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Gold Coast International Film Festival to offer an eclectic lineup

This year’s screenings include ‘Dare to Be Different,’ the acclaimed documentary about LI’s legendary radio station, WLIR.

Joan Jett appears in the documentary

Joan Jett appears in the documentary "Dare to Be Different." Photo Credit: Jomyra Productions / Roger Senders

For the second year in a row, the Gold Coast International Film Festival has a surprise hit on its hands.

Last year it was Asghar Farhadi’s “The Salesman,” which proved so popular with the area’s Iranian-American community that the festival had to book two additional screenings. This year it’s “Dare to Be Different,” a documentary on Long Island’s beloved radio station WLIR, which has also sold out its first two screenings. A third screening was added on Nov. 14 at 7 p.m. at Port Washington’s Soundview Cinemas. (The film played at the Tribeca Film Festival in April, but the Gold Coast showings mark its Long Island premiere.)

That’s a good sign for this still-young cultural event. Founded seven years ago by Regina Gil as an outgrowth of her Gold Coast Arts Center (formerly Great Neck Arts Center), the festival has made a name for itself by offering a roster of foreign films, American independents, Oscar contenders and several shorts programs that have proved surprisingly popular. This year marks the festival’s first as a member of the Science on Screen program, which helps promote science-themed movies such as “Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story,” a documentary about the screen siren and self-taught inventor who created a secure communications protocol during World War II. That film screens Thursday, Nov. 9.

Here are several other notable screenings at the festival. All times are after noon unless noted.

BEN-GURION EPILOGUE (Wednesday, Nov. 8 at 7:30 at Squire Cinemas, 115 Middle Neck Rd., Great Neck). Yariv Mozer’s documentary draws from six hours of recently discovered interviews with Israel’s founding father, David Ben-Gurion, who was 82 at the time of recording. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with the late Prime Minister’s grandson, Alon Ben-Gurion.

FREE FILM FRIDAY: FAMILY SHORTS (Friday, Nov. 10 at noon at Cinema Arts Centre, 423 Park Ave., Huntington.) A selection of short films, some live-action, some animated, all family-friendly. Admission is indeed free, but you need to reserve seats in advance.

DOG YEARS (Friday, Nov. 10 at 7:30 at Port Washington Cinemas, 116 Main St.). Burt Reynolds plays an over-the-hill movie star who reluctantly accepts a lifetime achievement award from a semi-legitimate film festival. Ariel Winter, of ABC’s “Modern Family,” plays his foul-mouthed driver for the weekend. Also with Chevy Chase, Clark Duke and Nikki Blonsky.

STRAIGHT/CURVE: REDEFINING BODY IMAGE (Saturday, Nov. 11 at 4 at Soundview Cinemas, 7 Soundview Market Place, Port Washington). Jenny McQuaile’s documentary looks at female bodies in fashion and the media, and listens to those who advocate for a wider range of sizes, ages and colors. McQuaile will hold a Q&A after the screening.

PAL JOEY (Saturday, Nov. 11 at 6:30 at Soundview Cinemas). A screening of the 1957 musical comedy about a second-rate singer (Frank Sinatra) caught between a naive chorus girl (Kim Novak) and the society matron who has him by the purse-strings (Rita Hayworth). Sinatra’s granddaughter, Amanda Erlinger, will be interviewed by the Cinema Arts Centre’s Raj Tawney after the film.

DARKEST HOUR (Nov. 13 at 7 at Soundview Cinemas). Gary Oldman, in a startling transformation, plays British Prime Minister Winston Churchill as he stands firm against the Nazis despite pressure to negotiate for peace. Though the film won’t be released until Nov. 22, Oldman has already become the actor to beat at the Oscars.

THE INSULT (Nov. 14 at 7:30 at Squire Cinemas). In Lebanon, a minor disagreement between two men — a Palestinian and a Christian Phalange Party supporter — becomes a major news story that reopens the wounds of the country’s past. Nominated for the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival.

The Gold Coast International Film Festival

WHEN | WHERE Nov. 7 through 14 at venues around the North Shore.

INFO Tickets are $13-15. Passes are $75-$150. 516-829-2570 or go to goldcoastfilmfestival.com

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