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  • Lighthouse International Film Festival

TO LESLIE to open 14th Annual Lighthouse Int'l Film Festival

The 14th Annual Lighthouse International 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, NJ. 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.

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!"

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