Among the films playing at this year's Stony Brook Film...

Among the films playing at this year's Stony Brook Film Festival is "The Blond Boy From the Casbah," Alexandre Arcady's semi-autobiographical dramedy about growing up in Algeria before emigrating to France as a teen. Credit: Stony Brook Film Festival

The Stony Brook Film Festival returns this summer for its 29th year, with 36 films, including 17 premieres and one “secret” screening.

The festival runs July 18-27 at Stony Brook University’s Staller Center for the Arts.

As always, the festival prides itself on curating foreign and independent films that may not make it to the multiplex. Among them are “The Blond Boy From the Casbah,” Alexandre Arcady's semi-autobiographical story of an Algerian teen who emigrates to France; “Mastergame,” a Cold War thriller from Hungary; “Humanist Vampire Seeking Consenting Suicidal Person,” a comedy with a self-explanatory title; and Fawzia Mirza’s "The Queen of My Dreams," a heartwarming and touching, Bollywood-soaked mother-daughter comedy.

While the festival is rarely programmed according to a theme, “this year, we gave ourselves the added goal of keeping an eye out for films that appeared to be on the lighter side,” Alan Inkles, the festival’s founder and the Staller Center director, said in a statement, “so we could give our audience some extra laughs in their lives — something that we felt many people could use.”

As for the secret screening, the festival will say only that it is “a major motion picture starring well-known Hollywood faces,” based on an inspirational true story and produced by a Long Island native whose films have screened at the festival before. That feature, whatever it may be, plays July 21.

Passes are on sale now for $75-$250; individual tickets will go on sale July 1. For more information call 631-632-2787 or visit

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