Long Beach is known for its surf, but it’s also gaining a reputation for the silver screen. From Aug. 3-5, more than 40 films from around the world will be shown at the fifth annual Long Beach International Film Festival, bringing cinematic culture to the South Shore.
“We show the films you normally wouldn’t be able to see at your neighborhood movie theater,” says co-founder Craig Weintraub, of Oceanside. “There are great and important stories being told through the medium of film that can change the way you view the world.”
The opening night festivities kick off with a red-carpet ceremony at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 3 at Long Beach Cinema 4 where the thriller “Money,” starring Jesse Williams, Kellan Lutz and Jamie Bamber, screens at 7.
The next day, films continue at 10 a.m. and run back-to-back at the theater until 9 p.m. with titles including “Beauty and the Beer,” “Leaves of the Tree” and “Spirit of Iris” plus these three films that have a Long Island angle:
“SAVING JAMAICA BAY” A documentary narrated by Susan Sarandon about the body of water that touches part of Brooklyn, Queens, Long Island and New Jersey.
“The bay has been dumped on, forgotten, neglected, underfunded and abused for many years, but it is part of a national park (Gateway National Recreation Area) and it should have that status,” says producer Dan Hendrick. “We explore how it got run-down plus follow the activists who turned things around.”
SCREENING 3:45 p.m. followed by a Q&A session with the filmmakers.
“CHERRY’S IN SEASON” The film documents a summer season at legendary Fire Island bar Cherry’s on the Bay, which is known for its wild drag events in Cherry Grove.
“It’s a real party atmosphere,” says director/producer Dave Dodds. “The bar is like a living, breathing character.”
SCREENING 6:15 p.m. followed by a Q&A session with the filmmakers.
“FIRE ISLAND” It’s a sexy, quirky comedy about a young widow’s journey back to love and home after losing her husband in a car accident.
“Fire Island has always been a special place for me,” says writer and director Mimi Harris. “The weekend I had there felt like a movie, so I wrote a screenplay that took on a life of its own. The process was very organic.”
SCREENING 8 p.m. followed by a Q&A session with the filmmaker.
TASTE ON THE BEACH
On Friday, the screenings continue at Long Beach Cinema 4 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. That’s followed by live music performed beachfront at the Allegria Hotel featuring acts such as Groundswell, Robbie Rosen and Brooke Moriber.
For those who want a dining experience, “Taste on the Beach” from 6 to 9 p.m. brings a host of local restaurants offering a buffet tapas meal with craft beers and wines.
“It’s an event for all of the senses,” says Weintraub. “We have films to watch, live bands to hear plus food and wines/beers to taste. There’s something for everyone.”
SHORTS ON THE BEACH
At 9 p.m. on Friday, head over to “Beach Theatre,” where a movie theater-size outdoor screen is erected on the sand in front of the Allegria Hotel complete with a full sound system for the festival’s “Shorts on the Beach” event with a free 90-minute screening of an eclectic mix of PG-rated short films.
“It’s a popular event where families bring their beach chairs, blankets and they picnic,” says Weintraub. “It’s become a festival tradition. Our attendees really make a nice night out of it.”
Long Beach International Film Festival
Wednesday, Aug. 3: 6 p.m. red carpet; 7 p.m. “Money” screening at Long Beach Cinema 4, 179 E. Park Ave., Long Beach.
Thursday, Aug. 4: 10 a.m.-9 p.m. film screenings
Friday, Aug. 5: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. film screenings; 4-9 p.m. live music beachfront at the Allegria Hotel in Long Beach; 6-9 p.m. “Taste on the Beach” (21 & over) followed by 9-10:30 p.m. free “Shorts on the Beach” film screenings between National and Edwards boulevards
ADMISSION $12 screenings ($30 opening night); $125 Taste on the Beach. “Shorts on the Beach” free (although tickets must be reserved); $199 festival pass