing her life's savings. Fionnula Flanagan ("Waking Ned Devine") leads the cast.

45 RPM (Sunday at 9:30)

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Juli Jackson wrote and directed this road-trip movie about a young artist and a record collector scouring the American South for a rare vinyl disc. The soundtrack culls several songs from -- who knew? -- the Arkansas rock scene of the 1960s. Preceded by "Waking Marshall Walker," a 15-minute short starring Ward Melville High School graduate Sarah Drew (ABC's "Grey's Anatomy").

CANOPY (Tuesday at 9:30)

Aaron Wilson's 80-minute, mostly wordless feature is set in 1942 and follows a shot-down Australian fighter pilot (Khan Chittenden) stranded in a Singapore jungle. Variety compared it favorably to "All Is Lost" and "Gravity" -- impressive for a movie that was shot in eight days.

THE GREEN PRINCE (Wednesday at 7)

Nadav Schirman's documentary about Mosab Hassan Yousef, a scion of Hamas who begins informing for Israel, unfolds like a Middle East Scorsese thriller. Based on Yousef's book.

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A FIVE STAR LIFE (July 24 at 7)

An Italian comedy-drama about a woman whose dream job -- luxury hotel inspector -- is beginning to feel a little less dreamy. The film stars two wonderful but underrated actresses: Margherita Buy (2008's "Days and Clouds") and Lesley Manville (Mike Leigh's Oscar-nominated "Another Year").

1,000 TIMES GOOD NIGHT (July 26 at 8:30)

The closing-night feature stars Juliette Binoche as a war photographer whose career is straining her marriage. The director and co-writer is Norway's Eric Poppe, himself a former photographer whose "Troubled Water" won an audience award at the 2008 Hamptons Film Festival. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, of HBO's "Game of Thrones," also stars. In English.

 

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STONY BROOK FILM FESTIVAL

WHEN|WHERE Thursday through July 26 at Staller Center for the Arts at Stony Brook University

TICKETS Single tickets are $10; passes are $85

INFO 631-632-2787; stonybrookfilmfestival.com

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