Mark your calendars for the 14th Annual Lighthouse International Film Festival!


The 14th Annual Lighthouse International Film Festival Announces Its Dramatic Features in Competition: World premieres, a musical fairy tale from Japan, and intimate portraits of relationships in the big city

The Lighthouse International Film Festival is proud to announce its 2022 dramatic features competition program, which includes eight inspiring, creative, and shocking films from the USA, Spain, Greece, and Japan. The festival will take place for the 14th consecutive year on Long Beach Island (LBI), NJ, from Thursday, June 2nd through Sunday, June 5th — a long weekend that offers exciting in-person events: film screenings, panels, networking events, masterclasses, and parties with terrific food & drinks. In addition to the dramatic features competition, the LIFF program will include a doc features competition, shorts competition, episodic competition, high school student films competition, surf films screenings, and our headliners program.


The dramatic features competition will bring to the big screen original stories from the brilliant minds of independent filmmakers who will be attending the festival, coming from across the USA, Europe, and even Japan. Two of the competition films will celebrate their world premieres on LBI with talent attending: MAYBE NEXT TIME, by Sahm McGlynn, is a beautifully shot, intimate ghost story starring Kika Magalhaes (The Eyes of My Mother), Max Hoffman (Dustin Hoffman's son; Hook, Greenberg); and MENINA CASILDA, a Spanish Comedy by French filmmaker Eric Du Bellay, is a surprisingly funny take on cinephiles and Hollywood classics through a wild kidnapping plot during COVID-19 in Madrid.


LOVE, LIFE and GOLDFISH, by director Yukinori Makabe, is a romantic musical fairy tale that takes place in the modern day Japanese countryside and will have its East Coast premiere at Lighthouse. A PACK of SHEEP, by Greek filmmaker Dimitris Kannellopoulos, also takes place in the countryside but tells a completely different, tense story about toxic masculinity and how good men can be pushed into senseless violence. STRAIGHTEN UP and FLY RIGHT, by Kristen Abate & Steven Tanenbaum, winner of the Unstoppable Award at Slamdance Film Festival, provides an intimate look into the love life of lonely disabled people in New York City. Loneliness and longing for closeness between a father and a son are at the center of the gentle PLANET b234 by Keelie Sheridan and Jorge Luna. Romantic intimacy in real life is the focus of Clinton Cornwell's 12 MONTHS, which follows a couple falling in and out of love over the course of a year. WE ARE NOT CONTENT!, by Yuki Soga, offers a unique creative take on the cliche of struggling aspiring artists trying to make it in the film industry.

TO LESLIE to open the 14th Annual Lighthouse International Film Festival

The Lighthouse Int'l Film Festival is proud to announce its opening night film: TO LESLIE. It will be the East Coast premiere of Michael Morris' powerful, heartfelt drama, following its world premiere at SXSW in March. To Leslie will launch the in-person festival on Thursday, June 2nd on Long Beach Island, New Jersey. LIFF 2022 will close on Sunday, June 5th after four days of screenings, parties, panels, and events in the spirit of LBI's fun, welcoming vibe. 

To buy your tickets for To Leslie now, click here to visit the event page.

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To Leslie follows a West Texas single mother struggling to provide for her son when she wins the lottery and a chance at the good life. But a few short years later, the money is gone, and Leslie is on her own, living hard and fast at the bottom of a bottle as she runs from the world of heartbreak she left behind. With her charm running out and with nowhere to go, Leslie returns home. Unwelcome and unwanted by those she wronged, it's Sweeney, a lonely motel clerk, who takes a chance when no one else will. With his support, Leslie comes face to face with the consequences of her actions, a life of regret, and a second chance to make a good life for herself and her son.


To Leslie is the feature film directorial debut of successful TV director Michael Morris (House of Cards, Preacher, For All Mankind), and it stars the brilliant Riseborough (Mandy, Nocturnal Animals, Birdman) in a bare, nuance-rich, electrifying performance as Leslie. She is joined by a talented group of actors: Marc Maron (Joker, Maron, GLOW), Academy Award winner Allison Janney (I, Tonya, American Beauty, The West Wing), Stephen Root (Get Out, No Country for Old Men), Owen Teague (The Cow), and Andre Royo (The Wire). Screenwriter: Ryan Binaco. Producers: Claude Dal Farra, Ceci Cleary, Brian Keady, Kelsey Law, Phillip Waley, Jason Shuman, Eduardo Cisneros.


Michael Morris, director of To Leslie: “I could not be more thrilled to be part of the Lighthouse International Film Festival, and to have my film chosen as the Opening Night selection is a true honor. I’ve long admired the films that Lighthouse has programmed, and I’m delighted that To Leslie will now be part of that select list. To Leslie is a film about life – real life, in its hardships and struggles, and its moments of joy and connection. It’s so important to me that it can be seen by an audience, together in one place, all experiencing Leslie’s story alongside one another, just as movies were supposed to be seen.”

Amir Bogen, Artistic Director of the Lighthouse International Film Festival: "We couldn't be more proud of our opening night film, TO LESLIE. The story is heartbreaking and very honest. It takes the audience to the lowest points of an addictive personality but offers a chance for redemption. It's an emotional rollercoaster full of failed hopes, disappointments, and agony, but also kindness, humanity, and optimism. Rarely do we see a filmmaker and actors engaging the difficult and raw issue of addiction and alcoholism with so much intimacy, sensitivity, and empathy. Director Michael Morris has created a heartfelt, non-judgmental portrait of a woman in an existential crisis that is very real. The exceptionally talented Andrea Riseborough brings the character to life — a bleak and meager life rich in nuance and emotions. It's a mind-blowing, gut-wrenching performance that should be rewarded with an Academy Award next year. With an energetic supporting cast including Marc Maron, Allison Janney, Stephen Root, Owen Teague, and Andre Royo, selecting this drama as Lighthouse 2022's opening film was a no-brainer. Usually, festivals pick feel-good comedies to launch their event, but this film is too good, and the performances are Oscar-worthy. People will be deeply touched, and some might cry, but hey, that’s why we have an after-party!"

Lighthouse Int'l Film Festival introduces new AUDIENCE CHOICE AWARD

The HONEY LEVINE AWARD is the Lighthouse International Film Festival’s new audience choice award, named in memory of Annette “Honey” Levine — a patron of the arts, cinephile, and friend of the Festival. Honey loved a good story and supporting independent storytellers from around the world, so this is our way of honoring her spirit and contributions to the Long Beach Island community. The HONEY LEVINE AWARD will be given to a feature-length documentary or narrative, as selected by audience ballot, and the winner will receive a $1,000 cash award.


Thank you to all the filmmakers who have shown films at the Lighthouse International Film Festival. We are honored to share your stories.


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