• Lighthouse International Film Festival

LIFF Announces Its Documentary Competition Films

Updated: May 23

The Lighthouse International Film Festival is proud to announce its 2022 documentary competition program which includes inspiring, creative, and cutting-edge films from the USA and around the world. The Festival will take place on Long Beach Island (LBI), New Jersey from June 2nd through June 5th, a long weekend that offers exciting in-person events, film screenings, panel discussions, networking events, and parties. The Festival’s lineup will include a Narrative Features competition, Short Films competition, Episodic competition, High School Student Films competition, and Surf Films, as well as our Spotlight and Headliner features.


The documentary competition will bring to the big screen eight compelling real-life stories, which range from the fight for climate change as shown in Rich Felgate's FINITE: THE CLIMATE OF CHANGE (United Kingdom) that will be having its US premiere on LBI, to the gender-bending, muscle-flexing intimate portrait featured in Philipp Fussenegger's I AM THE TIGRESS (Austria). There is the fascinating scientific world in Sam Smartt's LUMINOUS (USA) and the stylistically striking animation of ETERNAL SPRING (Canada) by Jason Loftus, that re-enacts the plot to hijack Chinese television by human rights activists. Also included is the biography of Russian movie star Oleg Vidov in Nadia Tass's OLEG (USA, narrated by Brian Cox). The free-spirited micro-budget JACARANDA (USA) by Austin Spies presents a glimpse of life during the pandemic in Los Angeles. And finally, also included in the documentary competition are the exciting action documentaries EXPOSURE by Holly Morris (USA), which follows a delegation of middle-eastern and western women on a mission to reach the North Pole, and ON THE EDGE by Rina Papish (Israel) which offers an intimate portrayal of a base jumper who became paralyzed after an accident as he tries to come to terms with his new life. LIFF has consistently sought out films that are daring, courageous, and which present a multicultural view of the world and the important issues facing us today.


Eternal Spring Dir: Jason Loftus Canada, 1 hour 25 minutes In March 2002, a state TV signal in China was hacked by members of the banned spiritual group Falun Gong. Their goal is to counter the government narrative about their practice. Combining present-day footage and 3D animation made with Daxiong’s comics art, the film retraces the event on its 20th anniversary, and brings to life an unprecedented story of defiance, harrowing eyewitness accounts of persecution, and an exhilarating tale of determination to speak up for political and religious freedoms, no matter the cost.


Exposure Dir: Holly Morris USA, 1 hour 28 minutes Against all odds and polar advice, a Muslim chaplain, a French biologist, a Qatari princess, and eight other women from the Arab World and the West attempt to ski across the melting Arctic sea ice to the North Pole. Director Holly Morris and her crew capture the struggle of these boundary-breaking adventurers who, led by veteran polar explorer Felicity Aston, navigate everything from frostbite and polar bear threats to sexism and self-doubt in an intimate story of resilience, survival, and global citizenry.

Finite: The Climate of Change Dir: Rich Felgate United Kingdom, 1 hour 38 minutes (US Premiere) Concerned citizens in Germany step forward to save an ancient forest from one of Europe’s biggest coal mines. They form an unlikely alliance with a frustrated community in rural northeast England who are forced into action to protect their homes from a new mine.


I Am The Tigress Dir: Philipp Fussenegger and Dino Osmanovic Austria/Germany, 1 hour 20 minutes (US Premiere) An observational style documentary that aims to visually capture the internal and external journey of our protagonist, Tischa “The Tigress” Thomas, during the last year of her career as a female bodybuilder. The film shows her switching from one stage to the next—whether as dominatrix, bodybuilder, grandmother, or girlfriend. In the portrayal of Tischa, opposites merge; moments of capitulation and victory, everyday life, and state of emergency blend. The tigress prowls through extremes.

* Attending talent: director Philipp Fussnegger and subject Tischa "The Tigress" Thomas

* This screening is supported by The Austrian Cultural Forum NYC


Jacaranda Dir: Austin Spies USA, 2 hours Jacaranda captures the very brief yearly bloom of a special purple tree in Los Angeles, presented alongside the experience of three different individuals during the summer of 2020 and the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Shot by a one-person crew, blending elements of documentary and narrative filmmaking.

* Attending talent: director Austin Spies and actor Braulio Chavez

Luminous Dir: Sam Smartt USA, 1 hour 35 minutes (East Coast Premiere) An astronomer stumbles upon a strange star, launching a journey of scientific discovery that leads his unlikely team into the international spotlight. In production since 2014, LUMINOUS follows Larry Molnar's five-year journey to test his unprecedented prediction, knowing that its success or failure will unfold squarely in the international spotlight.

* Attending talent: director Sam Smartt

Oleg Dir: Nadia Tass USA, 1 hour 37 minutes Oleg is a feature-length doc which tells the life story of Oleg Vidov, one of the most famous Soviet film stars. Despite the fame, Oleg was unwilling to live under the oppressive, totalitarian Soviet state and, in 1985, planned a bold escape to freedom in the west. Narrated by actor Brian Cox.

* Attending talent: producer Joan Borsten (partner of the late Oleg Vidov) and journalist Oleg Sulkin


On The Edge Dir: Rina Papish Israel, 54 minutes (East Coast Premiere) The extraordinary story of Avner, for whom the sky was a playground. After an accident, he found himself on the ground in search of new meaning in his life.

* This screening is supported by The Consulate General of Israel NY


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