Jesse Eisenberg, left,  in a scene from "The Holy Rollers."

Jesse Eisenberg, left, in a scene from "The Holy Rollers." Credit: Handout

After more than a year of planning, organizers Tuesday announced the official launch of the Gold Coast International Film Festival, touting the event as a cultural and economic boon to Long Island's North Shore.

"This festival will be an A-list festival," said founder and executive director Regina Gil, "with guests and panels that will have people buzzing for a long time to come."

The festival will include 43 feature films and 20 shorts, to be shown June 1- 5 at various Clearview Cinemas theaters on the North Shore, including Squire Cinemas in Great Neck, Herricks Cinema 4 in New Hyde Park, Manhasset Cinemas, Port Washington Cinemas and Roslyn Cinemas, with special events held at other area venues. (Clearview is owned by Cablevision, which also owns Newsday.)

The announcement, made outside Manhasset Cinemas, came just three weeks before opening night, which Gil attributed to difficulties in solidifying the inaugural festival's full schedule. The lineup includes such disparate films as the Jesse Eisenberg comedy-drama "Holy Rollers," the French film "My Afternoons with Margueritte" and Errol Morris' documentary "Tabloid," about a 1977 kidnapping case in which a former Miss Wyoming was accused of kidnapping and raping a man. There also will be a tribute to Bruce Dern, with the actor scheduled to attend.

The Gold Coast festival is positioning itself as a local attraction but also a regional one that could draw visitors from as far away as Westchester County and Connecticut. Most of the theaters are accessible via the Long Island Rail Road, and bus service will be provided to some venues.

"Enjoy our main streets, shop in our stores, spend your money," said Jon Kaiman, North Hempstead Town supervisor. "This is not just about art and culture, which is very important, but also about commerce and economic development."

The festival is an outgrowth of the Great Neck Arts Center, which Gil also founded and which holds the seasonal Furman Film Series. That series' programmer, Sean McPhillips, a former vice president of acquisitions at Miramax Films, also heads the new festival's programming team, which includes Donna Dickman, senior vice president of publicity at Focus Features, and L. Somi Roy, a curator who specializes in Asian-American and nonfiction films.
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