The eighth annual Lighthouse International Film Festival held on Long Beach Island last week was declared an “unqualified success” by its managing director.
Christine Rooney said, while not yet verified, there appeared to be more than 6,000 attendees for the films. “People may have seen one movie or 10, but the head count was very high,” she said.
“We also had a 25 percent increase of the online sale of movie tickets and All Access passes,” she said.
Rooney said that those people all had planned ahead to come to Long Beach Island for all or part of the festival’s four day run from June 9-12.
Upon arrival they ate, they shopped, they enjoyed the beach and saw all the Island has to offer, she said. “We showed them that LBI is the place to be at the Jersey Shore.”
Starting with the opening night film last Thursday night, “Camerperson,” which filled the LBI Arts Foundation main room to capacity, a majority of the screenings at all three venues were very well attended, said Rooney.
Filmmaker Alex Markman, whose feature film, “Colby” won the Grand Jury Prize for Best Narrative said he was glad that it was screened at the LBI Historical Museum in Beach Haven.
“It was the first place we visited before shooting for inspiration and to get some ideas for locations,” said Markman.
He also said the staff of the festival from founder Charlie Price and Executive Director Eric Johnson to all the volunteers made the experience exceptional. “(They) really helped to make it feel like a community of filmmakers rather than a competition among them.”
Rooney said the festival drew more than 100 film industry professionals to LBI. “We had everyone from actors, producers and directors to composers, editors and sound engineers that got to have an Island experience,” she said.
The festival was also well attended by locals, especially when the films were LBI-centric.
Jon Coen’s “Just Beneath the Surface” profiles Island artists, crabbers, restaurant owners, and perhaps LBI’s only farmer.
It screened at the Surf City Fire House to another SRO audience with David Kaltenbach’s history of the commercial fishing industry at Barnegat Light, “Yesterday’s Fish, Today’s Challenges.”
The Viking Village fishing community was well represented in the audience and attended by many friends, family and the stars of Coen’s film.
Most of the screenings included Q&A sessions with the filmmakers, if they were in attendance.
There were also two Breakfast with the Filmmakers events held at Joe Pop’s Saturday and Sunday and three after parties at the Dutchman’s Brauhaus, including Sunday’s awards ceremony. All of which were free and open to All Access pass holders.
The Brauhaus felt a little bit like home to German filmmaker Kristian Kiehling, who had the World Premier of his documentary on the Middle East refuge crisis “Chronicle of a Summer in Europe” at the festival.
“This is such a beautiful place,” he said. “And everyone has been so friendly,” he added while taking in the sunset from the Dutchman’s deck.
Rooney said that was major objective of the festival, to present LBI in its best light, which perhaps is its sunsets. Everyone from the sponsors to the home and business owners, who lodged some of the filmmakers and crew, to the volunteers all wanted people to have a great time, she said.
Rooney and Johnson especially wanted to thank all volunteers who make the festival possible every year, she said.
Volunteer coordinator Pat Dangler was the co-winner of this year’s Volunteer Award with Sharon Dailey. “Pat juggled 75 volunteers to staff three venues and a half dozen special events amazingly,” she said.
She also wanted to recognize volunteers Jill Voshell for her first year as the public relation director and press contact and Shannon Rabbit, of Rabbit Media, whose social media efforts helped get more than 48,000 Twitter views of the festival’s page in the last 28 days leading up to the festival.
Grand Jury Award – Best Narrative Feature: Colby
Special Jury Award for Ensemble Performance: West Coast
Grand Jury Award – Best Documentary Feature: The Babushkas of Chernobyl
Special Jury Award for Documentary Feature – Please Remember Me
Audience Award – Narrative Feature: Empty Space
Audience Award – Documentary Feature: Until Proven Innocent
Audience Award – Spotlight Film: Harry and Snowman
Grand Jury Award – Best Narrative Short Film: The Duke: Based on The Memoir ‘I’m The Duke’ by J.P. Duke
Grand Jury Award – Best Documentary Short Film: Joe’s Violin
Special Jury Award For Cinematic Visual Concept: FlySpy
Audience Award – Short Film: Joe’s Violin
Grand Jury Award – Best HS Student Film: Perception by Graham Burrell
Moran, S. (2016). Lighthouse International Film Festival draws crowds. Retrieved June 29, 2016, from http://www.app.com/story/news/local/southern-ocean-county/2016/06/17/lighthouse-international-film-festival-draws-crowds/86032270/