5 cool things to know about the 2021 Stony Brook Film Festival at Staller


The Stony Brook Film Festival is fully back, baby. The summer oasis of air-conditioning and the arts returns to the Staller Center this July 22 through July 31, live and in-person, for the 26th annual installment. (Last year’s festival, the largest on Long island, had to go virtual due to the pandemic.)

This year’s festival packs 35 films, available to watch evenings and weekends. Click here for the lineup.

In the meantime, here are five cool things to know:

1. Famous people come

Nearly 30 filmmakers, actors, cast and crew in attendance for this year’s festival, including, Academy Award-nominated director Doug Roland (Feeling Through). Jenna Malone (pictured above) of Hunger Games and star of Lorelei is planning to attend. Past attendees have included Alan Alda, Eddie Alfano, Thora Birch, Celine Bonnier, Steve Buscemi, Brian Cox and many more known Hollywood actors, writers and directors. Here’s what Cox had to say, quite simply:

“You run a helluva festival!”

— Brian Cox

2. You might know these people

This year’s festival opens with a documentary for the first time ever in the annual event’s 26-year history, and the subject is a Long Islander. The 5th Man is about a legendary Mepham track coach, Paul Limmer. Preceding that feature film, is a short film featuring an Oscar-nominated deaf and blind Actor, Robert Tarango of Selden.

3. You can get personal, then vote

All pass-holders get to hear from filmmakers throughout the festival and have the opportunity to rate and vote on favorite films to help choose this year’s winners.

4. Virtually a first for the U.S.

This is the first film festival in the U.S. to announce its return with both an in-person, live festival and an encore virtual screening. The virtual festival will stream Aug. 5 to Aug. 30 on the IndieFlix Festivals app

5. What a ride

The entire short film Noisy was filmed on a single subway ride to Coney Island, with the two actors sitting among regular passengers who ignored them as the film crew sat at the front of the car, somehow doing their jobs while managing to hang on through the train’s lurching stops and starts.

The Stony Brook Film Festival organizers are offering a Gold Pass ($250), Festival Pass ($125), or Virtual Pass ($85) option for patrons. Click here to see what you get at each kind of pass. The festival is free to all Stony Brook University students with a Student Pass. Visit for all the details.

Photo: Jenna Malone of Hunger Games in a scene from Lorelei. (courtesy)