It’s been an incredible year at GCIFF! From record-breaking attendance at the film festival in November, to illuminating film screenings and conversations year-round, we look back at some our our highlights from 2015:
Regina Gil, Executive Director
On Veteran’s Day, we offered a free screening of the vintage film The Best Years of Our Lives, a 1946 film about World War II vets returning from the war to try and re-enter their lives. With us, we had several veterans from all past wars and one, aged 92, from WWII, there with his wife, who loved what we were doing and loved the film!
A somber note was sounded when on Friday evening November 13th, we were all set to screen the French film The Chef’s Wife, a romantic comedy. That same evening, the terrorists struck in Paris. Conversation following the screening was very special, and I was heartened to have film and comedy bring us together on this night.
Caroline Sorokoff, Festival Director
I felt like a rock star hanging with the band Twisted Sister at the US premiere of the new film about their rise to fame. And like true rock stars, we didn’t stick to any schedule, with a post-screening Q&A that went on for 90 minutes and could have lasted longer! It was a great reunion for the band and their original Long Island fans.
A personal highlight was talking to Lou Diamond Phillips about musical theater (he was the lead in “The King & I” on Broadway!)
Erika Howard, Associate Director
Our screenings of A Ballerina’s Tale and Mind/Game both stood out for the powerful way they impacted our audience. At our premiere of A Ballerina’s Tale, it was wonderful to see so many girls inspired by the life and career of Misty Copeland. Another inspiration was Mind/Game which featured Chamique Holdsclaw, a former WNBA player challenged by her struggles with bipolar disorder. During the post-screening discussion, I was deeply moved by the audience participation—one could see how the film and discussion provided a time of healing.
Brian Gordon and Rodney Uhler, Film Programmers
A highlights from the Furman Film Series was the very warm reception to Albert Maysles’ last documentary Iris. It was a pleasure to spend time with the memorable Iris Apfel (on screen) and to celebrate the legendary Maysles. Our spirited discussion with co-producer Laura Coxson only added to our ability to understand and appreciate these two icons.
We had a dance-filled year, starting in January with the captivating Ballet 422. One of the oldest art forms proved still relevant, new and exciting on film, and was further illuminated by the film’s director and producer. And it was wonderful that so many of our audience members were then inspired to catch a performance by the New York City Ballet.
Our audience honored some exceptional films and filmmakers this year. Our audience and festival added to the accolades Deniz Gamze Ergüven’s Mustanghas been receiving, as it recently became one of the final films shortlisted for the foreign film Academy Award. And it was very special to have both documentary winners—Rick Goldsmith for Mind/Game and Andrew Horn for We Are Twisted F***ing Sister—present at the festival to accept their awards.
Alexandra Gil, Short Films Curator
The Young Filmmakers screening was a ton of fun, just seeing how excited the kids were about having their film on the big screen, getting interviewed on the red carpet, and getting to share their incredible work with family and friends. We look forward to continuing this great program for years to come!
Katie Mancher, Festival Associate
One of my favorite films we screened this year was Time Out of Mind. With an incredible performance by Richard Gere as a man dealing with homelessness, it was powerful for being so understated. Our audience was truly moved by this film, and also gave back by bringing generous food donations for Long Island’s Interfaith Nutrition Network.