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Gold Coast International Film Festival organizers prepare for first year without largest venue

Bow Tie Cinemas in Port Washington, seen on

Bow Tie Cinemas in Port Washington, seen on March 28. Credit: Howard Schnapp

The 2018 Gold Coast International Film Festival slated for next month marks the first time festival organizers cannot use the Bow Tie Cinema theater in Port Washington, which was the largest venue used for screening films.

To make up for the loss of the 300-seat venue, the festival will use two or three rooms at the Soundview Cinema location in Port Washington North, said Gold Coast Arts Center executive director Regina Gil. The event will feature more than 80 films — a slight increase over last year — from 22 countries. 

“This is going to be an exciting, intense week of outstanding films,” Gil said. “They’ll be entertaining, thought-provoking, funny, romantic, truly something for everyone.”

Bow Tie Cinemas, on Main Street, unexpectedly closed earlier this year, putting festival organizers in a bind. The theater, which opened in 1927, was one of several venues across North Hempstead that Gold Coast used for festival films. 

The theater’s ownership changed hands through the years, including being taken over by Clearview Cinemas in 1995. Bow Tie Cinemas took ownership of the Port Washington theater in 2013 when it acquired Clearview. The company operates four other theaters on Long Island — in New Hyde Park, Manhasset, Roslyn and Great Neck.

Soundview Cinema has seven screening rooms and is a venue that Gold Coast has used before, Gil said. 

Officials at Ridgefield, Connecticut-based Bow Tie have not returned requests for comment.

The festival runs from Nov. 2 to 13. The opening film screens at 7 p.m. Nov. 2 at Bow Tie Squire Cinemas in Great Neck. 

Caroline Sorokoff , the festival's director, said the 11-day event will have documentaries, foreign films, and independent films that span comedy, drama, film noire, and psychological thrillers. She said organizers have also increased the number of Q&A sessions after each film. 

"It's not only about learning how many days it took to make or how much money it cost," Sorokoff said. "But often, our Q&As go beyond that and into why [the filmmakers] made certain choices and what motivated them." 

North Hempstead Supervisor Judi Bosworth said that the festival gives the public a chance to see "some of the finest films of the year."

“The film festival is the town’s time to shine,” Bosworth said. 

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