Mary Stuart Masterson’s The Cake Eaters among Top Prize Winners at Stony Brook Film Festival; Hungarian film, Children of Glory, directed by Krisztina Goda, Also Rises to Top
July 26, 2008, Stony Brook, NY—The 13th Annual Stony Brook Film Festival, acclaimed by filmmakers for consistently drawing the largest audiences on the fest circuit, announced its award winners at a reception on closing night, Saturday, July 26.
The Cake Eaters
Directed by Mary Stuart Masterson. Written by Jayce Bartok. With Kristen Stewart, Aaron Stanford, Bruce Dern, Elizabeth Ashley, Jayce Bartok, Miriam Shor, Talia Balsam, Melissa Leo and Jesse L. Martin.
Best Feature-Audience Choice
Children of Glory
Directed by Krisztina Goda. Written by Joe Eszterhas and Éva Gárdos. With Kata Dobó and Iván Fenyö. From Hungary.
In the Name of the Son
Directed by Harun Mehmedinovic. With Sergej Trifunovic, Jack Dimich, Elvedin Slipac and Ingrid Walters.
Best Short-Audience Choice
Written, produced and directed by Bill Block. With Dave Ratajczak and Asmeret Ghebremichael.
Achievement in Filmmaking
The Stone Angel
Directed by Kari Skogland. With Ellen Burstyn, Christine Horne, Cole Hauser, Kevin Zegers, Ellen Page, Dylan Baker and Wings Hauser.
The awards were presented by film critic John Anderson following the East Coast premiere of Camille, directed by Gregory MacKenzie and written by Nick Pustay, with Sienna Miller, James Franco, David Carradine, Ed Lauter and Scott Glenn, and screened courtesy of Kathy Morgan International.
More About the Winning Films
The Cake Eaters was Mary Stuart Masterson’s directorial debut, a romantic drama set in a small town where the intimate secrets and tensions of two families force them to come to terms with life, love and death. The Cake Eaters was written by Jayce Bartok, who also played the character of Guy in the film, alongside an outstanding group of actors who created an entirely believable story.
Children of Glory came to the Festival from long-time contributor, Fortissimo Films of the Netherlands. The Hungarian film is set in Budapest, 1956, at a time when an anti-Soviet revolution is brewing in the streets. A fiery young woman student and a non-political waterpolo star find themselves in the heart of the uprising. Director Krisztina Goda is a member of the young generation of talented Hungarian directors bringing relevant stories to the screen.
The script for the short In the Name of the Son came from director Harun Mehmedinovic’s experience of living under siege in Sarajevo in the Bosnian war. Characters in the film are caught between a clash of old vs. new worlds, a common theme in the lives of immigrants. Harun, who has an MFA degree from the American Film Institute, lives in Los Angeles. (Incidentally, the film was shot in the Angeles National Forest, where a hillside had been burned by a forest fire just days earlier.)
The Drummer is Bill Block’s directorial debut and his “love letter to music,” telling the story of a struggling musician and a gig at a Connecticut wedding. The actor who plays the drummer, Dave Ratajczak, is a professional musician who has played in Broadway orchestras, on movie soundtracks and at Carnegie Hall.
“In addition to the Jury and Audience Awards, a special award for Achievement in Filmmaking is being presented to Kari Skogland, writer/director/producer of The Stone Angel,” said Alan Inkles, Director of the Stony Brook Film Festival. Skogland was the third female director to be recognized at the Stony Brook Film Festival awards ceremony for outstanding feature films. In The Stone Angel, Kari Skogland has created a masterful adaptation of the best selling novel by Margaret Laurence. The film features the feisty Ellen Burstyn as Hagar Shipley and newcomer Christine Horne as the young Hagar.
Prizes were sponsored by JetBlue Airways, HBO, Renaissance Technologies, Teachers Federal Credit Union and Friends of Staller Center.
Highlights of the Stony Brook Film Festival
This year, five of the features screened at the Festival were Canadian. The Government of Canada became an additional Festival sponsor this year, and Daniel Sullivan, Consul General; Mary Anne Dehler, Consul of Public Affairs for Canada; and Anna Velasco, Arts & Culture Officer for the Canadian Consulate, all attended Opening Night.
Opening night featured Emotional Arithmetic, directed by Paolo Barzman, who participated in a Q&A after the screening; others included Amal, filmed in India and written and directed by Richie Mehta, at Stony Brook courtesy of Seville Pictures of Montreal, Quebec; Bluff, directed by Simon Olivier and Marc-André Lavoie; Kari Skogland’s The Stone Angel; and Summit Circle, written and directed by Bernard Émond.
Two World Premieres were in the mix: Route 30, a comedy directed by John Putch with Dana Delany among the cast, and Cat City by Brent Huff, starring Rebecca Pidgeon and Brian Dennehy. Both Putch and Huff are returning filmmakers who screened at Stony Brook in the past. Dana Delany and Mary Stuart Masterson were among actors and directors here for the passholder/filmmaker reception on Saturday, July 19, to support their films.
This year the line-up at the Stony Brook Film Festival included provocative foreign films, unusual and absorbing American premieres, entertaining comedies, and a variety of outstanding short films. Films from all over the world were featured and over a dozen languages were in the mix. The Stony Brook Film Festival is produced by Staller Center for the Arts at Stony Brook University.
Presenting sponsors this year were HBO, JetBlue Airways, Suffolk County, Teachers Federal Credit Union, The Village Voice and WALK 97.5 Radio.