Film Festival Deserves an Award

Jun 20, 2018

To the Editor:

The Lighthouse International Film Festival should get some kind of humanitarian award. It is making the world a much better place.

Not only are the festival’s selections of high artistic merit, they effectively educate about other cultures and other countries, which we are desperately in need of today. Sometimes they combine an issue such as climate change with an exploration of another culture.

For example, rising water levels are erasing entire countries, as seen in “Anote’s Ark,” directed by Matthieu Rytz of Canada. The Pacific island nation of Kiribati is near the equator, which never used to have typhoons. Now they have deadly ones because of climate change. (There are dance scenes in the film, hurray.)

The film festival is giving women a real voice in film. For an example of the snappy films young women are writing, directing, producing and acting in (often in multiple roles), see any of these, which were at this year’s festival:  “The Big Nothing,” Lucy Campbell, Peter Ninos; “Royally,” Don Downie; “One Eye Small,” Jane Stiles; “Mandated,” Jesse R. Tendler; “First World Problems,” Dean Lim; “From Jappan,” Raj Trivedi; “Unspeakable,” Milena Govich.

They also give a voice to people of color and marginalized people. I was not able to see any in that category this year, but go to and the festival Facebook page and you’ll see what I mean.

They have offered high school filmmakers a place at the table since the festival’s beginning 10 years ago. The depictions of families in the films I saw were heartrending – very fresh looks at very old subjects.

Although I was unable to see as many films as I wanted, two I saw won awards, “Unspeakable” and “Easy.” The following description hardly does “Easy” justice, but I don’t know what would. “Easy,” directed by Andrea Magnani of Italy, touches on clinical depression, obesity, Italian culture, Ukrainian culture, resilience, sibling rivalry, family dynamics, drug addiction, and there is a dance scene.

I don’t watch TV and rarely go to commercial films. I don’t take in information very well via video. But I finally realized the reason I don’t is because a lot of it is badly made. I would love to see the films I did manage to get to at the festival several more times to take it all in.

The film festival’s deep sense of community is also lovely to be part of. Residents volunteer to staff the venues and distribute information. Residents also offer accommodations and rides to the directors, producers, writers, actors and other industry attendees. OK, the energy this festival provides is like drinking the blood of virgins. Just sayin’.

Check it out next year. You won’t be sorry.

Angela Bartolone

New York, N.Y.

The writer is a choreographer/dancer who first visited Long Beach Island in January 2013.


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