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Stony Brook Film Festival 2014 preview: Movies to watch, stars to spot

Ray Liotta on April 22, 2013 in Hollywood,

Ray Liotta on April 22, 2013 in Hollywood, Calif. Credit: Getty Images / Mark Sullivan

Ralph Macchio, Ray Liotta, Marsha Mason and Joe Pantoliano are among the guests expected to attend this year's annual Stony Brook Film Festival, which will run from July 17 through 26.

Tickets go on sale Monday at, where the full schedule can be found.

The annual festival, now in its 19th edition, has become known as a filmmaker-friendly but highly selective showcase. It has a no-entry-fee policy, but its single screen at the Staller Center means that screening slots are limited. This year, festival director Alan Inkles has done away with the traditional Saturday and Sunday matinees, leaving room for just 17 features and 20 shorts.

"We get more films than most festivals, but we accept less," says Inkles. "The last few weeks were very tough -- I had to write some very tough emails to filmmakers who did some really good work."

The films that made this year's cut come from more than a dozen countries and include three world and four U.S. premieres.

Opening night film "Back on Track," is a German comedy-drama about a former Olympian, now in his 70s, who hopes to win the Berlin Marathon. It will be preceded by "Across Grace Alley," written and directed by Macchio, the Huntington native best known for "The Karate Kid." Macchio and his cast -- Marsha Mason, Karina Smirnoff and Ben Hyland, a young actor from Manhasset -- will attend.

Other features include "45 RPM," a road movie about an obsessive record collector; "My Sweet Pepper Land," a Kurdish war story that unfolds like an American Western; "Canopy," a mostly wordless film about an Australian fighter-pilot downed in Singapore in 1942; and "A Five Star Life," a globe-trotting drama about a professional luxury hotel inspector.

The closing night film, "A Thousand Times Good Night," stars Juliette Binoche as a war photographer and is directed and co-written by Erik Poppe, a former photographer for Reuters.

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