We hope you enjoyed the 14th Annual Lighthouse International Film Festival!
2022 Lighthouse International Film Festival
Festival Award Winners
The 14th Annual Lighthouse International Film Festival Award Winners Announced
Narrative Feature Competition
Jury Award Winner: Straighten Up and Fly Right by Steven Tanenbaum and Kristen Abate (USA)
Jury Special Mention: Love, Life and Goldfish by Yukinori Makabe (Japan)
Audience Award: Love, Life and Goldfish by Yukinori Makabe (Japan)
Documentary Feature Competition
Jury Award Winner: Eternal Spring by Jason Loftus (Canada)
Jury Special Mention: Oleg by Nadia Tass (USA)
Audience Award: Eternal Spring by Jason Loftus (Canada)
Best Narrative Short: Ayaan by Alies Sluiter (Australia)
Best Short Doc: Freedom Day by Rianne Pyle (USA)
Best Social Impact Short: Free Fall by Emmanuel Tenenbaum (France)
Best Episodic: Grafton by Bryan Santiago (USA)
Special Mention: The Photographer by Dina Zvi Riklis (Israel)
Darkhouse Audience Award
For Roger by Aaron Bartuska
High School Student Films
The Last Hunter by Ziling Chen
* $500 cash prize donated by Maya Brewster-Dorian
Jennifer Snyder Bryceland Award
Exposure by Holly Morris
* $3200 cash prize donated by Lagralane Group and Bryceland family
Honey Levine Audience Choice Award
Song of Salt by Emma Baiada and Nicolas Snyder
* $1000 cash prize
Pat Dengler Volunteer of the Year
Lighthouse Int'l Film Festival Announces Its Complete 2022 Program:
Michael K. Williams’ Last Movie, Sundance and SXSW Titles, World Premieres,
and the New Darkhouse Program for Genre Films
Long Beach Island, NJ – After announcing its opening film and narrative and documentary feature films in competition, the Lighthouse International Film Festival is proud to reveal the complete program of its 14th edition. The program includes Sundance and SXSW titles as Headliners and acclaimed international films in the Spotlight section. Also, Lighthouse put its dark side on display in a new installment dedicated to genre, horror, sci-fi, and fantastic movies entitled DARKHOUSE. 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, including film screenings, panels, networking events, masterclasses, and parties with terrific food & drinks.
Dir: Michael Morris, USA (East Coast Premiere)
A West Texas single mother wins the lottery and squanders it just as fast, leaving behind a world of heartbreak. Years later, with her charm running out and nowhere to go, she fights to rebuild her life and find redemption. Inspired by true events. Andrea Riseborough is electrifying in an Oscar-worthy performance as she leads a gallery of brilliant actors such as Marc Maron, Allison Janney, Stephen Root, Owen Teague, and Andre Royo.
My Old School
Dir: Jono McLeod, UK
In 1993, 16-year-old Brandon Lee enrolled at Bearsden Academy, a secondary school in a well-to-do suburb of Glasgow, Scotland. What followed over the next two years became the stuff of legend.
Dir: Abi Damaris Corbin, USA
When Marine Veteran Brian Brown-Easley is denied support from Veterans Affairs, financially desperate and running out of options, he takes a bank and several of its employees hostage, setting the stage for a tense confrontation with the police. Starring John Boyega and the late Michael K. Williams in his last role. Based on the true story.
Fire of Love
Dir: Sara Dosa, USA/Canada
The extraordinary love story of intrepid French scientists Katia and Maurice Krafft, who died just as explosively as they lived – capturing the most spectacular imagery ever recorded of their greatest passion: volcanoes.
Spin Me Round
Dir: Jeff Baena, USA
When the manager of an Italian restaurant chain wins the opportunity to attend the franchise's educational immersion program in Italy, what she thought would be a romantic getaway devolves into chaos and catastrophe. Starring Allison Brie (who is also the screenwriter), Aubrey Plaza, Alessandro Nivola, Molly Shannon, and others.
Dir: Alex Pritz, Brazil/Denmark/USA
When a network of Brazilian farmers seizes an area of protected Indigenous territory, a young native leader and his mentor must find new ways to fight back.
A Love Song
Dir: Max Walker-Silverman, USA
At a campground in the rural West, a woman (Dale Dickey) waits alone for an old flame from her past (Academy Award-winner Wes Studi) to arrive, uncertain of his intentions while bashful about her own.
Dir: Queena Li, China (East Coast Premiere)
A young lady arrives in Lhasa alone for pilgrimage, but a "multicolored magical lobster" enshrined by other people has totally changed her plan. She made a decision to take the lobster home to a bay by a legendary lighthouse, and this set her and the lobster on the journey cross half of China.
Dir: Jake Wachtel, USA/Cambodia
In near-future Phnom Penh, a teenage boy teams up with a street-smart girl from his neighborhood to untangle the mystery of his past-life dreams. What begins as a hunt for a Buddhist treasure soon leads to greater discoveries that will either end in digital enlightenment or a total loss of identity.
