From premieres and award-winning films shown in nationally-registered historic screening venues, to a splashy Festival closing bash aboard the famous Staten Island Ferry, as it travels around Manhattan accompanied by spectacular fireworks and to awards ceremonies featuring local and national talent –New York City’s borough of Staten Island is rolling out the red carpet celebrating the world of film, June 1-4, 2006.
Celebrating in grand style to welcome the summer season, The First Annual Staten Island Film Festival’s theme is Community and Culture with a program of over 100 independent films chosen for their local and national cultural significance. The festival has much to offer film buffs and tourists alike, reflective of the many cultures and lively communities that make up New York City’s greenest borough, the location for many famous films from The Godfather, to Goodfellas to Annie Hall.
“The festival’s rich and diverse program is reflective of the Staten Island’s cultural and community experience”, relates Cesar Claro, Executive Director of Staten Island Economic Development Corporation, which developed the Festival, “ The line-up of independent films from local, national and international filmmakers combined with a unique partnership program of special films chosen by various civic and cultural representatives creates a mix unique among film festivals.”
An Honorary Board of industry stars with Staten Island ties includes actor, Robert Loggia (Academy Award nominee from Jagged Edge), actor Carmine Giovinazzo, of Black Hawk Down and CSI:New York and director, Armand Mastroianni of the upcoming movie, The Celestine Prophecy, based on the best-selling book.
“The extensive Festival programming includes feature films, documentaries, shorts, animation, student projects, youth films and family-oriented films,” relates Festival Director Jeannine Marotta, “ and the gala screening receptions, parties and award ceremonies at Staten Island’s most historic and magnificent venues including the magnificent national landmark, the Snug Harbor Cultural Center, will make this event a great way to start the Summer of 2006 in New York City.”
Noteworthy films include: Street Fight, a 2006 Academy Award Nominated documentary that has garnered praise and awards for its gritty portrayal of an urban city’s fierce mayoral race; Matisyahu Short, the acclaimed film of the Orthodox Jewish rapper and local New York celebrity and Duel at Red Table, winner at Tribeca Film Festival, an exciting action/comedy/horror film that portrays a vicious table tennis match to save a young girl’s soul, which was actually filmed in the woods of Staten Island.
Two special programs reflect the community’s recognition of film as a catalyst for discussion and inspiration, The Global Peace Film Festival’s Faith Interfaith Program and The Staten Island Local Films/Filmmakers’ Program. Global Peace Film will present five films and 4 shorts including films such as Binta and the Great Idea, The Weight of the World and Hope. The Staten Island Local Films/Filmmakers’ Program will highlight the work of talented members of the Staten Island community and those who call Staten Island their birthplace. One such film, The War Within, is a story of a Pakistani engineering student who was imprisoned and interrogated by Western intelligence agents for suspected terrorist activities.
Special film screenings, unique to Staten Island Film Festival’s intention to involve and highlight its multi-cultural community, consist of films chosen for their particular interest and importance to their distinct constituencies. Included are special films sponsored by The Irish Columcille Cultural Center, Re-Imagining Ireland; The Hindu Temple, Morning Raga; Pakistani Civic Association, Punjabi Love Story; NAACP, Hardwood/Strange Fruit; Russian Association, Ballet Russe; The Greek Trinity, A Greek Woman; The Italian Club, Waiting for Maggio/Cugini; The Jewish Community Center, Go For Zucker and the Latino Civic Association, presenting Maid in America.
Charitable organizations will also screen films, such as The American Red Cross, 911 Troop 1500; Project Hospitality for the Homeless, News From Afar; the Staten Island Inter-Agency Council for the Aging, Age of Discovery; and The Eden II School for Autistic Children, Refrigerator Mothers; Interfaith, What Do You Believe? and Where To Turn, a 911 group, will host a North American premiere screening of In Between, the story of a mysterious man who appears after the tragedy of 9.11 to help New Yorkers come to terms with their confusion and frustration.
Families will enjoy films presented by Staten Island cultural institutions such as The Staten Island Zoo, presenting The Colt; Children’s Museum, Dinner at Marvins/Fan And The Flower and Max Rules; Staten Island Museum, A Touch of Greatness/Microcosmos and The Nobel Maritime Collection will screen Saps at Sea.
The venues hosting the Festival are full of history and cultural significance, and alone, would make for a compelling reason to visit the festival. Topping the list is Snug Harbor Cultural Center, officially designated as a National Historic Landmark, consisting of 83 beautiful landscaped acres dotted with Greek Revival buildings. The Music Hall at Snug Harbor, built in 1892, is one of the greatest treasures of Snug Harbor Cultural Center. This stately building is the second oldest music hall in New York City, built after Carnegie Hall. Other notable venues include The St. George Theatre, a magnificent 75-year-old restored theatre and The College of Staten Island Center for The Arts.
General admission for all films is $5. And ticket packages are available. For information on the festival, ticket information, visit the festival’s website, www.sifilmfestival.org., Email: email@example.com or call 718.477.1400.