Dir: Lisa Bierwirth, Germany (US Premiere)
When curator Monika gets mixed up in a raid in Frankfurt's seedy Bahnhofsviertel district, she meets the Congolese businessman Joseph. This chance encounter turns into an intense love affair. But despite their love, mutual distrust grows, the consequences of which end up spiraling out of control.
Dir: Margot Schaap, Netherlands (US Premiere)
Quicksand is the story of an intriguing mother-daughter relationship and its repercussions for three generations of women. When Suze's colorful and extravagant mother Helena pays a surprise visit to inform her daughter that she's ill, Suze slowly relapses into severe compulsive behavior.
* This screening is supported by Dutch Culture USA
Song of Salt
Dir: Emma Baiada & Nicolas Snyder, USA (World Premiere)
The Lighthouse International Film Festival is proud to host the world premiere of the stunning, visceral documentary Song of Salt. Set in an isolated mining town on the outskirts of Death Valley, the film is an immersive glimpse into the struggles and celebrations within a tight-knit community as its residents, suspended between the past and the future, face the present realities of an eroding economy.
This new festival section for genre, horror, sci-fi, and fantastic films includes four features: Cyber Underground by Rudy Cimic (Canada) is a sci-fi paranoia thriller that follows a local group of hackers under attack by a serial killer. A Pure Place by Nikias Chrissos (Germany/Greece) tells a story of a bizarre cult that worships cleanliness and defies anything dirty. For Roger by Aaron Bartuska is a low-budget film that uses horror elements like found footage and a "cabin in the woods" scenario to delve into loss or loneliness. The Retaliators by Bridget Smith & Samuel Gonzalez Jr. (USA) follows a young priest on a revenge mission against his daughter's killer.
Darkhouse will also host screenings of short films headed by Nasty by Paul Chart (produced by LIFF board member Denise Grayson) and Maschera della Morte by Scott Bekisz (produced by LIFF Exec Director Rob Karol). Other films in the Darkhouse program are Devils (dir: Bret Miller), Double Lens Reflex (dir: Arman Meinecke), Face the Music (dir: Noah Lederman Greis), Forest Giants (dir: Augusta Mariano), Gary (dir: Michael Rognlie), Hot Toddy (dir: Mary Sette), Launch at Paradise (dir: Carrie Ann Quinn), The Molok (dir: Sam Wilson), Night (dir: Frank Sun), Rosso (dir: Zach Staads), Shudder (dir: Rob Ride), Tim Travers & The Time Travelers Paradox (dir: Stimson Sneads), and Void (dir: Claire Marshall).
Dramatic Feature Competition: Cameroonian actor/director Ellie Foumbi, filmmaker Marty Davidson, and Palestinian actor/director Samar Qupty.
Documentary Competition: filmmaker/distributor Ira Deutchman, producer/costume designer Chester Algernal Gordon, and producer Meredith Kaulfers.
Shorts Competition: filmmaker Stephen David Brooks, producer Sola Fasehun, and Israeli editor Or Lee-Tal.
Episodic Competition: filmmaker-educator Anna Feder, actor-director Mercedes Grower, and actor Tora Kim-Lake.
High School Films Competition: producer Maya Brewster-Dorian.
Jennifer Snyder Bryceland Award: producer Matthew Soraci.
DRAMATIC FEATURES COMPETITION
Two films will hold their world premiere at LIFF: 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 in the modern-day Japanese countryside and will have its East Coast premiere at Lighthouse. Pack of Sheep, by Greek filmmaker Dimitris Kanellopoulos, tells a tense story about the toxic masculinity of good men who spiral 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.
Finite: The Climate of Change (United Kingdom), by Rich Felgate, follows European eco-activists in their fight against climate change. I Am The Tigress, by Austrian filmmakers Philipp Fussenegger and Dino Osmanovic, is a gender-bending, muscle-flexing doc about Tischa Thomas, a 50-something female bodybuilder. Sam Smartt's Luminous (USA) presents the fascinating work of science, success, and failures. The stylistically striking animation of Eternal Spring, by Canadian filmmaker Jason Loftus, re-enacts the plot to hijack the Chinese TV broadcast by human rights activists. The biography of Russian movie star Oleg Vidov in Nadia Tass's Oleg (narrated by Brian Cox) provides a new commentary about Russian culture and politics. The free-spirited micro-budget Jacarando, by Austin Spies, presents a glimpse of life during COVID-19 in Los Angeles. Exposure, by Holly Morris, follows a delegation of middle-eastern and western women on a mission to reach the North Pole. On The Edge, by Israeli filmmaker Rina Papish, offers an intimate portrayal of a base jumper who became paralyzed after an accident and tries to come to terms with his new life.
The 14th Annual Lighthouse International Film Festival Announces Its Narrative 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 narrative 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 narrative 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 and spotlight programs.
The narrative 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 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.